DePaul KSBG Charity Project Summer 2012 – Risk Management

– Risk Management –


One of DePaul KSBG Weekend Program’s project management class’ major requirements is the management of a charity project. Boiled down, it is the creation and successful implementation of a project in which all proceeds go to a specific charity of a groups choice. In talking about Risk Management, many faced their wall early-on, when their project was considered unacceptable by our school board. Whatever planning took place in the first week was simply washed away, and the teams facing such catastrophic risks had to revise their plans from the ground-up to make the best of it.

Our team has officially labeled our project “Grace St. Tap going to the Dogs”, in which we hold a social-networking event at Grace St. Tap on July 28, from 3:00PM to 7:00PM- fun and sociable dogs welcome. Despite the initial set-back of our project possibly being cut due to not falling in line with our school’s guidelines, we were able to recieve approval and continue to work forward.

During the course of our project, we were asked to create a risk-management matrix. This is possibly one of the most difficult things aside from the actual implementation, as risks seem to spring up fromeverything. That’s right, that glass of juice you’re drinking? Melts enamel. You think that’s air you’re breathing? … probably is.

The point of this rant is that as any good risk management teacher or text will reiterate, time and again, risks must be identified, assessed, and continually evaluated. We identified several risks and evaluated them as a group- rowdy patrons, rowdy dogs, lack of donations, lack of attendance, etc. We created preventative measures as well as contingency plans for each. All members reviewed and felt the plan had responses to internal and external disturbances.

With another team-member, we went to visit our venue this past Saturday. The website says the venue is open from 11AM to 3AM on Saturdays. However, we met at 3:00PM at the venue… and the place was closed. Not closed for business, just still closed until 4PM.  Definitely NOT expected.

And for those of you who want to get technical, this spawns a whole load of questions- Is this expected to continue? If so, do we need to change our flyer information? If we expect ‘X’ amount of donations per hour that day, how much will that affect our bottom-line(or segment-leading-to-bottom-line), losing that hour?

While in the case presented, the bottom line for us happens to be a grade, such “wrenches in the gears” can be applied to any business out there- and can cost a company much more than a simple letter-grade and a 3-4 figure max monetary amount.

So I ask the other groups in our 2012 cohort and any other readers- what soft of risks have you identified for your project/for your company and what contingencies have you come up with? And if we have any career risk-analyst readers, any horror stories like ours to share? To be honest, we should have seen this coming- it is an obvious sort of risk… but we are just-now learning to think that way, and we’ll have to let you know if it does affect our bottom-line despite our current revisions to our action plan.


8 thoughts on “DePaul KSBG Charity Project Summer 2012 – Risk Management

  1. We had a hiccup as well. The person we were working with to setup our event is no longer with the company, which we found out via an “out of office” email bounceback. We’ve quickly recovered, but this did not make it to our risk matrix as a concern on our radar.

  2. I’d suspect that every project has tail-events which can’t be mitigated, especially, tasks that need to be completed closer to the event date or during the event. I’d focus on trying to identify these risks as much as possible. You could run some simulations to estimate the amount that you would collect through your charity event but I would think that would be an overkill.

  3. I think its impossible and not a worthwhile use of time to capture every possible risk that could ever happen, but creating a “top 10” risk matrix of the risks that have more chance of occurring and could significantly impact a project is worthwhile.

    Identifying and communicating the most significant risks in a project or strategy is a common practice in my own work experience, however putting together robust contingency plans has not been a big focus in the past. In general I think people would rather focus on the potential positive outcomes versus the negative. If we had better contingency plans in place we would be better equipped to respond when things don’t go the way we expect.

  4. I agree with Ann’s comment on creating a top 10 risk matrix. Our group did a somewhat similar exercise and came up with few risks. But I always wonder that even if we know all the back-up plans, do we have the tools to work on back-up plans asap? In writing, everything is good but what if something doesn’t work. How much time will it take to come back on track? Are resources available or scattered all around the place?

  5. In 2011 the Japan Tsunami disaster became a text book case for the necessity of risk management at my company. The region that was impacted was home to a number of semiconductor companies that were either damaged or destroyed. As a result subcomponent shipments to my company were significantly delayed. After this disaster supply chain risk management practices such as developing multiple sources in different areas of the world became common practice.

  6. We had a significant issue arise that almost derailed our entire project involving the art. Erika’s cousin had done a great job designing a pop-culture shirt that would have appeal to the Ript’s customers, so we submitted it to the company. The artwork included a reference to a couple of very well known pop-culture icons because most of Ript’s designs include a mash-up of some sort. It just so happens that not all companies defend their designs as fiercely as others, and this shirt would not pass through Ript’s legal requirements. We had failed to check with Ript beforehand to determine if we should steer clear of certain subject matter. Fortunately, we had set an agreement with Ript to have access to their proven artists as a fall back, and we were able to get another design developed quickly specifically for our cause with another excellent artist. Without that contingency built into our plan, we wouldn’t have had any event at all because of the lead times involved to design and print the shirt along with the advertising and web design that was needed.

  7. Thanks everyone for their interest, and it’s very strange to hear that the other groups were having some form of major trouble as well.

    @Daniely599 – At least your threat was relatively minor, or at least recovered early on.

    @Asifm599 – Yes, I’m definitely keeping an eye out as well as the rest of our team: it was an eye-opener to be sure. And I agree- simulations for a project of this scale when we have other focuses is truly a bit overkill.

    @AnnH599 – I’d have to agree with your assessment. This one came out of left field, but is a valid concern if a business, or wanted-venue closes down. However, it seems to be alive and kicking, so upon further consideration, I’d also give my example as a lower-priority. Do you believe our Matrix was satisfactory? Or should we have considered even more, in your opinion?

    @AjayS599 – True, being able to identify everything doesn’t necessarily mean you can properly stop it. But knowing the possibility means that you aren’t stopped dead in your tracks because you haven’t considered it at all. It provides, at the very least, a direction.

    @RyanA599 – I think a lot of companies took lessons from the 2011 tsunami. We did require a bit of supply chain analysis as well, but weren’t hit quite as hard, as the suppliers whose facilities were affected also had other production locations.

    @BrentL599 – So, what was the cause of this? Was it because the artist wasn’t on their list? Was it the controversial subject matter? (and if so, would you be able to show that to us at some point during class?) That was a very slick move to have the agreement with Ript for their artists as fallback. Congrats on avoiding the pitfall, and good luck for your event as well!

    And one more for our professor- seeing as how I responded to every single comment here… does that count as just ONE comment? Or several?

    … just kidding.(Not really. Actually, I am. Wait… was I?) I’ll go reading the others and post on the newest entries.

    1. Remi – Great post!

      I think risk management is a vital concern for EVERY project as demonstrated by all the comments from the class.

      Keep up the good work & comments!

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