Modern Project Management

(ISSN: 2317-3963)

Five propositions on how to combine threat and opportunity management in practice to further develop the project

Henrik Szentes
Lund University Sweden


Risk management in project contexts is increasingly more in focus amongst researchers and practitioners, including the debate on if and how opportunities can be integrated into the work with threats, or if separation is better. In this conceptual paper, integrating several strands of literature including risk management, project management, and organization theory in terms om sensemaking and paradox perspectives on decision making, it is argued that a sequential approach is a better option: An initial deliberate focus on threats to make sense of the existing project plan, then on innovative responses often entailing new opportunities. Five propositions on how this can be conducted in practice by project organizations are discussed as well as an overarching flow-chart linking the five propositions together, while recognizing that projects are temporary organizations in which a mix of people with different frame of references are expected to deliver results after short initiation. Therefore, it is important to be realistic and implement a clear and practical process for project risk management, which distinctly links to existing forums and processes for decision making rather than creating new ones. Several managerial implications are presented, but also some theoretical notions.

Keywords: project, risk, threat, opportunity, uncertainty, practice.



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