The only guide you need to ensure your next risk assessment is a success
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From the introduction
Bobbie isn’t real. Not completely real anyway. But she’s probably going to seem very familiar if you’re reading this book.
She’s suddenly found herself responsible for risk management within her business, specifically completing a comprehensive risk assessment. But this isn’t her area of expertise and she’s short of resources, primarily time.
So she needs a process for conducting the risk assessment, a roadmap to help her through the process and a set of tools and templates she can utilize along the way.
You might have found yourself in this position. You might be in this position right now which may be why you’re holding this book.
You might feel that Bobbie’s situation is very familiar.
It is to me.
I was in this position several times for the first four or five years of my commercial career. I was learning on the job, was often scrambling to find the resources I needed and often felt that I was missing something.
Luckily, I knew a lot of Jims.
Jim is also fictitious but Jim is an amalgamation of the dozens and dozens of people who have been patient with me over the years teaching me everything from deepwater drilling, safety management, finance, risk management, engineering, crisis and emergency response. Some people were even reckless enough to teach me crisis management and corporate communications.
I hope that I can share some of these lessons through Jim.
Although it’s over 15 years since I started out in this field, I still don’t have all of the answers. However, I have a few tried and tested tools and techniques. Many were picked up from the Jims, others I’ve had to work out myself. The hardest lessons, as always, came mid-way when I thought I knew what I was doing but didn’t.
So if you’re a Bobbie and need some help with your risk assessment, but are missing a Jim or two, I hope that their story will give you most of what you need.
How to use this guide
This book is a guide to conducting a risk assessment comprised of three elements.
The first is the story of Bobbie’s journey and how she tackles the task Xavier has set her for XYZ Co. The narrative form is inspired by The Goal and Project Phoenix both of which take a wholly narrative approach to something that is otherwise technical and possibly a little dry and can be difficult to follow. More importantly, it can be hard to take a handbook that explains what needs to be done and why, and fully understand what this looks like in practice. So the purpose of the narrative sections are to help put some of the technical elements into context.
However, The Goal and The Phoenix Project both deal with high-level principles which are easier to convey in a novel. This book is also intended to be a practical handbook that you can use as a step-by-step guide so the second element of the book is a more technical what and why approach to conducting a risk assessment. Many of these sections have appeared as stand-alone articles on my blog but these have now been pulled together into a single, comprehensive and coordinated handbook for anyone tacking a risk assessment.
The third element are templates and tools that you can put to use in your own risk assessment. So rather than generally allude to something like ‘planning your interviews’, I’ve included the checklists I use for planning interviews and even a sample set of questions to get you started. Many of these are also available online as templates you can download and put to use in your own work.
So how do you use the book?
Well, it depends what you want.
If you have time and want to get a broad overview of the risk assessment, you might want to start by reading Bobbie’s story from start to finish. You can then go back and read the how to sections later to dig into the technical aspects.
If you need to start now, you can use the risk assessment roadmap as a guide and work through the technical guides using the tools and templates available online.
Finally, if you just need a reminder or a refresher, feel free to jump into the appropriate section. However, my only health warning if you do this is to make sure you take a look at the essay ‘What is Risk?’ in Annex A first. This defines the terms and concepts used here and will avoid any confusion arising from other risk management systems and definitions you’ve encountered in the past.
But whatever you do, just make sure you engage with the book. This is like a cookbook. It’s meant to be pulled out and used. So the spine should be broken. There should be notes in the margins, coffee stains on the index and page corners folded down.
So in short, the best way to use this book is to use this book.
I hope it gives you want you need.
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