Risk Management Is A Behavior, Not A Checklist

Risk management in organisations can often feel like a hot potato topic. The more information you have available the better your decisions and their outcomes will be. What resources do you have internally or externally and what channels do information flow through before they become requirements and risks? 

Risk-Management-2If you’re a nervous flyer like myself, you may find yourself repeating certain sentences to relax: “I know they’ve been tested over and over again.” or “Years of training and many assessments were completed!”. Risk comes from all angles: mechanical, software, human, hybrid, just to name a few. In high-risk industries that impact the life of customers, risk management is the ultimate focus, or so it should be. If your organization leverages components from multiple sources, automated procedures, human-centered design and multiple development teams and engineers, managing risk is on your agenda and it will be for the foreseeable future!

How Holistic Adoption of Risk Management Leads to a Complete and Safe Product Lifecycle

As safety becomes the consumer’s focus, regulatory compliance becomes a management priority, they often turn to Enterprise Risk Management teams or ERM teams for short, to answer questions. But what is their exact area of responsibility? Is it external only or should risk be adopted as a focus for the whole company?

In most cases, these risks are to be managed by a team of experts, engineers, and designers. But similarly to how the explosion of big data revealed that we cannot run operations efficiently with data in silos, well-executed risk management should come from all sources and should not be a hot potato when developing the next iteration of your product, whether it’s software, hardware or a combination of both. Does your enterprise have a Chief Risk Officer? Do you leverage ALM tools to make sure you get the safest, most desirable products to market? Is collaboration efficient amongst your teams? I fear asking, do you still use paper?

Ultimately risk management is a tool, a mindset to help you design and develop safe, sustainable and globally distributed products that consumers love. No one should be avoiding it, everyone is to contribute to the discussion.

I will now give you examples on how different departments can flag issues outside of engineering and development teams and how this creates mutual benefit:

Example 1: Marketing

Marketing teams need to know your strategy and the next generation of whatever it is you are building, after all, they will get it to your customers through various channels, social media, email marketing, blogs, webinars, the list is long. You need their feedback also to close the loop and to set up for success. Determining customer and system requirements can come from their sources, too. See what the market responds to and understand what your customers are researching, where they are clicking, what they love and what they loathe, the more info, the better the outcome.

Example 2: Sales

No better way to understand what criteria comes from your buyers than to involve sales, not just from a product standpoint, but from a financial point of view as well. Your sales teams know the trends, the complaints, how you are superior or whether you might find your company on the bottom of the wish lists. Sales teams are often users of your products, from a technical and  non-technical perspective and their knowledge is never to be undermined. 

By listening to your sales teams, they will be assured that product risk elimination will result in easier conversations with prospects and that the post-sale lifecycle will be risk-minimal, especially if your company ever faced issues post-production. After all, the worst way to find out if a risk is not manageable is to have a recall, so involve them early!

Example 3: Supply-chain teams

When considering suppliers, the rule is: “You are only as strong as your weakest link”. Supply chain teams have in-depth knowledge of components and how they impact your product. Take the automotive sector: you may build your vehicle to be the safest physically with airbags, a system deploying pink noise when impact seems inevitable, a strong chassis, etc. But what if the accident is caused by a component from a third-party supplier that didn’t manage risk on the required level? Was that a risk you could have avoided? Does it have to be a physical product or are there differences with digital solutions? Supply chain teams have their own universe of risks. If you’re in engineering, do you consider them your peers? You ought to from now on!

Based on these examples, can you confidently say that in your organization, everyone knows risks, how to report them, and how they impact their work? Does your top-line management discuss risk regularly? Have you quantified the impact of not supporting these tactics or the positive impact of investing more in ERM resources?

Whichever end of the discussion you are in, Intland's platform provides an effective way for people to share information, tasks, source code, and know-how across different IT projects and multiple geographies, all the while providing gapless traceability.

If you are ready to learn more about how top automotive manufacturers, medical companies, and avionics giants use Intland Software’s platform to achieve their risk management goals and compliance, why not check out our webinars, request a demo or contact our sales team to follow up with you?

Also this is a good opportunity to stay up to date with all things Application Lifecycle Management by following @Intland on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.

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