Brainstorming

Brainstorming, probably the most popular technique for identify­ing risks, entails a session, usually not more than two hours long, involving between ten and fifteen participants. Less than 10 risks limiting interaction, while more than 15 poses problems of meeting control / chairmanship and maintenance of focus. (For larger proj­ects, it may be necessary to hold several meetings. In that case, each session addresses only distinct parts of the project and the risks that could arise in that part.) The facilitator / chair should come from a part of the organization not involved in the immediate project and its risk issues, but who has some experience with the type of project involved.

The facilitator introduces the project briefly. A chart hanging on the wall indicates the project time schedule and key stages. The facilitator defines at the outset the stakeholder(s), budget, and location of the project.

From this point, a dialogue begins about the potential risks, directed by the facilitator and team leader. At this point, before dis­cussion is engaged on any particular item, every expected or defined risk should be put on a list visible to all. After this listing task is completed, the next stage of actual brainstorming can be launched. Care should be taken by the facilitator with regard to the following:

• Not to stop or reject any idea.

• Not to entertain any suggestion to remove any idea.

• Not to allow interruption of the discussion.

• Not to permit too-deep delving into the detail of any particular risk item.

The collected list of items can now be "filtered," and any two or three more or less similar connected risks merged with a single more general one. The result becomes the content to be filled into Table (9.1).