Risk Management Strategy in Projects Inspired by the Systems Engineering Model


By Wantuir Felippe da Silva Junior




This paper aims to demonstrate the use and benefits of a holistic, systemic and consistent risk management model starting from the deployment of the highest level uncertainties which surround a project, subordinating such uncertainties to a hierarchy by impact on the business, integrated solutions and operational actions of the project (in that order).


It is recurring the great number of pseudo-risks identified and analyzed on several projects. The inadequate selection of risks hampers the capture of “authentic risks” which can effectively cause considerable impact on the goals of a given project. A significant factor that contributes negatively in this direction is the use of risk management as “crutch” for an inefficient project management. The lack of knowledge of basic concepts and foundations regarding “preventive intelligence” begins at the very top of organizations. This gap is not limited to the subject “risk”, being also connected to a established “communication model”, which often disregard apparently obvious small details which, in practice, are not as obvious as they appear to be.

The strategic business decisions, their deployment and communication, have a very high importance, long before a project is set up. The greater the distance between the strategic business decisions and the project, the higher will be the probability of emerging fragmented and isolated information created empirically by managers and project teams. This stems from the need of assuming or defining guiding information (when they do not exist) to build a minimal necessary boundary condition framework for the decision making throughout the project.

Business vision, value proposition, assumptions and constraints not properly communicated create interference and distortions within the communication and information exchange throughout the project’s organizational structure. Many project managers believe that some business decisions are project risks, starting thus a failed identification of “pseudo-risks” for the project. Failed because it is no longer possible to change a strategic decision already made.

The risk is in the uncertainty and the uncertainty is in the future. Therefore true risks are related to imagined or estimated events within circumstances and conditions outlined, which can encompass a trend of potential impact to the project. Thus from this train of thought we can say that business risks already analyzed, with a decision made, including definitions and actions agreed towards the project are actually “facts”, and no longer uncertainties in the future. It is appropriate to say that such a decision can jeopardize a project goal. It should be emphasized that the definition of “risk” is something quite different from the definition of facts which jeopardize the project. Of course, strategic decision-making happen (or should happen) before the validation of pacts and work agreements on a project. It should be noticed that before a decision is made it is possible to mentally build a scenario where a potential uncertain future event, after being judged and analyzed, generates a referential informational base that serves as foundation for future (post-decision) definitions, schedules and actions. Therefore, a decision at the strategic level, for example, unfolds as a constraint for the tactical or operational level (figure 1).


To read entire paper, click here



About the Author

Wantuir Felippe da Silva, Jr.



Wantuir Felippe da Silva Junior
has 27 years of experience in the aeronautics industry, with 17 years in project management activities. He has knowledge and practical experience adhering to the concepts and fundamentals of PRINCE2, PMI, IPMA, Agile Methods and Deming Cycle. Mr. da Silva is currently a consultant, mentor, instructor and head of PMO in Integrated Product Development at Embraer (DIP). He is also founder of GPSimples (http://www.gpsimples.com/), an entity whose focus is the qualification of people to the project environment.

Wantuir is creator of the methods:

  • Risk Strainer (a framework that facilitates segregation between risks and issues).
  • Lean Scope Overview (understanding, deploying and managing project scope),
  • Lean Risk Overview Matrix (project risk identification and management),
  • Lean Project Direction – LPD (Progress Management and Project Decisions),
  • E2I2 – Extreme Experience In Innovation (development of creative engineering solutions in product and service design),
  • Wandala (management of interests and deployment of project requirements),
  • Blended 7S Model       & TOC (strategic deployment for projects),
  • Spock Analysis (judgment and decisions associated with deviations in projects)