Potential Problem Analysis

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This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Decison & Problem Analysis

This article briefly summarizes the key steps to pro-actively manage projects to assure success. Following these common sense activities will prepare a project manager so small problems do not become big problems.

Object: Assure Sucess of Activity

1. Action Plan Statement – create a detailed action plan which will list the steps and time frames for completing the activity. One suggestion is to never have an activity that takes more than 32 hours to complete. If it is more than that, break it into smaller pieces.

Key Elements

  • Action Steps
  • Timing

2. Anticipate Problems – Take a moment and write down anything that might possibly go wrong. Then assess the probability of the event/problem occurring and the seriousness. Now focus on the top priorities based on the probability and seriousness of the event occurring. High probability and high seriousness should get your attention.

  • Probability
  • Seriousness
  • Set Priority

3. Anticipate Likely Causes – With your top priority concerns, review the likely causes and assess the probability of each causal event.

4. Select Action – For each causal or contributory event, create an plan to prevent or minimize the event from occurring. If the event cannot be prevented, then develop contingency plans on how to respond when the event occurs.

  • Preventive – Remote Cause
  • Contingent – Minimize Effect

5. Provide for Information – Getting information on activity progress is critical to monitoring if the project is on track to be successful. Be sure to balance reporting with doing the work.

  • Report Progress
  • Trigger contingent Action


What could go wrong with this plan or activity?
What could you do to prevent each potential problem?
What could you do to minimize the effects?
How will you monitor this plan or activity

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