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Risk Assessment

"Is My Project Likely To Fail?" - Assessing Risk in eGovernment Projects

Most e-government projects fail (follow this link for evidence in this sense). Many e-government practitioners therefore fear failure and would like to know if their project is likely to fail. In other words, they would like to perform some kind of risk assessment on their project. This page offers some basic guidance on how to assess risk on e-government projects in developing/transitional countries.

General Questions About Risk Assessment

  • Why ? The aim of risk assessment is to stop e-government projects failing.
  • When ? Assuming a typical project lifecycle of Feasibility-Analysis-Design-Construction-Implementation, then typically you would do a 'quick and dirty' risk assessment during the Feasibility stage, and a more detailed assessment during the Analysis stage. The earlier you assess risk, the harder it is to know the risks accurately. The later you assess risk, the harder it is to do anything about the risks identified.
  • Who ? A small team consisting of a mix of different stakeholders is the best unit to assess risk. The fewer people involved, the greater the chance that you miss an important risk. The more people involved, the higher the time and financial and other costs of the exercise.
  • How ? See the techniques described below.

Specific Risk Assessment Techniques:

1. Simple Factor Rating

This takes a very simplistic and subjective approach, based on an analysed list of success and failure factors for e-government projects. This provides a rating for the presence and absence of these factors. Follow this link to find out how to rate the success/failure factors for your e-government project.

2. Design-Reality Gap Assessment

A gap exists for all e-government projects between the design assumptions/requirements and the reality of the client public sector organisation. The larger the gap between design and reality, the greater the chance that the project will fail. Follow this link to find out how to measure the design-reality gap for your e-government project.

3. Other Techniques

The following are links to alternative risk assessment methods and toolkits.

UK Office of Government Commerce

A guide to risk assessment on e-government projects

State of California

Risk Assessment Model

Willcocks/Margetts Risk Assessment Model

An article describing post hoc use of a model for understanding the sources of risk in public sector projects

Subpages (2): DRG Model Factor Model