Do you have a Risk Escalation Process in Writing for your PMO?

Rule #1  Elevated visibility

Rule description: an existing risk or issue due to changes in scoring, or context needs of elevated visibility to improve either its mitigation or response support from current levels.

Rule #2  Approval authority

Rule description: the authority to escalate an existing risk or issue from current level to an elevated level will rest with the government PM accepting ownership of the newly elevated entity.

Rule #3  Entity escalation arbitration

Rule description: arbitration of difference of opinions between escalation initiator and escalation approver as to ultimate disposition of the proposed escalation event. (See Rule #2)

Suggestion: Portfolio or Program level PM as arbitrator in consultation with the Portfolio Risk Manager.

Rule #4 Escalation ownership

Rule description: upon successful transfer of elevated risk or issue, the assigned risk owner assumes responsibility for the tracking, updating, mitigation, and/or response of the risk or issue where upon the previous risk owner will close the elevated risk or issue with an appropriate transfer entry in their risk register or database.

Roles & Responsibilities

 Authority: Authority to request or initiate that a risk or issue be reassigned or elevated from one entity to another.

Analysis:  The necessary investigation, research, vetting, and documentation of the need for escalation. Suggestion: this should be down by a combination of the current risk owner, project PM, and contractor (if appropriate).

Approval:  Upon review of the analysis and supplied documentation, the approval for the escalation resides with this role.

Suggestion: the government PM to whom the escalated risk or issue will now be assigned and/or owned.

Applied:  Upon approval and acceptance by the Approval role, the elevated risk or issue is now transferred from the current level to the newly assigned level. The responsibility for tracking, updating, mitigating, or responding to the elevated entity now resides with the accepting party.

Initiation:  Step description: the beginning activity where by an identified risk or issue is determined by the current risk owner or project/program PM that the risk or issue needs to be elevated to improve its mitigation and/or response profile to effect a successful project outcome. The initiation authority begins the process by affecting the risk/issue escalation form (FRM#101 – TBD) and delivering it to the project management authority to which the initiator is requesting the risk/issue be re-assigned or elevated.

Vetting & AnalysisStep description: The current risk owner and/or project/program PM using the risk/issue escalation form (TBD) will provide the verification research and analysis necessary to justify the requested elevation or escalation modification.  This verification and analysis can be completed in either a qualitative or quantitative context.

Documentation & Reporting:  Step description: the initiator of the escalation request will provide a standard escalation documentation report to the project management authority to whom the effect risk or issue will be assigned upon favorable review and approval.  Upon receipt of the vetting and analysis research from the current risk owner and/or project/program PM, the project management authority that is being requested to assume the risk/issue ownership will verify the analysis completed and supply their own feedback and comments to the escalation request.

Review:  Step description: This is the initial review that the project management authority to which the escalated risk/issue will be assigned. If favorable or in agreement with the assessment made by the escalation initiator, the project management authority to whom the escalation request is being made will endorse the initiator’s escalation request with their favorable acceptance.  If the project management authority disagrees with the initiator’s assessment and request, they will indicate their disapproval, reasons for the disapproval, returning the declined documentation package to the initiator. The initiator can then accept the declination or they can request a review by the Portfolio/Program project management authority.

Approval:  Step description: this is the final approval from the accepting project management authority necessary to effect the escalation reassignment.

Transfer:  Step description:  Upon approval by the accepting PM, the changes in the impacted risk registers or issue logs are made, and the escalated risk or issue is reassigned to the accepting project management authority. From this point on, the risk or issue is now owned and/or managed by the accepting project management authority. The risk or issue is now tracked, managed, and reported on by the assigned project management authority.

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