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Researcher Development

Researcher Development

Project slippage, risk analysis and slack

Project slippage is when you miss a deadline in your project. Project slippage is somewhat inevitable, but can easily become a habit as deadlines becoming continually missed, the delivery of the project – submitting your thesis – is delayed.

One of the ways to prevent project slippage is to conduct a risk analysis. According to Vitae ‘by anticipating risks, you will be open to fewer shocks and unwelcome surprises that impact your work, and you’re likely to spend less time fire-fighting issues and wasting resources.’ A risk analysis splits risk in to two parts:

  • Likelihood – the likelihood of something happening
  • Impact – the level of impact on the project

This is mapped as follows, to allow you to identify the relative likelihood and impact, and therefore where you might want to build risks, and how to mitigate them, in to your project plan:

Here is a version of the risk analysis, with potential research degree ‘risks’ mapped on to the matrix:

The aim of conducting a risk analysis is to plan for project slippage. Where you have identified risks that are highly likely, you can build ‘slack’ or ‘float’  into the project based on their impact. This involves extending the planned time of individual tasks or phases of the project to give yourself a buffer and avoid falling behind schedule.

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