How to Manage Risk When Moving to Arbor

Projects by their very nature can be inherently risky, with multiple moving parts all happening at once, and it can sometimes be difficult to keep tabs of exactly what is happening.

Risks are typically seen as something that can negatively impact a project, known as a ‘threat’, but on the flipside risks can also have a positive impact as well, in the form of an ‘opportunity’. 

To ensure the seamless progress of your Arbor onboarding project, it’s important that any risks associated with your onboarding are properly managed and mitigated against, meaning threats are minimised and opportunities are maximised. 

Steps to take when managing risks

Identifying the risk

Identifying the risk will be the first thing that you’ll have to do in order to properly manage a risk. 

Examples of risks can include, but aren’t limited to, any of the following: a change in the project team, a lack of engagement with data checking/data cleansing, internal school environment factors such as a member of the projects team going on long-term absence, or more time being allocated to the project team by the executive sponsor. 

An important takeaway from this is that if you think any event or circumstance within the project may be a risk, bring it up with your dedicated Arbor Project Manager, who will then work alongside you to correctly identify the risk and its potential impact.  

Analyzing and Evaluating the Risk

Once a risk has been identified, we can move onto analysing the risk and evaluating its potential impact.

We use a RAG analysis matrix (shown below) to determine how severe the impact of the risk will be. 


If a risk is green, then no immediate action needs to be taken and we will simply keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn’t increase in likelihood or severity over time. If a risk is amber, then appropriate actions will be taken to ensure that it doesn’t negatively impact the project. Finally, if a risk is red then priority actions will be undertaken to reduce the likelihood and severity of this risk. 

Reviewing the Risk

Risks should be reviewed every time the project team meets for their weekly progress meetings and should include the Arbor Project Manager, the schools’ Project Lead, and any key stakeholders who have a vested interest in the risk. 

The risk register (located within the Implementation Workbook) should then be updated as necessary, and the risk itself will be communicated to the relevant teams within Arbor to ensure that appropriate actions are taken. Updates on the risk will then be communicated as subsequent progress meetings.  

Roles & Responsibilities

It will be the role of your Arbor Project Manager to ensure that risks are entered into the risk register. It will also be the Arbor Project Managers responsibility to report on the status of each risk and any internal progress that has been made to reduce the likelihood of any threats or to increase the likelihood of any opportunities. 

It will be the Project Leads responsibility to ensure that risks and their likelihood are communicated to key stakeholders and Arbor champions within the school environment, as well as making sure that the Arbor champions are aware of what they will need to do specifically to reduce the likelihood of any threats or to increase the likelihood of any opportunities. 

Key Takeaways

As with any change management piece, risks are an inevitability that should be embraced rather than feared. 

Risks rarely impact the onboarding of schools to Arbor in such a way that they completely halt the project, however, it’s vitally important that correct risk management practices as listed above are taken to ensure that risks don’t get out of hand. 

If you think anything could or should be a risk that we need to be aware of, then bring it up with your Arbor Project Manager - no matter how big or small the potential risk may seem. 

Remember, Arbor have on-boarded over 1,600 schools to our MIS, so it’s likely that we’ll have a relevant mitigation plan in place no matter what risk you bring to us.

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