TIRA 2015: Tech Industry Risk Assessment
Part 2: Seven Areas to Focus on for Better Security and Risk Management

1. Project Management Procedures

According to application responses, only 46 percent of our customers currently have "internal project management audit procedures," which include check-ins to determine whether the project is on track. An audit might include questions like…

  • Are you adhering to the original client agreement and contract?
  • Is the project on schedule?
  • What specific progress has been made on the project?
  • Is the project on budget?
  • What (if any) challenges do you foresee for the rest of the project?

In other words, project management audits are mid-project check-ins that help you determine whether or not you're going to finish on time, on budget, and on task. They're helpful because they give you an idea, before you're finished, whether or not you're going to satisfy your client. Why is that important? The obvious answer is that you want your clients to be happy with your work so they'll pay you.

The higher-level answer is that you want to do everything in your power to keep clients happy to minimize the likelihood of an Errors & Omissions lawsuit.

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Project Management for Sole Proprietors

So how does this apply to the 64 percent of our customers who work by themselves? Taking stock is still important and can be done quickly and informally. When you start a project, schedule a check-in halfway through (or, for a longer project, two check-ins at regular intervals).

When you get the calendar reminder, go through the list of questions above. Use the answers to adjust your work schedule (if necessary) and send your client a summary. If everything's on track, the client will appreciate the communication and remember how great you are. If something's gotten off track, the client will appreciate that you let them know as soon as possible. That's called a win-win, folks.

Project Management with Employees and Subcontractors

Getting in the habit of doing project management check-ins when you work by yourself can also pay off when you start working with subcontractors or employees. That's because, according to Robert Covington, founder and CEO of ToGoCIO.com New browser window icon., a site that provides network security and risk management services, "too many companies try to accomplish policy via 'oral tradition,' which leaves different employees with different understandings about what is required." He adds that "even a small business needs a formal, written project management process in place." It doesn't have to be elaborate, he says, but it does need to provide a repeatable process for successful delivery — whether a business has two employees or 2,000.

So how are insureon's customers doing on this front? About 62 percent have a formal process in place to educate new employees about the importance of adhering to copyright, trademark, and privacy laws, and 69 percent have procedures for reviewing content to ensure that they aren't violating copyrights or stealing intellectual property.

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To-do item: Create a one-page sheet of project check-in questions. Schedule calendar reminders partway through every project to answer questions and touch base with clients.

Risks managed: Project failure, client dissatisfaction, client lawsuits

Further reading: The Technology X Factor: Client Communication

Next: 2. Complaint Resolution Policies

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