The KnowRisk Story

Repeated from Our Customers’ Success Stories page, this KnowRisk Story bears retelling!

Big Eight Consulting Firm Wins More Bids, Profits More on Bids Won

ss-big-eightSucceeding at one of the of the two actions in the title is easy. Win more bids by bidding lower. Make more profit by bidding high. Succeeding at both requires an organization commitment. This “Big Eight” firm selected us to help them achieve that goal.

To do so, we reviewed and improved their estimating, bidding and risk management methods.

In that era, it was common practice to charge customers to manage their own risks. We pioneered a different approach.

The Innovation: Using our KnowRisk services, we identified risks that customers were willing to commit to manage as contract exclusions. This resulted in significantly lower bids. Then we integrated our risk management processes and differentiating PM methods into their Systems Engineering methods.

We developed a custom Project Management Workshop for their Senior Consultants and Managers. We trained their trainers in rolling it out worldwide. This firm moved from #4 to #2 in the Big 8 rankings. And, their newfound approach transformed the way all the major consultancies estimate and bid projects, and manage risks, 30+ years later.


That adventure began in 1987, and ended in 1990. We were contractually restrained from sharing our innovations with others, for five years. In the interim, we observed–and coached–the firm in fine-tuning its methods. We also explored the implications of this risk management approach in all other types of project and program engagements.

The first year that we offered this brave new risk management approach, we were surprised. Only 25% of companies were willing to save money by managing risks that were within their control. By the second year, over 50% were eager to self-manage their risks. By the third year, over 75% demanded this way of managing the bidding process–and we had a three year head-start over all others.

knowriskWhen our “non-compete” expired, we offered our KnowRisk service to all our customers. The service does require significant amounts of project history data, including what we named “Project Intelligence. This data includes incidences of Risks, Issues, Failures and Lessons Learned. We presented this approach in the IPMA World Congress in India in 2005. See our paper from that event in our Articles list.

Truly managing risk also requires recording the consequences of risks realized, typical responses, their effectiveness, and significant additional data. Not all enterprises have the rigor to save reliable information on these key factors.

So we began developing our own universal risk management database, and our KnowRisk service became the basis for an accompanying Risk Management product.

Today, we use both our KnowRisk product and our KnowRisk service in our consulting engagements, for customers that are interested in managing high risk. And that is the KnowRisk Story!

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