Who should have final say in deciding upon the appropriate response mechanism for a risk?
A collaborative discussion should occur between stakeholders and experts to decide upon the appropriate response for a risk, though, the final say should always come from senior management as they are ultimately responsible for the end results or consequences. It is a good idea to also specify a risk owner. Risks should be assigned to individuals or group to take responsibility. The risk owner role should be given to someone who will help develop risk response and will be assigned to carry it out or own the risk. The risk response should be inline with the significance of the risk–cost-effective, and realistic. Primary and backup strategies in the risk management plan and risk register allow the risk owner to then take predetermined action when risks occur. The result is faster action and less cost, time, and impact on the project.
It is critical to have an open channel of communication between operating managers, risk managers and all the stake holders before making any decision. Generally, they should agree upon all the strategies and all outlooks should be taken into consideration. In the case of the Challenger, the engineers were the people who knew whether or not it was safe to launch under the given situation. These employees had the know-how on the structure of the shuttle. The executives should have considered the input from the engineers instead of making decision based their own judgment. With that, senior management should be entitled to make such decisions, but not without full-time involvement of employees who are directly linked up with the processes of the project.