Have you seen the most recent news story blasting a city for mishandling their efforts to put vacant property back to productive use? Even if you haven’t seen the most recent press, you’ve undoubtedly seen other splashy stories on the front page of local newspapers criticizing their leaders for bungling community projects meant to improve blighted properties in their city.
In the recent case, vacant lots were sold without properly vetting the purchasers, causing a lot of frustration for nearby neighbors. Worse, the project resulted in a good amount of wasted effort and embarrassment for the city.
That story of missed property data along with previous critical news stories I’ve written about made me think about how most people view the concepts of risk, chance, and possibility.
Risk is often thought of as the likelihood of a bad thing, although in truth all actions and inactions involve some type of risk. Our perception of chance is more neutral. When we ask “what are the chances?”, we may be thinking of good or bad things. To most, the idea of possibility is more affirmative: What is possible? or This plan is full of possibility.
I imagine the leaders of that failed program focused more on its possibilities without fully assessing its risks. Many failed programs begin with good intentions and great possibilities. Something else that became obvious is that the program leaders failed to track what happened to the properties after they transferred them to the purchasers.
One must wonder if that program could have been saved if they had used a data management system to collect and evaluate their property data throughout its life cycle. If they had one, maybe they could have used their data system when problems started to happen. It could have helped the various contributors coordinate and nip small problems in the bud before they became big problems.
A good risk management plan first off needs to include thoughtful policies aimed at increasing the possibility of success and minimizing ‘bad’ risk. Another critical part of a good risk management plan is collecting and analyzing data that can be used to identify problems and track various inputs and outputs. It is also important to trace the results – good, bad, or neutral- back to the decisions made when calculating their risk or reward.
When organizations do not have a data management system, they are taking on a lot more risk than they should. Using property data management software such as ePropertyPlus allows you to track where your projects are at any point in time and head off problems before they spiral out of your control.
Just as the city in the news story above stumbled, there are plenty of other cases where a city administration successfully defended itself from criticism by producing clear, comprehensive data to prove it had a good handle on its properties.
We help organizations implement comprehensive risk management plans that include smart policies and procedures and strategies for leveraging data, all supported by our ePropertyPlus software. Used together, these tools help community revitalization organizations increase their chance of success and reduce their risk of failure.