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 Project Risk Management | PM Tools - PM Tools

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Project Risk Management

PRINCE2 defines project risk as uncertain events which might have an impact on the project outcomes or project output. The key point everyone is missing is the difference between a project risk and a project issue. I always find the risks and issues are logged in interchangeably i.e., project risks are logged in issue register and issues in the project risk register. I define project issues as events which are causing problems/concerns now and it requires some key actions in order to sort out the issues. In case of risks, those are events which may or may not happen in future. If that happens then it would result in some impact to the project.

Now, let us see what are the details we need to capture in terms of project risks?

  • Risk description – first question we should ask is what is the risk? Elaborate on the risk and gather as many details about the project risk. Understand it better and reword it. Verb it properly. Make it aligned towards project context. The risk description ideally should contain the risk cause and the risk impact on the project.
  • When the risk is raised
  • Who raised the risk
  • Proximity of the risk in terms of time.
  • Risk impact in terms of cost
  • Risk likelihood in terms of percentage
  • Risk response i.e., whether you are going to accept the risk. Whether you are going to avoid the risk. Whether you are going to transfer the risk to different department. Whether you are going to reduce the risk’s impact or likelihood.
  • Risk owner
  • Risk actioner
  • Risk plan of action.

Once you log the project risk with all the above details, you can start the project risk management.

Project risk management is the set of procedures, policies, tools which the project manager going to use in order to identify, manage/control and close the risks.

Project risks can come up during project meetings with suppliers or vendors or internal stakeholders. Project risks can come up due to external factors like government regulations, environmental factors like swine flu outbreak, planned airline strike, etc.,

The moment project manager knows about the project risks he/she needs to log it and discuss with the risk owner on the progress of that risk. Keep an eye on its likelihood and the cost impact. Once the project manager think that the project risk is no more a risk, or now it has transformed into an issue on hand, then appropriate action to be taken.

Risk cost would definitely have an impact on the project cost and/or on the project benefits (or return of investment (ROI), payback period, net value, etc.,).

Project manager should make sure whether all the appropriate parties are communicated on the risk cost impact.

The purpose of the article is to emphasize the importance of tracking project risks and to manage them.

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