Identifying and Managing Project Risk

Risks are those events or conditions that may occur and whose occurrence has a harmful or negative impact on a project. Project risk management aims to identify the risks and then take actions to minimize their effect on the project. Project risk management entails additional cost. Hence project risk management can be considered cost-effective only if the cost of managing project risk is considerably less than the cost incurred if the risk materializes.

Components of Project Risk Management

Important components in project risk management are:

  1. Risk Assessment — The assessment and identification focuses on enumerating possible risks to the project. Identify the possible risks and assess the consequences by means of checklists of possible risks, surveys, meetings and brainstorming and reviews of plans, processes and products. The project manager can also use the process database to get information about risks and risk management on similar projects.
  2. Risk Control — Identify the actions needed to minimize the risk consequences. Develop a risk management plan. Focus on the highest prioritized risks. Prioritization requires analyzing the possible effects of the risk event in case it actually occurs. This approach requires a quantitative assessment of the risk probability and the risk consequences. For each risk, determine the rate of its occurrence and indicate whether the risk is low, medium or of high category. If necessary, assign probability values in the ranges as prescribed based upon experience. If necessary assign a weight on a scale of 1 to 10.
  3. Risk Ranking — Rank the risk based on the probability and effects on the project; for example, a high probability, high impact item will have higher rank than a risk item with a medium probability and high impact. In case of conflict, use judgment.
  4. Risk Mitigation — Select the top few risk items for mitigation and tracking. Refer to a list of commonly used risk mitigation steps for various risks from the previous risk logs maintained by the project manager and select suitable risk mitigation step. The risk mitigation step must be properly executed by incorporating them into the project schedule. In addition to monitoring the progress of the planned risk mitigation steps, periodically revisit the risk perception for the entire project. The results of this review are reported in each milestone analysis report. To prepare this report, make fresh risk analysis to determine whether the priorities have changed.

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