Project Management: Working with Risk in Project 2016

By Cynthia Snyder

Project managers know that all projects have risk. Too many unknown factors are possible for you to be able to expect your project to go exactly as planned. To account for these unknown elements, take the time to follow these steps:

  1. Work with your team to create a list of all possible risks. Analyze the WBS, schedule, budget, technical documentation, and any other documentation you can get your hands on.

  2. Calculate the probability that the risks you’ve identified will occur, and determine their impact.

    For example, risks may affect the schedule, budget, scope, quality, stakeholder satisfaction, or another objective.

  3. Prioritize the risks by those that have the greatest impact and probability.

  4. Develop a response plan for risks that are likely to have a significant impact if they occur. Responses may include these strategies:

    • Avoid the risk altogether, find a different way to perform a task, or eliminate the risky part of the project

    • Mitigate the risk by reducing the probability or impact of the event (or both)

    • Transfer the risk to someone else (such as a vendor) to handle

    • Escalate the risk to someone who can do something about it, such as a sponsor or program manager

    • Accept the risk, either with a contingency plan, or contingency reserve

  5. Update the project schedule.

    Include the work, resources, time, and funding that are necessary to implement the risk responses as appropriate.