4/23/2020 Project Risk
By Adrienne Watt and bpayne
Risk exists in all projects. The role of the project management team is to understand the kinds
and levels of risks on the project and then to develop and implement plans to mitigate these
risks. Risk represents the likelihood that an event that will negatively affect the achievement
of project goals will happen during the life of the project. The type and amount of risk varies
by industry type, complexity, and phase of the project. The project risk plan will also reflect
the risk profile of the project manager and key stakeholders. People have different comfort
levels with risk, and some members of the project team will be more risk averse than others.
The first step in developing a risk management plan involves identifying potential project risks.
Some risks are easy to identify, such as the potential for a damaging storm in the Caribbean,
and some are less obvious. Many industries or companies have risk checklists developed from
past experience. The Construction Industry Institute published a 100-item risk checklist that
provides examples and areas of project risks. No risk checklist will include all potential risks.
The value of a checklist is enhanced by the stimulation of discussion and thought about the
potential risks on a project.
The project team analyzes the identified risks and estimates the likelihood that they will occur.
The team then estimates the potential impact on project goals if the event does occur. The
outcome from this process is a prioritized list of estimated project risks with a value that
represents the likelihood of occurrence and the potential impact on the project.
The project team then develops a risk mitigation plan that reduces the likelihood of an event
occurring or reduces the impact on the project if the event does occur. The risk management
plan is integrated into the project execution plan, and mitigation activities are assigned to the
appropriate project team member. The likelihood that all the potential events identified in the
risk analysis will occur is extremely rare. The likelihood that one or more events will happen is
4/23/2020 Project Risk
The project risk plan reflects the risk profile of the project and balances the investment of the
mitigation against the benefit for the project. One of the more common risk mitigation
approaches is the use of contingency. Contingency is funds set aside by the project team to
address unforeseen events. Projects with a high-risk profile will typically have a large
contingency budget. If the team knows which activities have the highest risk, contingency can
be allocated to activities with the highest risk. When risks are less identifiable to specific
activities, contingency is identified in a separate line item. The plan includes periodic risk-plan
reviews during the life of the project. The risk review evaluates the effectiveness of the
current plan and explores possible risks not identified in earlier sessions.
Licenses and Attributions
Chapter 4: Framework for Project Management
(https://opentextbc.ca/projectmanagement/chapter/chapter-4-framework-for-projectmanagement-project-management/) by bpayne and Adrienne Watt from Project
Management is available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.en) license. Â© 2014, Adrienne Watt.
UMUC has modified this work and it is available under the original license. Download this
book for free at http://open.bccampus.ca (http://open.bccampus.ca) .
Â© 2020 University of Maryland Global Campus
All links to external sites were verified at the time of publication. UMGC is not responsible for the validity or integrity of
information located at external sites.
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