1 - Identify

  • Consider the scope and objectives of your project to identify any uncertain event that may jeopardise the deliverables. Risk may impact on time, cost or quality of outcome. It is worth noting that uncertain events/risk are not always threats, they may present opportunities that, should they arise, you want to be ready to take advantage of.

    It is important at this stage that you make sure that the risk description properly describes the risk. Risks should be expressed in terms of:

    • the cause - the situation that gives rise to the risk,
    • the event - the threat that may occur if cause materialises, and
    • the effect - the resulting impact on the ability of the project to deliverable the required outputs to time, cost and quality if the event occurs.

    This takes practice to get right! You will find that when identifying risks most of us will make very general statements that need some teasing-out to fully express the risk. Do persevere though. The risk register can only do its job for you, and agreed risk responses can only be appropriate, if the risks are well expressed in the first place.

    More complex or larger projects should also categorise cause of the risk. This allows you to manage and review by collective risk category which can be helpful if you have a large number of low level risks from the same type of source. Individually they may not draw much attention but collectively they may constitute a risk area that merits closer monitoring.

    At all stages it is for the Project Manager, ( or Risk Manager if your project has been assigned one), to do the initial piece of work and put this to the Project or Programme Board to critique, amend and sign-off. This does not mean that the Project Manager does this work in isolation; it means that they drive the initial piece of work by talking to the relevant people and capturing the information gained.

    Once you have defined the deliverables or outputs of your project VPO can provide facilitated workshops with your project team to help you carry out your risk capture and analysis. Please contact us to discuss this.

  • What to do

    • Identify risks
    • Complete columns C,D, and E of your Risk Register. You will need this information to enable to adhere to good risk management practice later on.
    • Complete column J ensuring you clearly express the risk.
    • More complex or larger projects should consider Categorising the cause of each risk using column B.

    Tips on how to do it

    • Get together your Project Team and Board and brainstorm to identify risks & issues
    • You can use the standard Risk Categories [link to risk category page] as a prompt to do this
    • Include any risks flagged by stakeholders or others in any earlier project planning discussions
    • Risks should be expressed fully and describe:
      • the cause (the situation that gives rise to the risk),
      • the event (the threat that may occur if cause materialises), and
      • the effect (the resulting impact on the project if the event occurs).