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How to Write a Project Risk Assessment

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Life rarely follows the path that we want it to when it comes to projects. You might plan for every stage of the project and every penny spent but then something will come along and completely change everything. A good project risk assessment, however, can be a great tool when it comes to preparing for such eventualities. Here we will look at exactly how you should write a project risk assessment using those project management qualifications.

What are risks?

It is important to remember that risks are not the same thing as issues. Not every risk is negative, there can be positive ones as well. A risk is simply an event that may happen and that you might not have a specific timeline for it occurring; a sudden unexpected spike in demand, a component not arriving on time. Either way you need to be prepared to manage these.

Assess your project risk

In order to get a better understanding of the type of risks you might face you need to prepare your risk assessment. There are three simple steps that you need to follow in order to achieve this.

Step 1: Identify potential risks

Take the time to sit down and write a list that includes every risk and opportunity that might possibly occur. Do not just focus on the negative ones you should also consider those which may deliver an unexpected value to your client or customer. It can be a good idea to get the members of your project team to assist with this; they may think of things you don’t. This list might be long but don’t worry about that, it is better to have thought of every possible outcome rather than finding yourself faced with something that was not on the list later on.

Step 2: Consider the probabilities

You need to consider the chances of each risk occurring. For example, you are far more likely to have a team member off for a couple of days sick than you are to suddenly have someone just suddenly disappear leaving your team short of people. You should rate each of the risks on your list low, medium, and high probability.

Step 3: Consider the impact

Now you need to think about what would occur if each risk actually happened. Use those project management skills and look at things like how it might affect your final delivery date and whether you might go over budget. You should write a business impact analysis that will assist you in determining the risk of each possible problem. This will also help you to see which risks could have the biggest implications for the outcome of your project Rate everything either low, medium, or high impact.

You could also consider using a risk register to track and log risks. Remember to include risk impact, probability, and counter measures.

Once you have completed your risk assessment you can now begin to manage the risks you have identified.

Published: December 14, 2020

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