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7 Established Ways to Identify Risks

Where, when, and how do risks occur? Answering these three questions is the first step of any sound risk management strategy. In his blog, PM South, Harry Hall addresses some common questions about risk management with his customarily tried and true advice.

Seven Ways to ID Risk

  1. Acknowledge blind spots.
  2. Involve third-parties.
  3. Start early.
  4. Utilize effective tools.
  5. Consistent reporting.
  6. Use a risk register.
  7. Pair risks with goals.

It’s important to engage in a formal process of risk identification. Why? Well, for starters, projects are complex animals. No single person is ever equipped to see all potential hazards in advance. Threats and opportunities should be scouted up front. By that token, it makes sense to include any project-relevant stakeholders in your risk assessment. Assessing threats to developing a data center? Involve third part vendors.

When should risk identification occur? Answer – as early as possible! Every moment that is lost without assessing for risk is one less moment available to take action against that risk. Of course, it’s impossible to peg all risks in advance, but you can and should try. There is certainly no shortage of means:

…brainstorming, the Delphi Technique, Pre-mortem, and the Cause and Effect Diagram. Depending on the nature of your project, project managers may use two or more of these methods during the course of a project.

Once those risks are identified, codify them consistently in your risk register. Use a consistent format, style, and syntax. For instance, “The [cause x]of [risk y]will result in [effect z].” The risk register is nothing more than a list of information about risk which may include the following items:

…risk description, risk owner, category, probability risk rating, impact risk rating, risk score, and risk response plans. The risk register may be created in a tool such as a spreadsheet, SharePoint, or a project management information system.

Make sure that every risk has its own “project goal buddy.” That is to say, make sure it relates to time, budget, and quality, among other factors.

Read the original article at:

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI’s Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master’s degree in communications at Penn State University.

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