Risk register helps you manage risks by documenting issues correctly and create accurate risk responses. During an ongoing project, this is the only tool that helps you track and manage challenges as well as opportunities. In this article at PM Basics 101, Dmitriy Nizhebetskiy explains what a risk register is and its best practices.
Risk Register: Definition and Usage
As per the PMBOK Guide, “Risk Register is a document that contains all the results of risk analysis and where risk response plans are recorded.” While it is a simple document where you keep records of risks, it is also a living one. Risks change over time and you must continuously update them to create an effective risk response plan. You initially start working on it during the planning phase and archive it for future projects. Following are the best practices you can use to leverage maintaining a risk register:
- Start filling up the risk register from the risk identification stage. A good project manager never stops updating it, though.
- It is okay to have the register always look like a work in progress. You will have time to straighten it up later.
- Do not start analyzing as soon as you identify risks or make the process an individual task. Come back later and discuss solutions with your team.
- Specify risks as much as possible but have credible facts backing your opinion.
- Ensure that every risk has an owner. You are not supposed to know how to manage every risk all on your own. Delegate the tasks.
- Since you cannot fight risks all by yourself, share your risk management plan with the team.
- Evaluate the risk register continuously before drafting the final project management plan.
- Conduct review meetings to update the risk register regularly. Update it when you receive a change request and before and after a deliverable. Check it when a risk occurs or when the risk response plan does not prove efficient.
- Update it continuously through the project lifecycle but strive to make it presentable for the stakeholders.
A risk register should be simple but clear. Its basic columns are risk index, WBS element, category, description, effects, probability, impact, rank, owner, and response plan.
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