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Keeping a handle on project risk - our 7 top tips

Keeping a handle on project risk management – our 7 top tips

In a constantly evolving business world, risk is inevitable, no matter how cautious you plan on being. It’s therefore not a question of whether your project will be faced with risk, but how you’re going to deal with this risk in order to ensure successful project delivery.

Proper risk management ensures that your team is well-prepared for any curve balls which may come their way instead of being stuck in the trenches in non-stop battle mode.

These are our 7 top tips for keeping a handle on your project risk:

Tip 1: Start as early as possible
Risk identification is something that should ideally start even before the project has officially kicked off. Previous or related projects can be a great reference source. Subject matter experts, both internal or external to your company, can also help to shed some light on areas that may be riskier than others.

Tip 2: Tackle it as a team
Risk management is not just the job of the project manager; the entire team should get involved. Each team member comes with their own unique background and experience and collectively you’ll be able to create a far more comprehensive risk register than leaving it up to one person.

Tip 3: Identify both risks & opportunities
Risks are normally seen as items which will have a negative impact on your project, but it doesn’t always have to be all doom and gloom. Risk management is also a chance to identify opportunities which you could take advantage of to benefit the project. With this in mind, encourage your team to think about both the good and the bad.

Tip 4: Analyse each risk & prioritise accordingly
Two key factors come into play: Impact & probability. If a risk has a very high impact but a very low probability of happening, it may have a lower priority than something which perhaps only has a medium impact but a very high probability of happening. Ensure that both factors are considered when deciding which risks require more of your attention.

Tip 5: Create a plan of action for each risk
As the saying goes: Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, where possible, document actions that could be taken to prevent each risk. In instances where there are no possible actions that can be taken to mitigate risk, you will need a detailed action plan which will kick in should that risk become a reality.

Tip 6: Keep communication flowing
Risk communication is a large part of risk management. Not only does it ensure that your team members are aware of the role they play in putting your risk plan into action, but it encourages open communication about new or changing risks. In most instances, someone somewhere knows about an item that could potentially cause havoc on your project. A good idea is to add risks as a regular agenda item to your weekly team meetings and steering committee meetings. In this way you’re able to tap into new or changing information others may have.

Tip 7: Don’t lose track
Risk management is a continuous task. Risk impacts and probabilities may change over time, new risks may pop up, response and mitigation strategies may need to be adjusted… and the list goes on. Keep a handle on this changing landscape by making risk tasks part of your day-to-day project activities. You need to actively track progress against your risk plan just as you would track progress against your overall project plan.

As one of the more niche management consulting firms in South Africa, we pride ourselves on solving complex business challenges powerfully and efficiently with our tried and proven partnered approach and methodologies.

Is risky business keeping you up at night? Contact Cathy at Analyze on 021 447 5696 or email her on to find out how we can help put your mind at ease.

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