Author Box
Articles Categories
All Categories
Articles Resources

How to Identify Major Risks Present In Your Project

April 11, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 204

Risk and risk management is part of the game when running projects. That's why risk management is so important to project managers. And why so much time is spent identifying the potentials and their effects. And so much time is spent making plans for things that might happen -- and might not.

So how do you identify major risks present in your project?

First off, let's correct some terminology. You don't identify major risks. You identify major risk events. Risk is another word for probability or uncertainty. Specifically, it means that the event is not a certainty. You don't know that it won't happen, but equally you don't know that it won't happen.

This uncertainty means that as a seer you are faced with a difficulty. When do you spend money to avoid or encourage what may not happen? It's hard enough predicting what you need to do. Predicting what you might have to do and then predicting what you should do because of that, can get a little mind-bending. Especially when you realize that disruption can be positive or negative. Having a new release with all your custom enhancements is extremely disruptive to an implementation plan. Especially when it happens in the middle of your customization efforts.

In this article, I'm going to focus on the 5 major ways to identify major risk events in your project.

1. Past History

Every time you work on a project, you should be reviewing the lessons learned. This includes a list of the risks encountered. Of course, every once in a while you will encounter projects that you or your organization have never encountered before. That's when you need to rely on others' experience. Google can point you to risk event lists prepared by others. Project management texts also often contain risk lists. Consultants can also be a source of risk lists.

2. Work Breakdown Review

I originally called this brainstorming. Brainstorming is a technique of generating ideas and then reviewing them afterwards. It is one of the most popular methods of identifying major risk events. But even if you're not using brainstorming, there is one common thread. You are starting from the work breakdown structure or list of tasks and identifying where things could occur.

3. Ishikawa Analysis

Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa was a Japanese professor and quality management innovator. He is most remembered for his fishbone diagram which assists in cause and effect analysis. A cause and effect analysis begins by identifying the possible sources of problems and opportunities. And then progresses to identifying the possible risk events. The result is a logical list of risk events. This is unlike a work breakdown review which begins from the tasks and uses random idea generation. Each method tends to fill in the risk events the other misses.

4. Ask around

So far, we've talked about formal techniques based on history or analysis. However, there is another possible source of ideas. Ask your sponsor and stakeholders. Often, people who are involved in the identification of the project can provide a different viewpoint. They will spot major risk events that are not spotted by analytical techniques.

5. Keep your eyes open

This is also known as the stumble-upon method. As we work through a project, the randomness of uncertainty disappears. As a result, uncertain or risk events also appear with greater clarity. One source that no project manager can afford to ignore is the team working on the project. I'm not talking about the managing team. I'm talking about the actual producing team. Their feedback and observations on potential risk events is critical. It should be included in every team meeting.

Do you want to read more free information like this? Visit us at and read our blog. While you're there check out other articles by Glen Ford

Or check out my newest book available on Amazon at

Glen Ford is an accomplished project management consultant, trainer and writer. He has over 20 years experience as a project manager in such diverse projects as Construction, IT, Software Development, Marketing and Business Startup. He is a serial entrepreneur who quite literally learned to be an entrepreneur at his great-grandfather's knee.

Source: EzineArticles
Was this Helpful ?

Rate this Article

Article Tags:

Risk Events


Major Risks


Major Risk


Major Risks Present


Major Risk Events


Project Management

In India, employment opportunities are set to grow by a good margin in the coming year, a phase which was started in the turn of the second decade of the 21st century. organisation, candidates with

By: Sarkariexam l Business > Careers Employment l April 01, 2013 lViews: 11715

Sometimes it is amazing to see that certain jobs can precipitate huge turnouts in the recruitment drives. It is as if thousands of people were waiting for the vacancy advertisements and the moment

By: Sarkariexam l Business > Careers Employment l December 30, 2012 lViews: 690

In recent times, jobs in healthcare segments have grown tremendously. It is anticipated that this growth curve will continue for the times to come. Various factors are responsible for this

By: Sarkariexam l Business > Career Advice l December 27, 2012 lViews: 449

Are you in a dilemma whether to choose web based CRM or not? If yes, don’t worry. You aren’t the sole person having this doubt.There are numerous firms trying to make out whether investing in a

By: Reneta Vasileva l Business > Customer Service l December 23, 2012 lViews: 410

If you think about it you will realize the fact that each business has its own set of risks that are involved in it.The trade secrets that you have and the information related to the business is what

By: brumbrum1 l Business > Risk Management l December 23, 2012 lViews: 264

As the time is changing, concierge management services are now growing despite the slowing economies of the world. The main reason of it is the need that is highly specific to the people who like to

By: willsmith10 l Business > Management l December 23, 2012 lViews: 334

If you think about it you will realize the fact that each business has its own set of risks that are involved in it.The trade secrets that you have and the information related to the business is what

By: brumbrum1l Business > Risk Managementl December 23, 2012 lViews: 264

Culture is the single most defining factor in any organization, not only to effectively implement any number of important corporate strategies, but in order to achieve an overall health and success

By: Charles Scott Coxl Business > Risk Managementl July 27, 2012 lViews: 272

Some say it takes brilliance to solve problems, and that may be so. The same folks will tell us that it takes a genius to not have the problem in the first place. Nevertheless, generally speaking

By: Lance Winslowl Business > Risk Managementl July 24, 2012 lViews: 239

A well-defined agreement is needed when establishing a reciprocity relationship between stakeholders. These agreements should define the roles, responsibilities and needed efficiencies of the

By: James E Fogartyl Business > Risk Managementl July 24, 2012 lViews: 198

The legislation regarding food safety measures is getting harsher every day. Anyway, this is not something to complain about considering that when it comes to food people's lives are involved. Quite

By: Tom Chicconel Business > Risk Managementl July 23, 2012 lViews: 210

Decision making can be regarded as the processes of selecting one or more choices. A critical ability for successful decision making is to correctly weigh the criteria in terms of relative importance

By: Anthony Comerfordl Business > Risk Managementl July 22, 2012 lViews: 183

As a project sponsor, you have a number of responsibilities. One of those is to clearly communicate to the team and stakeholders what the project is all about. In this article, you'll discover four

By: Glen D. Fordl Business > Managementl April 25, 2012 lViews: 126

Being a project sponsor is a very important role. But why? In this article, you'll discover what the role of the sponsor is and why it is so important.

By: Glen D. Fordl Business > Managementl April 24, 2012 lViews: 194

One of the biggest problems with performing risk management in the real world is estimating the probability of occurrence for the risk event. In this article, you'll discover a method for determining

By: Glen D. Fordl Business > Risk Managementl April 18, 2012 lViews: 184

Risk management is a phrase that is often tossed around. But what is it really? In this article, you'll discover what risk management is.

By: Glen D. Fordl Business > Risk Managementl April 17, 2012 lViews: 173

Risk management is a complex, time consuming and often frustrating task. So why do we do it? Of course, we claim that risk events will destroy our projects. But there has to be a deeper reason. In

By: Glen D. Fordl Business > Risk Managementl April 17, 2012 lViews: 185

Risk is part of the game when building a business. You need to risk-proof your business strategy as much as possible. But how? In this article, you'll discover 3 tips to help you.

By: Glen D. Fordl Business > Risk Managementl April 12, 2012 lViews: 172

Discuss this Article

comments powered by Disqus