Help Your Team Manage Project Risks with a Risk Assessment Plan

Project managers are faced with the daunting task of not only seeing a project from start to finish but also anticipating the risks that could come up along the way. Risks can reveal themselves in every stage of the project, including during initiation, planning, executing, controlling, and closing the project.

When problems do arise in a project, it’s important that the response maintains company standards, reflects your brand and mission, all while getting the project back on track to meet strategic goals.

A project management risk assessment plan is an essential component of the project planning phase. This plan will allow you to pivot when the unexpected occurs.

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How to Write a Risk Assessment Plan

Your risk assessment plan should identify potential problems, predict the likelihood of occurrence, take actions to avoid the risk, and come up with a game plan for the risk if it occurs.

Every project comes with risk – and sometimes, these risks are actually positive for your project, like simplifying a task or hitting goals ahead of schedule. Every unexpected turn in your project, even a positive one, is considered a risk because it can change the outcome of your project.

To write your risk assessment plan, follow these 5 steps: 

  • Your risk assessment plan should begin in your project drafting phase. Optimize your project management strategy with a project management methodology that reflects the speed and maintains the integrity of your project’s objectives.
  • As soon as you have defined this workflow, consider the risks associated with each phase of the project. This is known as the risk identification phase. Drawing from past projects and your industry expertise, write down a risk checklist that features problems that could arise. Common risks include technical, cost, schedule, client, contractual, people. Some more rare risks that arise include weather, political, and environmental.
  • Once you’ve written down the potential risks on a checklist, it’s now time for risk evaluation. You can use the P-I scoring method to rate the probability of risk occurrence with the impact this risk will cause. During this phase, you’ll discover that some of your project tasks come with a bigger set of risks. It’s a good idea to schedule extra time to assess these project phases.
  • Now it’s time to formally write your risk assessment plan. This plan will include all the above data you’ve gathered, along with strategies to avoid the risk altogether or an alternative plan for when the risk arises. While it’s best to come up with a strategy that avoids the risk altogether, this often includes an increase in the project budget. Also, some risks are unavoidable, like having a key player quit the project before they complete their task.
  • Once your risk assessment plan has been written out, now is the time to share it with your team members and stakeholders. Anyone who touches the project should have a clear understanding of the risk. You should also keep a copy of the plan on a joint server so that anyone working on the project can access it at any time.

You can discover more tips on how to write each phase of your risk assessment plan here.

To discover everything you need to know about project management methodologies, check out the visual from Fundera below!

Meredith Wood is Editor-in-Chief at Fundera. Specializing in financial advice for small business owners, Meredith is a current and past contributor to Yahoo!, Amex OPEN Forum, Fox Business, SCORE, AllBusiness and more.



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Help Your Team Manage Project Risks with a Risk Assessment Plan

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