11.2 Identify Risks

"The process of determining which risks may affect the project and documenting their characteristics."

The definition shown above in italics is taken from the Glossary of the Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) – Fifth Edition, Project Management Institute Inc., 2013

Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) – Fifth Edition, Project Management Institute Inc., 2013 Figure 11-56 Page 319

Risk Identification Techniques

Information Gathering techniques:

  • Brainstorming
  • Delphi technique
  • Interviewing
  • Root Cause Analysis

Checklist Analysis

Assumption Analysis

Diagramming Techniques

  • Cause and Effect Diagrams
  • System or Process Flow Charts
  • Influence Diagrams

SWOT Analysis

Expert Judgement

11.2 Identify Risks

All project personnel should be involved when identifying risks – risk planning workshop


  • Used to identify overall project risks or may focus in on the risks within a particular project phase /work package.

Delphi technique

  • Anonymously submission of a risk list to a facilitator
  • Generates a consensus among project risk experts


Root cause analysis

  • Used to identify problems, discover the root cause, and develop corrective actions

Sources of Risk

Organisational risks

  • Inconsistent definition of cost, time and/or scope definition, lack of project prioritisation, interrupted funding or resources

Project management risks

  • Poor project management discipline, poor constructed project plan, poorly resource allocation,

Technical, quality or performance risks

  • Unproven technology, unrealistic goals

External risks

  • Changes to legal / regulatory environment, labour issues, weather

Force Majeure – earthquakes, floods and civil unrest.

Probability and Impact

PM defines the scales and their meanings in the Risk Management Plan


  • Very Low, Low, Moderate, High, Very High
  • Very Unlikely ---- Almost Certain
  • 0.1 – 0.3 – 0.5 – 0.7 – 0.9


  • Very Low, Low, Moderate, High, Very High
  • Numerical:
    • Linear: 0.1 – 0.3 – 0.5 – 0.7 – 0.9
    • Non-linear: 0.05 – 0.1 – 0.2 – 0.4 – 0.8

Influence Diagram

Shows the relationship between variables and outcomes

This one shows the different influences on the decision path required for a product.

Risk Register

Content described in the Risk Management Plan:

Risk Register entries

  • List of identified risks
  • List of potential responses
  • Root causes or risk
  • Updated risk categories

Updated by other risk management processes

One Register for the project

  • Although suppliers may have their own Risk Register for their own supply side risks internal to their company

Identifies and categorizes risks, potential risk response actions, triggers, escalation points.

A trigger is an early warning of imminent risk

  • Think of the flu. You will know you are about to get it, when you are feeling feverish, have an achy feeling all over, a sore throat, coughing, a runny nose, etc…

Have you identified those risks yet?


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