10 Golden Rules of Project Risk Management

If you are planning to ever lead a project this article is an absolute MUST read! It provides the 10 golden rules for the application of risk management in every project. Based on the author’s personal experiences of over 15 years, the article discusses how to deliver on time, on budget, meeting sponsors’ quality demands.

Rule 1: Make risk management part of your project

Risk management tools should not only be part of daily operations, but also included during meetings or staff training.

My 2 cents…It would be almost ignorant to not include risk management in a project. You would simply be setting the project up for failure.

Rule 2: Identify risks early in your project

The author points out two main sources to identify risk: people (offering personal experiences and expertise) and paper (project plan, business cases).

My 2 cents…Identifying the risks either through human capital or documents is the first step. Dealing with them timely and properly is the real challenge during a project with multiple phases.

Rule 3: Communicate about risks

Communication should be a component in every task carried out during the project. By having a dialogue as these arise, the team will have a chance to discuss and handle.

My 2 cents…Communication! Communication! Communication! It is absolutely critical to communicate risks with all stakeholders as they arise to help prevent disasters later on during the project. If you are not sure of the whole impact of a risk, bring it up during a meeting. There is nothing worse than foreseeing an issue, not addressing it to later be faced with irreversible consequences.

Rule 4: Consider both threats and opportunities

Many project teams group opportunities under the risk category when in fact these might be ways to help improve the project. Overloaded with work and pressured to meet deadlines, projects with decent pay-offs are bypassed.

My 2 cents…Once on a project, the marketing director asked me to write my own SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats for those without a marketing background). I thought she was crazy and undermining my skills since I was fresh out of college. The project ended up being one of the best ones I was a part of because my knowledge and experience were used in the correct phases or milestone tasks.

Rule 5: Clarify Ownership Issues

Someone needs to be held responsible for certain tasks and be prepared to deal with them and take ownership. Simply writing down a list of the potential issues isn’t enough especially when money is at stake and someone will have to empty their wallet?

My 2 cents…Clarifying ownership is critical for the success of a project. If team members are not held responsible for individual tasks or risks, the project will be doomed for failure as fingers will be pointed left and right.

To read the remaining five rules, please refer to the article https://www.projectsmart.co.uk/10-golden-rules-of-project-risk-management.php

Which one of the rules do you find most important for the success of the project and can you think of any in addition to his list?

Thank you for reading my blog!





5 thoughts on “10 Golden Rules of Project Risk Management

  1. I really enjoyed reading this article, thanks for sharing Val!
    I liked rule number 11 to use the Japanese Kaizen approach, measure the effects of risk management efforts and continuously implement improvements to make it even better.

    It is very important for project manager to identify risk, assess risk, and mitigate the sequences of risk.

  2. Vel, this is a great find and it relates to class discussion as well as to the article that I found. I love how the author took the 10 golden rules for the application of risk management in every project and explained them thoroughly. My favorite two rules are #2 Identify Risks Early in Your Project and #3 Communicate About Risks. I even think that rule #2 should be rule #1. Identifying risks early in your project is critical. If you don’t see the risk, obviously you don’t have a plan how to resolve a problems if they arise. Communication is also essential in the risk management process. If there is someone on a project that doesn’t communicate all the details then many times it because a cause of a problem. Many risks are unforeseen but using these 10 golden rules I am sure managing a project could become a bit simpler.

  3. Vel, thank you for sharing this very informative article. I think rule #3 is one of the most important rules that should be followed if one wants to be a successful project manager. Effective communication is a key to eliminate any misunderstandings when working in a team setting. When people don’t communicate effectively, then a project manager can end up with multiple team members working on the same assignment. This in turn will lead to conflict and unnecessary disagreements between team members.
    Rule #9 that the author describes, Register Project Risks, is also very important in my opinion. Maintaining a risk log will allow all team members to stay on track, and it will ensure that all risk aspects have been addressed.
    An additional rule that I would add to the list is assigning the different risk level issues to different people on the team. What I mean is, after the team determined the risk from highest to lowest; I would assign appropriate team members to each risk. Those who can address the highest risk issues would be assigned the highest risk tasks. Those team members who can’t handle risky issues well would be assigned the lowest risk task.

  4. Thanks for the post Vel. I agree with the article that risk management is an essential part of a successful project. It’s important to identify the risks early in the project but also review them constantly. I think rule 9 and 10 – registering project risks and tracking risks and associated tasks are important. I have seen projects fail because risk was not properly recorded and tracked after the initial risk assessment and analysis.

  5. Great post Vel! Understanding of risk management is highly important! These 10 rules must be known, I’m sure many projects have failed due to lack of knowledge and execution. A great project manager must know how to identify,assess, and mitigate risk overall. Poor execution of risk sequences will lead to a poor project!

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