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All you need to know about project risk management

NitanshLast Updated: September 15, 2022

Almost every organization – big or small – needs project management to make sure their projects run smoothly. Yet, a lot of them don’t show any interest in project management because they think it’s an unnecessary tax and overhead. Not to mention, that it’ll increase the efforts in the planning stage. Running projects without good planning and management can lead to bigger problems down the line. So, let’s first try and get a better understanding of what exactly project management is all about.

What exactly is project management?

You might have often read or heard about projects failing. This can be due to the lack of funding and resources, lack of direction for the team, unsatisfactory leadership, etc. However, the most common reason for failure is the lack of proper project management. Project management is a disciplined process involving planning, initiating, executing, and controlling the work of the team working on a certain project.

Project management helps in organizing and managing multiple projects to achieve business goals. The organization’s plans could be producing or developing unique products or services. It’s worth noting however that project management is relatively different from repetitive, normal operations of any business. For example: in a manufacturing company, the actual work is to process resources into production, which is a normal operation since these are permanent work of businesses. On the other hand, project management could be utilized to come up with new business ideas to create or develop another product, and put that in motion.

Project management helps in carrying out various activities using project management tools, software, knowledge, skills, techniques, and methodologies. All these help in making a project successful. The main aim of project management is to ensure objectives are achieved within certain constraints. However, sometimes well-developed projects face risks, and many factors can be responsible for them, which brings us to…

What is project risk management?

As the name indicates, project risk management is the process of managing risks or avoiding risks during project development. While project management is important for a project’s success, project risk management is equally crucial to account for unforeseen circumstances.

In simple words, project risk management is the process of evaluating, identifying, mitigating, or preventing risks to the project that have the potential to impact the outcome. Project managers are mainly responsible for calculating and overseeing the risk along with solutions to mitigate the impact of that risk.

Project managers should have a clear knowledge and understanding of the objectives. This will help them effectively manage risks and identify possible barriers that could affect the project. They need to make sure the project planning is running smoothly and that all the requirements are met throughout the duration of the project.

Project risk management is all about evaluating the given project objectives and determining potential threats to those objectives and what can be done to address them. The types of scenarios and events that cause the risk are broad and sometimes misunderstood.

Different types of project risk

project team communication begins with organization

Beyond the basics of what “risk” means in project management or project development, project managers should know the different types of risks. This would allow them to know how the risks impact the project’s outcome and how they could be prevented. Various kinds of risks occur during the project development:

  • Cost: The biggest risk affecting project development events is the budget. It can be a great threat, especially in cases where the projects are going over budget. Errors in budget estimation usually generate risk in project management in addition to not planning for external factors in advance.
  • Schedule: The risk of an unprepared schedule, like events that cause delay, can increase problems in project management. The postponement of projects can be due to many internal and external factors and is another reason for scheduling issues.
  • Performance: Another major reason which can be a potential threat to the project is the incompetence of the team members or the project manager. Their bad performance can really risk the project and create a barrier to producing results.

The types of risks or occurrences can vary, depending on the details of the project. Once the project managers identify the category of risk, the next step is to address the risk or issues that can hamper the project. Let’s check out the tips on how to respond to and manage project risk.

Tips to reduce or prevent risk in project management

Although it’s impossible to eliminate risk completely, there are a few things one can do to avoid it. Here are a few tips which can help you reduce project management risks.

  • Keep the risk register up to date: The risk register in project management can either be a combination of a risk management plan or a separate document. It should contain all the possible risk events and scenarios that can hamper the project. Use the register to keep track of what risks occurred, how you addressed them, and what risks you couldn’t find a solution to. This will help you have a better risk management experience and help you in the next project development.
  • Understand the risk event: Another most important thing in risk management in project management is doing the risk analysis and having in-depth knowledge of it. The common mistake people commit to looking out for possible outcomes and not understanding the risk itself. For example, people sometimes tend to think “missing the deadline” is a risk, but rather it is an impact. They should remember the factor that caused them to miss the deadline instead of what should be done to avoid delay.
  • Be proactive instead of reactive: One of the most common mistakes project managers make is to be reactive to risk management instead of being proactive. You might react quickly if anything unplanned happens during the project management. That’s when you are supposed to step back and look at your project through a proactive lens. Investing time in the early stage of risk management and fully analyzing every possible risk can reduce the occurrence of unplanned events.


Implementing and executing a risk management plan for a project can prepare your team for unplanned events. Preventing the risk in project management improves the project’s credibility and helps you achieve business goals. So, make sure you consider the information in this article and facilitate effective project management to mitigate losses and drive better results with minimal effort. 

Cover image by ijeab on Freepik

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