Risk Identification Defined and The Risk Categories
By Joseph Phillips
Initial risk identification may take place over lunch for smaller projects, or over a series of meetings for larger projects. The goal of risk identification is—no big surprise—to identify any potential risk. Stress the word any. Anything goes in risk identification: weather, asteroids, vendors, lack of experience, technical challenges, and so on. Technically, you’ll encounter four precise categories of risk during risk identification:
- Technical, quality, or performance risks. These risks are things like working with new technology, unrealistic expectations from stakeholders, and technological advances during your project (think service packs, new versions, faster hardware).
- Organizational risks. Organizational risks are things like inconsistent goals; changing priorities on time, cost, and scope; team member allocation; and general work mayhem.
- External risks. These risks are anything outside of your project, such as vendors, new laws that affect your projects, labor issues (think labor unions), organizational buyouts, and market conditions.
- Project management risks. Yes, you may be a risk. Your inexperience, poor allocation of time and resources, lack of leadership, poor execution of project management processes: All may contribute to your project’s failure. But if you acknowledge these risks before they actually happen, you can take measures to prevent the risks from affecting the project’s success.
Joseph Phillips is the author of five books on project management and is a, PMI Project Management Professional, a CompTIA certified Project Professional, and a Certified Technical Trainer. For more information about Project Management Training, please visit Project Seminars.