According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), 48 percent of organizations reported growth in their project management maturity within the last 12 months. However, in the same survey, organizations reported 35 percent of projects failed due to lost budget, 34 percent experienced scope creep and 12 percent of projects were ultimately deemed failures (PMI Pulse of the Profession 2021). Risk assessments implemented into the project management process may decrease the prevalence of undefined risks occurring that can result in some of these negative project outcomes.
Risk assessment best practices discussed in this article can be leveraged from project to project, but as a project manager, it is important that you perform due diligence on your sponsoring organization’s risk management framework to better understand the risk appetite, reporting rigor and monitoring processes that will govern your project. For most projects, stakeholders will establish a preliminary listing of risks during the planning phase. However, often projects lack the continuous identification of emerging risks that may arise throughout the project lifecycle and the reassessment of initial risks for continued relevance, especially as the project evolves. Furthermore, the initial listing of risks often tends to be vaguely defined and not robustly monitored throughout the project lifecycle.
The purpose of risk assessments is to address risks proactively by empowering project managers to act as a central aggregation and reporting point to communicate the status of risks that may impact project delivery timelines and/or quality.