How to Identify and Manage Critical Project Risks

Jan 24, 2019

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Optimizing Your Risk Management Effort

One ongoing project management debate concerns whether risks can really be “managed” at all.  Assuming that project business risk can be managed, should it be, and if so, when? 

In this webcast you’ll discover ways to understand when it’s a good idea to manage a risk and when it may not be.

It’s obvious that doing something about a risk that actually occurs makes sense.

Doing nothing for a risk that does not happen is also sensible (or perhaps just lucky).  However, some risk management we undertake will ultimately prove to be unnecessary and some risks we choose to accept may lead to disaster. 

As with any analysis, errors in risk assessment are of two types: “Type 1,” (false positive) errors, and “Type 2,” (false negative) errors.  In the context of project risk management, Type 1 errors are the risks we choose to manage unnecessarily.  Type 2 errors are the risks we ignore that then happen. 

Project managers must use qualitative and quantitative assessment techniques to rank order risks, and then work out responses to deal with the ones that warrant the effort.

To improve the effectiveness of your efforts, you must carefully consider each identified project risk in terms of history and impact, and particularly in consideration with your tolerance for consequences. 

  • How to identify key criteria to use in determining which risks to manage
  • Tips for determining when it is prudent to manage what appear to be mid-range severity risks
  • Advice for justifying project schedule and budget reserves for use in dealing with risks lacking explicit risk responses


Tom Kendrick, PMP, is Program Director for the University of California Berkeley Extension Project Management curriculum.  He is author of Identifying and Managing Project Risk, Project Management Tool Kit, and 101 Project Management Problems and How to Solve Them. He regularly conducts classes and presentations on program, project, and risk management for conferences, associations, and universities.  He also spent over 20 years with Hewlett Packard in its Project Management Initiative and has almost 40 years of worldwide PM experience, including work for Visa, DuPont, General Electric, and as an independent consultant.