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Important Roles of Risk Registers for Successful Project Management

Question

Task: A discussion on importance and uses of Risk Register in a project with the help of an example.

Answer

Introduction
Risk register as the name suggests refers to registering the risks identified. The register is used in a project or in an organization to identify the risks involved. Risk register is also sometimes called as risk log; it is a tool to manage the risks which has been identified at the initial stage or in between a project life cycle. It can be presented in a table format or through a scatter plot. It helps in managing the risks in an effective and efficient manner. The register also helps in prioritizing the risks in terms of its appearance and its gravity in a given project. The present project risk management assignment help will include a thorough discussion on the risk register with the help of an example. The pros and cons of using a risk register have been explained through an example. The drawbacks have been addressed in the form of an updated risk register.

Risk Register n project

What is the purpose and need of a risk register?
The purpose of a risk register table is to write down the issues or concerns that may cause a hurdle in the completion of a project. It not helps in identifying the risks but it also helps a particular organization involved in the project to address and minimize the risks in the form of different strategies (O’Har, Senesi and Molenaar, 2017). The first activity involved in maintaining the register is the identification of the risks. An organization is involved in different projects so identifying risks may be difficult but when an organization is into similar projects then identifying the risks can be comparatively easier. The past records can help in identifying the risks. Some of the risks can be identified basis the market conditions, internal staffing, individual issues or issues related to weather conditions.

When all the risks have been identified it is necessary to check whether the risk actually exists or not. If the risk exists then an action plan needs to be set up in order to address those risks. The risk register table can be maintained in the form of a spreadsheet or through project management software which helps in tracking and maintaining the risks (O’Har, Senesi and Molenaar, 2017). Maintaining a risk register matrix helps in monitoring the risk from the time of its identification till it is resolved. It helps in analyzing the effect of the risk on the project, the person who identified the risk, etc. The risk register matrix helps in resolving the risks by the utilization of different resources. Once the risk has been mitigated the resources can be stopped from being used.

What are the characteristics of a risk register?

  • Description and consequence of all the risk
  • Factors which can influence the likelihood of the risk which can impact the project (Basu, 2017)
  • Gradation of the risks in the form low, medium, high and extreme
  • Accepting the risk
  • Plan of action to mitigate the risk
  • Key risk indicator and reporting further

Description of risk register

  • Identification of the risk, including the description of the risk along with a risk id (if any)
  • Cause and effect of risk on the project
  • Mentioning the time and cost for analyzing the risk
  • Mentioning about the likelihood and severity of the risk
  • Mitigation and controlling the risk
  • Monitoring the risk

Identification and tracking of risk
It is very evident that risks do exist in a project and its identification and tracking is required. There are different parts of risk tracking system which will be discussed below:

  • Identification: Every team member is to be updated about the potential risks. A project and its different parts are handled by the team member’s basis their experience so they should be in a position to identify the risks that may occur in near future (Thompson, 2017). Speaking with all the stakeholders is also required in order to know their concerns. The complexity of a project decides the size of a risk register.
  • Description: After the risk has been identified, it must be described. The description should be thorough and should highlight only the essential facts. Vagueness in the description will lead to uncertainty of its complexity. In case the risk deals with weather then it should not be simply stated that weather is a risk rather the weather risk should relate to the project for e.g. ‘Rainy season can lead to delay in shipping of raw materials’.
  • Impact: Judging the impact of a risk is an important element of the risk register. Impact here means anything and everything that can be affected on the occurrence of a particular risk (Thompson, 2017). A strategy needs to be implemented in order to deal with all the impacts. In case a layoff is required then the parts of the project that will be affected needs to be identified.
  • Respond: Response to any risk identified must be strong and specific. Prior research needs to be conducted in order to take a correct action when the risk comes up. Implementation strategies and plans should be formulated.
  • Priority: Every risk has a different impact and they should be prioritized basis its impact. The risks which can highly affect the project need to be addressed first and the risks which has no or less effect on the project needs to be ignored or addressed later on (Basu, 2017).
  • level of risk register

    Source: (Basu, 2017)

  • The level of risk should be identified at this stage in the form of high, medium or low. The process will help in dividing the emphasis on different risks based upon their density.
  • Ownership: It is not feasible to appoint a single person to look after all the risks so it is necessary to appoint different persons to look after the risks. In case a single person is looking at all the risks then there is a possibility of missing any risk.
  • Notes: Making notes of all the risks encountered and the steps taken to addresses the risk is also an important part of the risk register.

How to create a risk register for a project?
A risk register can be downloaded from the internet or it can be created through project management software. In case the risk register is being prepared through project management software then it can be installed in everybody’s computer system so that every risk being entered is known to all (Uzulans, 2016). A spreadsheet can also be used to write down all the risks with its status and its level of impact. But every time you are amending the sheet, you need to save it and update the revised one so it’s better to register the risk through project management software.

Risk Identification

Qualitative rating

Risk response

Risk

Risk category

Probability

Impact

Risk score

Risk ranking

Risk response

Trigger

Risk owner

Retrenchment

Project risk

Low

High

-

-

Recruitment of new employees

Workplace disputes and payment related concerns

Project manager

Change in the raw material prices

Business risk

Medium

High

-

-

Controlling the cost in order to maintain the balance

Change in the prices based on government policies

Project manager

The risk register developed above will help the risk facilitator in identifying and categorizing different types of risk faced by a project during its lifetime. The register mentions the likelihood of the risk occurrence and the impact that the risk may cause on the project (Uzulans, 2016).

Furthermore, risk ranking and risk score are structured to provide a quantitative value of the identified risks. Through trigger the symptoms have been identified, through risk response the actions which needs to be taken has been mentioned and through risk owner the person responsible to mitigate the risk has been highlighted. The table is beneficial in order to have all the information’s related to a risk at one place. But the above table is unable to provide information about the quantitative risks. The above data may be limited basis the project manager and the risk facilitator’s experience. The drawbacks highlighted with regards to the previous risk register can be addressed basis the revised risk register which has been prepared taking into account both quantitative and qualitative risks. However, a contingency plan is not included in the above selected risk register model, in the event if the measures considered to be controlling the risk fails.

Risk No.

Date identified

Risk description

Owner

Triggers

Probability

Impact

Risk rating

Control measures

Contingency plan

Mitigation techniques

1

6/6/2017

Retrenchment

Project manager

Unsatisfied with the work

Low

High

-

Back-up of experienced employees

Hiring experienced people from outside

Mitigate

2

21/6/2017

Change in the raw material prices

Project manager/ procurement officer

Market price, change in government policies, economic boon

Medium

High

-

Controlling the cost

Keeping a check on supply process

Transfer

Using the risk register: The below points will help a person while dealing with a risk register:

  • Keeping it handy: It is not required to fill the register at the time of identifying the risk rather the register is to be filled as soon as a new project is assigned to a project manager. A project manager should always be able to identify the risk at any point of time. Risks should be registered at the time of initiating a project as well as during the time of sales.
  • Risk register to be in a draft state: Every risk that can be encountered in a project needs to be mentioned on the risk register table. The refinement of the risk can be done later. The risk register matrix will be updated as per the analysis provided by the risk facilitators (Sadgrove, 2016). The risk register table needs to be reviewed by the stakeholders in order to take their feedback. They need to be informed about the changes that are being made in the risk register table.
  • Maintaining a difference between identification and research: Every new risk being included in the risk register needs to have a description. The analysis of the added risk can be done later. It is not necessary to fill all the columns of the risk register for a particular risk. The titles of the risk can be mentioned later on when you have enough time. Filing the details in a risk register must be in the presence of all the project members so that different point of views can be considered.
  • Reasonable description of the risk: If a risk register is being handled by a single person then it is not necessary to describe all the headings. Selected information can be included. Entering details in a risk register is time consuming so being reasonable and precise is the best option.
  • Taking help: In order to be quick in filling the risk register, the task needs to be delegated to all the members of the project or to the stakeholders. Each and every risk has to be handled by a particular person. It is not necessary for a project manager to have a specific knowledge about all types of risks involved in a project. There are subject matter experts who can be of a great help in analyzing the risks. There may be some members who will be able to handle the register in a better manner with a better analysis and a better plan of action.
  • Sharing the activity with the team: It is necessary to engage the team with different risk management activities. The project manager can update them on how to approach a risk instead of assuming that the team is aware about all the activities.
  • Refining the risk register prior to the final project management plan: It is a good technique to refine and analyze the risk register prior to final project management plan (Muriana and Vizzini, 2017). The risk analysis will be conducted when all the other factors have been taken into account like allocation of budget, making plans for HR, maintaining the quality standards, etc.
  • Regular review: The risk register needs to be reviewed time and again. The project manager can set reminders for reviewing the register at different intervals. If a risk facilitator asks for a change in the identified risk, check all the risks mentioned on the risk register table. The risk register matrix needs to be checked while starting and finishing a work. In case of occurrence of a risk, the register should be checked. When the response plan for a particular risk is inefficient and when a risk has been successfully mitigated.
  • Updating the risk register: Managing the risk is a continuous affair and it does not end with planning. There are some risks which change over the time due some other factors which may arise due to change requests, new risks, etc. So risks needs to be monitored during the entire project cycle.
  • Making it neat and tidy: Risk register can add value to a project when all the risks mentioned in the register are fully understood by the people involved in maintain the register (Muriana and Vizzini, 2017). It is necessary to manage the expectations of all the people. So communication related to risk register should be easy and clear.

Conclusion
It can be concluded that creating a risk register is an important part of a project life cycle. It helps in identifying and managing the risks in a proactive manner. Maintaining a risk register will lower the probability of risks becoming an issue and leading to delay or project failure. There are different forms of maintaining a risk register like in the form of spreadsheet, project management software, etc.

References
Basu, S. (2017) Plant hazard analysis and safety instrumentation systems. Science Direct. Retrieved from: https://doi.org/10.1016/C2015-0-00253-2

Muriana, C and Vizzini, G. (2017) Project risk management: A deterministic quantitative technique for assessment and mitigation. International Journal of Project Management, 35 (3), pp. 320-340.

O’Har, J.P., Senesi, C.W and Molenaar, K.R. (2017) Development of a risk register spreadsheet Tool for Enterprise- and Program-Level Risk Management. Sage Journals, 2604(1), pp. 19-27.

Thompson E.C. (2017) Refreshing the Risk Register. In: Building a HIPAA-Compliant Cybersecurity Program. Apress, Berkeley, CA.

Uzulans, J. (2016) Project risk register analysis based on the theoretical analysis of project management notion of risk. Economic and business. Retrieved from: https://www.degruyter.com/downloadpdf/j/eb.2016.29.issue-1/eb-2016-0020/eb-2016-0020.pdf


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