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Topics: Agile, IT Project Management
Determine The Risk Profile For Project

Today I was asked a question from one of my friends who is a project manager, which I see it is quite a popular issue in project management of small-medium scale team. Need different points of view from the experts here. Thank you.

Question: " Determine the risk profile for a project which is planned to be implemented in multi-phases where the schedule for each phase are overlapping other."
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You can follow the PMBOK Risk management process

Plan risk Management
Identify Risks
Perform Qualitative Risk Assessment
Perform Quantitative Risk Assessment
Plan risk responses
Implement Risk responses
Monitor Risk Responses

In other words , you need to have a Risk Register for the project and manage it on an ongoing basis.

Risk profiling frameworks are suited here. My suggestion - Invest in procuring one.

Bitish -

When I hear the term risk profile, it usually refers to something which is determined fairly early in the life of the project or even before the project commences and might be an input into the project selection process.

At this point, the sponsor and any identified leads wouldn't have a deep understanding of the scope and solution approach, so a common approach is using a questionnaire of some type with a number of questions focusing on different areas of risk and/or complexity (e.g. How many stakeholders with differing viewpoints are involved?).


Risk management is one of my favorite topics to ramble about but I'll try to be brief...

It looks like you have 2 questions embedded as 1:
- Creating a risk profile in general
- Specific risks for the overlapping phases

When I think risk profile, I think "profile" not "portrait". To me that is a one page view of your whole project with all the risks together. The details can be provided in addition to the simple executive summary, but the summary is very valuable in assessing the project as a whole. I like to use a traditional 5x5 consequence vs. probability matrix showing all the various risks on the same grid. That shows both quantity and the relative importance of all risks together. You may also add all your handling plans in addition to that, turning a risk matrix into an actual risk cube.

For smallish projects with overlapping phases, there are many potential risks varying widely by project domain. In general however, you are planning the next phase before you have completed the last phase introducing a new risk: The output of your current phase can differ from your expectations and you have to rework the plan for your next phase. Essentially you are then throwing away completed work and starting back multiple steps adding cost and flow. Just in Time practices can mitigate that, but that also introduces another risk, in that you now you are necessarily tied closely to the critical path in order to know when JiT is, and always risk falling off the critical path.

In my actual work place, before a project is decided to start, one of the deliverables in our governance process is to calculate the tier of the project. It is a simple and automated checklist. Tier of project depends on risk and risk depends on 10 main factors in our case. Regarding to the tier strategy and deliverables are defined.

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