Positive Risk Strategies

Posted on April 1, 2009 by


For a project manager, a risk is an uncertain event. This potential event could be either desired (positive) or undesired (negative). A positive risk may be referred to as an opportunity, and a negative risk may be referred to as a threat. There are three unique strategies used for handling positive risk (exploit, share, and enhance), and one strategy that can be used for either positive or negative risk (accept). These are described as a tool and technique of the fourth edition PMBOK®’s Plan Risk Responses process. Here are some examples involving Katy, who is hoping that the positive risk event of “cookies being available this afternoon” occurs.

Exploit means that the potential positive event is made to occur. Katy drives to a grocery store and buys a box of chocolate chip cookies.

Share means that the opportunity is shared with a third party for the benefit of both. Katy has a friend who makes delicious oatmeal raisin cookies. Katy offers to buy the ingredients if her friend will bake a batch that they can share.

Enhance means that the probability and positive impact of the opportunity is increased. Katy sends a text message to her mother that reads “I wish someone cared enough to bring me cookies.”

Accept means that plans are not changed due to the risk, but if the opportunity does occur, it will be accepted. Katy hopes that because people know she is addicted to cookies, someone will think of her and give her some. She won’t ask anyone to get her some though.