Identify Risks Process

Posted on April 2, 2009 by


Identify Risks is one of the 42 project management processes described in the fourth edition PMBOK®. It’s one of the six Risk knowledge area processes, and one of the twenty Planning processes. The purpose of this process is to document the risks along with their characteristics in the Risk Register that may affect the project. With the many inputs and tools to this process, there is only one output—the risk register—which is then updated in subsequent processes. The Risk Management Plan (output of the Plan Risk Management process) is a key input because it provides guidance as to how all the other risk processes are to be performed. Additionally, a number of project plans and other documents are used to uncover and identify risks that should be incorporated in the Risk Register, which is called Documentation Reviews. Simply having the team think about what risks could occur is covered by the tool of Information Gathering Techniques, and if thinking specifically about challenging the project’s assumptions, it’s called Assumptions Analysis. Tools to guide this thinking in a more structured way include SWOT Analysis and Diagramming Techniques. Using historical information such as the risks from similar, past projects is Checklist Analysis. Altogether, these tools simply aid the team in forming the list of risks to be placed on the Risk Register for further analysis and planning in later processes. For more on this topic, please see the earlier posting of Risk Register (posted March 27, 2009).