The Risk Management Process – A Practical Technique for Identifying Risks

Risk management is one of the most fascinating processes that you encounter if you manage projects, organizations or strategies. Fascinating, because the identification and assessment of risk is a process that is both creative and systematic, using the right and left side of your brain.

You engage your right brain with creative, intuitive energy where you anticipate, uncover, and discover your potential risks. It's your opportunity to do some divergent thinking. You are not constrained to think in a certain way or to fit your ideas into a pre-set framework. Studies show that our capacity for divergent thinking reduces significantly as we get older, so consider it an opportunity to exercise those neurons that haven't had a workout any time recently.

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But to be effective, you need to bring the left side of the brain into play as well. This occurs when you categorize risks in a logical, rational, and patterned way, so that you can assess their impacts and how you should respond to them.

For now, let's look at a practical risk management technique that helps get those brain neurons firing and works well for identifying risks. Here are the four steps:

Step 1: Get the team together. Most project teams are blended, with a combination of more senior and experienced team members, who mine their historic data banks to identify project risks; and the new and less experienced members who look at project risks with fresh eyes.

Your team members are also likely to be a mixture of personality types across the full introversion-extroversion spectrum. Your challenge is to bring together complementary viewpoints and diversity, to yield the richness of project risks that you want to identify.