Preparing risk mitigation strategies

It is important when preparing risk mitigation strategies that you prepare for ANY eventuality.  Project Managers tend to not want to highlight these eventualities, because they feel that the more risks they have the more work for them.

People on project teams tend to view risk management as a way of highlighting what shouldn’t be done.  Isn’t that why you have a risk register and raise risks, early on in your project life?

It should be seen as a way to change how you will do things.  To see and be properly prepared for those things that are likely to cause trouble and create a problem and stop the successful delivery of your project.

For me having these risks highlighted and called out on my risk register shows that I’m on top of what’s happening.  It lets my Sponsor/Business Owner and Project Control Board (PCB) assist with mitigation strategies because the risks are called out in the first place.  It means that everyone on the team can be involved and fully engaged in the risk identification.

I have seen too many projects where there is a risk identification session called at the start of the project, with only a few of the people involved in the project attending.  If you are lucky these sessions call out a hand full only of risks, and they really aren’t the sorts of risks that will truly impact on delivery.  They are usually the higher level risks associated with the more senior managements way of thinking.

Get your project team in a room and have a risk identification session.  Then you will see some of the real risks involved.  The development teams will highlight the sorts of things that will impact delivery.  Testing teams will highlight the items that will be at risk for them.

Then, it’s time to look at what strategies can be put in place IF and WHEN these things eventuate. I have found that by calling out the risks this way at the start of the project, there are usually very few called out during the life of the project.

Whereas if you do it the other way around, calling out few at the start, you will find that the big hitters will come out to surprise you when you least expect it.  And guess what, at that time when they arise, they seriously put your project at risk.

Welcome risks on your risk register early.  You will be glad that you did.



Written by Karen Munro

*Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at