Chapter 11. Project risk management: Planning for the unknown

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Even the most carefully planned project can run into trouble. No matter how well you plan, your project can always run into unexpected problems. Team members get sick or quit, resources that you were depending on turn out to be unavailable—even the weather can throw you for a loop. So does that mean that you’re helpless against unknown problems? No! You can use risk planning to identify potential problems that could cause trouble for your project, analyze how likely they’ll be to occur, take action to prevent the risks you can avoid, and minimize the ones that you can’t.

What’s a risk?

There are no guarantees on any project! Even the simplest activity can run into unexpected problems. Any time there’s anything that might occur on your project and change the outcome of a project activity, we call that a risk. A risk can be an event (like a fire), or it can be a condition (like an important part being unavailable). Either way, it’s something that may or may not happen... but if it does, then it will force you to change the way you and your team will work on the project.

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A risk is any uncertain event or condition that might affect your project.

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