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Demystifying Project Risk Management: Practical Tips for Practitioners

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Projects are risky and risk management is an integral part of managing projects. But for many projects, managing risk is a chore and it doesn’t seem to help much. In this session, David Hillson tackled some important aspects of risk management that are often overlooked or poorly understood, providing practical tips to make it work on your project. This event was held on 18 April 2023.

All projects are risky, and risk management is an important part of managing projects. But despite the existence of risk standards, guidelines, processes, tools and techniques, many project practitioners aren’t happy with the way they manage risk on their projects. It often seems to be a routine activity that has to be done, without really helping much.

In this practical session, Dr David Hillson (the Risk Doctor) tackled some of the important aspects of risk management that are not well understood, and consequently are not done well, drawing on his 35 years of risk management experience and expertise. These included answering the following questions:

  • How much risk management do I need to do? Small projects need a simpler risk process, whereas larger complex projects demand something more robust. How can I scale the risk process to meet the risk challenge of my particular project?
  • Do I have to deal with upside risk? Best-practice risk management covers both threats and opportunities in an integrated process. But why and how?
  • How much risk is too much risk? We usually prioritise risks based on their probability and impact, with scales ranging from High to Low. But how high is High for my project? Who decides, and how?
  • How do I keep my view of risk up to date? Risk exposure changes throughout the project, and we need to stay on top of it. Do I need to repeat the whole process every time, or is there a better way?
  • When can I stop managing risk on my project? Many risk processes are presented as never-ending cycles. What happens when the project ends?

These and other questions were addressed with proven practical tips and techniques, taken from David’s award-winning ATOM methodology. Attendees also had the chance to raise their own challenges and questions for rapid diagnosis and treatment by the Risk Doctor!

David has very kindly allowed his presentation material to be made available for your reference. Please find the slides on slideshare and also embedded below. 

Dr David Hillson HonFAPM, PMI Fellow, The Risk Doctor, The Risk Doctor Partnership

Dr David Hillson, The Risk Doctor, is a thought-leader and expert practitioner who speaks and writes widely on risk management. David has a well-deserved reputation as an excellent speaker on risk, blending thought-leadership with practical application, presented in an accessible style that combines clarity with humour.

In his 35-year consulting career, David has advised major organisations, governments and charities in sixty countries on how to create value from risk, and his wisdom and insights are in high demand. David has received many awards for his ground-breaking work in risk management, including Honorary Fellowship of APM, and he has developed significant innovations that are now widely accepted as best practice.

This event is suitable for professionals with any level of experience.

Previous events and webinars can be viewed on the APM Slideshare and YouTube channels

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APM Body of Knowledge 7th edition reference

Section Description
Continuing professional development (CPD)
Risk Identification
Risk Analysis 

Webinar resources


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