Skip to content

Time to rethink and review the yearly project risk register

Added to your CPD log

View or edit this activity in your CPD log.

Go to My CPD
Only APM members have access to CPD features Become a member Already added to CPD log

View or edit this activity in your CPD log.

Go to My CPD
Added to your Saved Content Go to my Saved Content

2023 is here …time to seize new opportunities … 

As we think about our New Year resolutions, attitudes, habits, and behaviours should be always on the list.

Would this be the best time for new ideas, new ways of thinking, ultimately evolving. So, what about re-evaluating how risks are managed on your project?

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. This witticism is one that we all quote regularly. The words are usually credited to the acclaimed genius Albert Einstein. What do we and our project team do about it?

Why do we think that each year our business or project should follow the same rules?

Should whatever happens make us consider adapting or changing our practices?

Start again and think what could and might happen after any changes are made, consider where updates are needed. This is your chance to find and resolve earlier issues and to mitigate or eliminate risks.

While getting back to business on your projects, this is the best time to review your risk register.

How could we think differently and refresh the register to better deliver the project.

Here are few questions you may ask the project managers, executives, and other stakeholders:

  1. Are the risks still aligning with the objectives?
  2. Would the probability of risk occurrence still be the same?
  3. Are there any external events which have impacted your business project?
  4. Is progress on activities reflected in the risk event?
  5. Are the constraints and risks still relevant?
  6. Was this phase the same one spoken about at the end of previous years? 

End of year reviews are probably the best time to reflect on what went well, what didn’t go so well and where we can improve. So, when considering risk management, are we following the same old paths?

Could we suggest you start the new year with a fresh pair of eyes. Run through your risks. Is the risk metalanguage adequate? Have the cost estimates been updated? Is your risk model still relevant to the project phase?

These suggestions could be part of a solution and assist in providing some answers to unspoken questions that may have been missed during the planning phase or throughout the project lifecycle. In the current times, when uncertainty is all around us, would it make sense to try new ideas?

Apply the 10th man rule: when nine individuals with the same information arrive at the same conclusion, it is the duty of the 10th men to disagree. No matter how improbable it is, it is the duty of the 10th person to raise the possibility that the other nine individuals are wrong.

Your mission: find the devil’s advocate. Find individuals who will argue against widely accepted or dominant viewpoints. Find the antagonist who will expose the weaknesses of the risks on your register. With experience, this can be beneficial in generating contrary viewpoints and motivate the team to realise their barriers and limitations. This technique helps to mitigate cognitive biases and overcome blinkered reasoning.

Wherever the year 2023 takes us, let’s make it our best year yet.

Estelle Detrembleur and Gareth Pugsley
APM Risk SIG Co Chair and Committee Member


Join the conversation!

Log in to post a comment, or create an account if you don't have one already.