All projects involve risk. According to Heldman, (2011, p. 236) not all risks present negative consequences; some risks can present opportunities leading to favorable project results. PMI (2008, pp. 275-276) states that project risk is always in the future and to be successful, organizations should be committed to address risk management proactively and throughout the project lifecycle. The process of performing risk management increases the probability of project success within the defined project constraints by providing the opportunity to benefit from positive risk events also called opportunities. According to PMI (2008, p. 273) there are six project management processes that project managers can use to increase the probability and impact of positive events, and to decrease the probability and impact of negative events. The six processes are important to project risk management and should be conducted in the order specified per PMI (2008, p. 273). Risk identification is the second step in the process and is one of the critical aspects of risk management; it is also the focus of this paper. According to PMI, (2008, p. 282) identification of risks is an iterative process because as the project progresses, risks evolve, and new risks may become known. Due to the complexity of risk management, specifically in large projects or projects in which the team has little experience, risk identification is best when performed as a collaborative process between the project team and other stakeholders. The risk management team has many risk identification methods and tools available to them that will be discussed in this document.
Risk Management Team
To ensure a comprehensive assessment of risks, project managers should involve the support and input of the project team and stakeholders; the cumulative contribution of these individuals forms the risk management team. Risk management team members and individual participation levels are unique to each project and can include the project manager, project team members, end users, other project managers, stakeholders, and risk management experts (PMI, 2008, p. 282) as well as customers, sponsors, subcontractors, and vendors as stated by Gray & Larson (2006, p. 210). During risk identification processes, it is important that the risk management team functions in a positive environment that encourages participants to keep an open mind to help generate a comprehensive list of risks (Gray & Larson, 2006, p. 209). Also during risk identification processes, the risk management team should focus its effort on developing a thorough list of risks rather than encouraging analytical and logistical risk detailed discussions; risk analysis is conducted at a later time during the qualitative assessment process which focuses on impact and probability determination as referenced by Heldman (2011, p. 253).