WHAT IS A RISK MANAGEMENT PLAN? Steps To The Planning Process

what is a risk management plan

Planning for what might go wrong if x happens and planning y as a reaction for when something does, in fact, go wrong are the cornerstones of risk management.
It is critical for your business to evolve in order to succeed, and there are always methods to improve and extend your business. We’ve learned to refer to these short-term undertakings with specific deliverables as “projects.” Adopting a risk-based approach to new initiatives entails considering the effects of any new project on all other areas of your company. The best place to begin is by developing a risk management plan to guide your team and organization throughout the project.
This post will explain what a risk management plan is, describe the aim of the plan, clarify what should be included, and provide examples of everything along the route.

What is Risk Management?

Every organization is at risk. Risk management is how we deal with such risks—risk response planning for a wide range of unpredictable occurrences, from natural catastrophes to cybersecurity threats.

In addition to ensuring business continuity and profitability, risk management is prudent. Most laws, regulations, and industry compliance frameworks require verification of risk assessments and other procedures to avert data breaches and preserve sensitive information.
Risk management does not eliminate all risks. Instead, it evaluates the appropriate course of action to optimize the cost-benefit connection between risk reduction and the use of business resources.

What is a Risk Management Plan?

How the risk management procedure for your project will be carried out is specified in the risk management plan. This comprises the funding, tools, and procedures that will be used for risk identification, assessment, mitigation, and monitoring.

What is Included In a Risk Management Plan?

A risk management plan often includes:

  • Methodology: Specify the tools and methodologies to be utilized in risk management tasks such as risk assessment, risk analysis, and risk mitigation measures.
  • Risk Register: A risk register is a chart in which you can document all of your project’s risk identification information.
  • Risk Breakdown Structure: This is a chart that identifies risk categories and the hierarchical structure of project hazards.
  • Risk Assessment Matrix: A risk assessment matrix allows you to analyze the likelihood and impact of project risks in order to prioritize them.
  • Risk Response Plan: A risk response plan is a project management document that describes the risk mitigation techniques that will be used to manage the risks associated with your project. As risk owners, the members of the risk management team have obligations. They must monitor project risks and oversee risk response procedures.
  • Funding: Include a section in which you identify the cash needed to carry out your risk management actions.
  • Timing: Add a section that defines the timetable for risk management actions.

What is the Goal of a Risk Management Plan?

The aim of a risk management plan is to assist you in identifying, evaluating, and planning for potential risks that may develop during the project management process. Consider it a design that will guide you through every stage of development, including potential locations where demolition may be required, external contractors may be employed, or the budget may be strained.

Steps To the Risk Management Plan Processes

There are various steps to developing a risk management plan. It is critical to complete all of the steps in the correct order. The risk management planning process will vary depending on the industry and the type of project. Yet, the barebones skeleton stays consistent across all applications. A project risk management plan can serve as a template by following the stages we’ve outlined:

#1. Identification

The first stage in any risk management plan is to identify all potential risk events that could harm the project’s lifetime. So, take a step back, deconstruct the plan, and individually examine each component to ensure that you and your stakeholders are aware of every single risk. You can record these concerns in a risk register and discuss the next measures with everyone involved.

#2. Assessment

The next stage is to assess the qualitative and quantitative effects of the identified risk. You must evaluate each risk based on various characteristics, including likelihood, severity, impact areas, impact cost, and effect timing. These aspects of the risk register make up the risk assessment matrix, which will assist you in determining the overall priority and severity of each prospective risk event.

#3. Reaction Strategy

Once potential risks have been identified and evaluated, you may begin drafting a reaction plan to reduce negative project outcomes. Work with top-level executives and the risk management team to balance the organization’s risk appetite and ensure that risk exposure does not exceed acceptable bounds.

Depending on individual assessment results, you can opt to prevent, transfer, minimize, accept, or defer the risk incident; nevertheless, the final choice will always be with the project manager.

1. Risk Responsibilities

Define clearly all roles and risk duties for a specific project, including identification, registration, assessment, review, approval, monitoring, and contingency planning. Everyone must understand what triggers are and what they must do to implement risk mitigation measures. A clearly established hierarchy eliminates misunderstanding and allows your team to spring into action as soon as feasible.

2. Mitigation

Risk mitigation is a two-step process: execute the risk response plan you prepared before to reduce the impact of the risk occurrence and prepare a contingency plan.

Adopting a mitigation strategy may not always go as smoothly as you would like. But, when you implement the plan, make sure to identify dependencies, failure points, and feasible alternatives.
A critical component of risk mitigation is developing a backup plan or contingency plan in case the primary risk response plan fails. The following components make up a practical contingency plan:

  • Provide an easily available roadmap of risk mitigation mechanisms and the procedures needed to deploy them.
  • Specify what resources the plan will require to successfully execute the contingency plan, allowing the risk management team to assess its cost-effectiveness in the current situation.
  • Establish roles and duties within the contingency plan and, if necessary, investigate escalation mechanisms.
  • Don’t forget to update and review your risk response plan on a regular basis.

#4. Regulating and Monitoring

No matter how good your project risk management plan is, it won’t stay forever. Constant monitoring enables you to establish a proactive strategy for efficiency and peak performance rather than a reactive one. Monitor your risk remediation programs and mitigation procedures in real-time, and gather KPIs to spot risk patterns and performance declines.

Continuous monitoring warns key stakeholders quickly if there is a noticeable decline in good outcomes. If a specific control fails, you can activate the relevant contingency plan as a fail-safe.

#5. Reporting

It is the most effective approach for determining whether the components are responding effectively to trigger events and whether there is a disconnect between the risk identification, assessment, and mitigation procedures. It also identifies any new risks that emerge during the project’s lifecycle, as well as any changes in risk factors.

The project manager and stakeholders require granular information in order to assess and reassess the project’s viability, timing, and profitability. Frequent reports guarantee that you don’t lose sight of the big picture and that the risk management plan doesn’t jeopardize the project’s success.

Risk Management Plan Example

A thorough project risk management plan template provides the project team with consistent methods and useful tools to ensure a successful project. Even after learning what you’ve learned so far, creating a risk management plan from the beginning can seem overwhelming. As a result, we’ve compiled a few sample risk management plans for your consideration. We hope these samples will be sufficient to get you started:

#1. Department of Finance and Administration, Tennessee

This sample risk management plan was created by the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration to help firms design their own. The template includes sections for defining your risk approach, roles and duties, and planning methods. You can also create a risk assessment matrix to help with risk prioritizing and remediation.

#2. Shire of Northam, Australia

The Shire of Northam in Australia created this risk management plan example to be used solely as a guide. It is modeled after a risk management plan for an outside project. The included components, including the identification, assessment, mitigation, and reporting sections, can be edited and updated as they pertain to your project. It also includes a template for creating a risk registry, an action plan table, and dates for mitigation.

#3. Department of Information Technology (DoIT), Maryland

For firms intending to adopt an IT system, the DoIT prepared this risk management business plan example. Throughout the system development life cycle, it prepares for risk events (SDLC). Roles, risk categories, definitions, and reporting mechanisms can all be updated as needed. Fill out the risk register as you go through the risk management planning steps, and then process it through the relevant channels.

Best Practices For a Risk Management Plan

Project risk management plans are frequently ongoing, complicated, and all-encompassing. There are numerous potential pitfalls.
Consider the following recommended practices to help your risk management team develop a culture of risk resilience and discipline:

#1. Communication

Communication is one of the most important aspects of a risk management plan. Create open lines of communication between stakeholders, top executives, and the risk management team to keep everyone informed of new developments. Work with key stakeholders from project conception to conclusion to ensure there is no disconnect between the organization’s vision and the actual outcome.

#2. Maintain Your Budget and Timeline

Depending on the size and breadth of the project, a risk management plan may appear pricey. If you are unclear of any time or budget limits, the first order of business is to gather, update, and review any relevant information in your governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) or enterprise risk management (ERM) software. Check to verify if your project risk management plan aligns with your risk management framework.
Changing the timeframe on a regular basis or accommodating new adjustments can have an impact on the project’s result.

#3. Create a Workplace Culture That Is Risk-Aware

A risk-aware work culture pays off in the long run. It is implemented from the top down; senior executives must foster a culture of risk resilience, responsibility, and risk consciousness. If supported from the top down, everyone else will quickly share these values and attitudes to establish a proactive approach to risk management in general.

#4. Review and Document Constantly

Methodically describe and define all risks, roles, responsibilities, templates, and controls for the risk management plan. It allows you to audit it whenever you want, undo any changes, and create a clear hierarchy. Regardless of how long the project takes, having a recorded record ensures that it will not suffer as a result of personnel turnover.

Reporting Your Risk Management Plan

If you’re a project manager, you probably have a more comprehensive, bird’s-eye view of the project’s progress than the rest of your team. While they are concerned with accomplishing day-to-day chores in order to achieve a larger effort, you are concerned with the broader picture.

Reports are an excellent approach to presenting the big picture to your project team. Providing facts about your project, as well as everyone’s alignment with your risk management plan, indicates efficacy and strong leadership, and can raise the support of many stakeholders.


The risk management plan is critical to the success of your project. Regardless of your timeframe, this is not something you want to rush. Having said that, getting started is the most difficult aspect. We hope that this guide has provided you with all of the knowledge you require to begin developing your project risk management plan.

What drawbacks or advantages of a risk management plan have you experienced? Please let us know in the comments section below.


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