I’ve offered – and provided already to many requestors – my template for a Risk Management Plan. It’s not groundbreaking or even earth-shattering, but there are just some key concepts to include and critical areas to ensure are covered. It’s not absolutely necessary to even have a formalized plan, unless you’re working on a critical government project and it’s required or you’re working with a project staff or customer that is missing the point of managing risk…then it may be necessary to formalize it for them. I recently ran across another outline for a risk management plan and I am sharing it below. If you want my copy/template as well, just send me a note and I’ll email it to you – mine comes as a prepared document and you can just insert your info.
Risk Management Plan
The risk management plan lays down the groundwork for how risk management will be carried out in a project. It serves as guidance for the risk process, its thresholds, and its formats, defining the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in risk management. It is notable that the risk management plan is not a listing of specific risks and is not used to establish the particular strategies for risks, once they are identified.
The risk management plan is shared with project stakeholders to clarify their roles and responsibilities in the risk management process and to identify when specific potential risks are truly of concern to the organization. It also outlines the risk budgeting process, detailing how and when risk contingency funds may be allocated and applied.
The risk management plan consists of basic information about how risk management will be conducted during the project. It does not address specific behaviors associated with specific risks, but instead forms a framework for the rest of the risk management process.
- Risk Process
Risk process may be as simple as two steps (e.g., assessment and response) or as complex as six or seven steps (e.g., planning, identification, qualification, quantification, response development, and response control). The process steps should include clarification on how each of the processes will be carried out and the level of depth of information to be provided for each.
- Risk Responsibilities
Just as the buyer and seller in project environments have different responsibilities for deliverables, so do they have different responsibilities for risks. Those responsibilities should be outlined here. Responsibilities may include information on who will identify risks, as well as who should evaluate them and develop strategies for those that are of the greatest significance.
- Risk Thresholds
Thresholds represent personal and organizational tolerance for risk. They are the definitions of tolerance in terms of budget, schedule, requirements, and other sensitive cultural issues (e.g., politics, media exposure). They are normally expressed as ceilings beyond which the project should not proceed, or as notification points for upper echelons of management.
- Risk Finances
This element of the risk management plan may address both funds set aside for risks within the project (contingency reserve) and funds set aside within management control for risks outside the project’s purview (management reserve). In both cases, this component of the plan details how and when the project team may draw down funds from those reserve accounts. Risk finances may also provide detail on how the amounts for the reserve accounts will be established.
- Risk Evaluation
Because evaluation protocols vary from project to project, the risk management plan should include some detail on how risks will be scored and termed. Particularly for risk qualification, there should be some definition of terms for both the probability of a risk’s occurrence and for the impact should it come to pass. Many projects employ the high–medium—low (H-M-L) scheme for both impact and probability. The risk management plan should define each of those terms.
- Process Timing
High-risk projects may require frequent risk reevaluation. Projects with lower risk may not require such frequency. The risk management plan should include detail on the frequency of risk identification, assessment, and response development, as well as the appropriate application of any tracking processes or documentation.