What are the 5 Risk Management Steps in a Sound Risk Management Process?

risk management process stepsAs a project manager or team member, you manage risk on a daily basis; it’s one of the most important things you do. If you learn how to apply a systematic risk management process, and put into action the core 5 risk management process steps, then your projects will run more smoothly and be a positive experience for everyone involved.

A common definition of risk is an uncertain event that if it occurs, can have a positive or negative effect on a project’s goals. The potential for a risk to have a positive or negative effect is an important concept. Why? Because it is natural to fall into the trap of thinking that risks have inherently negative effects. If you are also open to those risks that create positive opportunities, you can make your project smarter, streamlined and more profitable. Think of the adage –“Accept the inevitable and turn it to your advantage.” That is what you do when you mine project risks to create opportunities.

Uncertainty is at the heart of risk. You may be unsure if an event is likely to occur or not. Also, you may be uncertain what its consequences would be if it did occur. Likelihood – the probability of an event occurring, and consequence – the impact or outcome of an event, are the two components that characterize the magnitude of the risk.

All risk management processes follow the same basic steps, although sometimes different jargon is used to describe these steps. Together these 5 risk management process steps combine to deliver a simple and effective risk management process.

Step 1: Identify the Risk. You and your team uncover, recognize and describe risks that might affect your project or its outcomes. There are a number of techniques you can use to find project risks. During this step you start to prepare your Project Risk Register.

Step 2: Analyze the risk. Once risks are identified you determine the likelihood and consequence of each risk. You develop an understanding of the nature of the risk and its potential to affect project goals and objectives. This information is also input to your Project Risk Register.

Step 3: Evaluate or Rank the Risk. You evaluate or rank the risk by determining the risk magnitude, which is the combination of likelihood and consequence. You make decisions about whether the risk is acceptable or whether it is serious enough to warrant treatment. These risk rankings are also added to your Project Risk Register.

Step 4: Treat the Risk. This is also referred to as Risk Response Planning. During this step you assess your highest ranked risks and set out a plan to treat or modify these risks to achieve acceptable risk levels. How can you minimize the probability of the negative risks as well as enhancing the opportunities? You create risk mitigation strategies, preventive plans and contingency plans in this step. And you add the risk treatment measures for the highest ranking or most serious risks to your Project Risk Register.

Step 5: Monitor and Review the risk. This is the step where you take your Project Risk Register and use it to monitor, track and review risks.

Risk is about uncertainty. If you put a framework around that uncertainty, then you effectively de-risk your project. And that means you can move much more confidently to achieve your project goals. By identifying and managing a comprehensive list of project risks, unpleasant surprises and barriers can be reduced and golden opportunities discovered. The risk management process also helps to resolve problems when they occur, because those problems have been envisaged, and plans to treat them have already been developed and agreed. You avoid impulsive reactions and going into “fire-fighting” mode to rectify problems that could have been anticipated. This makes for happier, less stressed project teams and stakeholders. The end result is that you minimize the impacts of project threats and capture the opportunities that occur.

If you enjoyed this article our Risk Management Online Course expands on these concepts and gives you the practical skills to impress your boss by developing a comprehensive risk management process.

About the Author

Vivian’s career in professional engineering spanned 35 years of technical, business, management and governance experience. She draws on her industry experience to write articles that are practical and relevant to a wide range of readers. Her aim is to get you thinking and help you meet your continuing professional development requirements.


  1. Ndumiso Mkhonta says:

    Your article is so informative

  2. endale says:

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  3. Rana A says:

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  4. Shirley Kunera says:

    I find this publication very helpful with my work.

  5. Johnny Addai-peprah says:

    Thanks so very much for a well detailed explanation about the topic of Risk management.

  6. Mathews says:

    You have unpacked every need to know as far as Risk Management is concerned. Many thanks

  7. percy says:

    thank you this was so helpful to complete my assignment. thanks vivian.

  8. Gezahegn Hadero says:


  9. VERONICA says:

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  10. Thank you it helped me most

  11. Boris says:

    Thanks a lot.

  12. I have really enjoyed post and comments here, i really like your explanation, wish you all the best in your business endeavors

  13. Project Manager says:

    This is a very helpful page and the information is simple and straight forward.

  14. Morgen Mundoringisa says:

    Thank you so much, the information was helpful indeed. Keep up the good work.

  15. Jennifer Aguti says:

    Great information, simplified tool to manage risks. Found it very helpful.

    Thank you.

  16. Namusoke Margaret says:

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  17. sibusiso madlala says:

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  19. James Wek says:

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  20. Pramod ghimire says:

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  22. Constance Atebat says:

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  23. joe says:

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  24. Fahad Ahmed Memon says:

    Such a nice explanation of Risk Management and evaluation Thanks to such a nice information

  25. Samson Majange says:

    this information was really helpful

  26. hind says:

    please would you help me to find risk management procedure, and risk management register, thanks

    • Site Manager says:

      Thanks for your enquiry. Further details on risk management can be found in our online risk management course, which includes a Risk Management Register in spreadsheet format. If you subscribe to our email newsletter, you also get a $50 Rewards Voucher towards the purchase of the course. (This offer expires on 31 March 2018.)

  27. Roland Dasilva says:

    Thanks Vivian. I was able to complete my assignment through your shared thought here.

  28. Hansel says:

    Thanks. Your understanding of the subject and it’s explaining is brilliant.

  29. Robert Kibet Ndiema says:

    thanks for your explanation

  30. ANYANWU SAMUEL says:


  31. Lucy Njagi says:

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  32. Giorgi says:

    Thanks Vivian, You Demonstrate Deep Understanding of the Subject

  33. fardowsa says:


  34. rickson mabena says:


  35. Frank Kowalski says:

    Can you please send me for information on the “Risk Register Template”. I cannot find a copy on any of your website.

    • Site Manager says:

      Hi Frank, Thanks for your enquiry. The Risk Register Template is supplied with the Risk Management Online Course – and that course is on special – 30% off- until 30 June 2016. Click here to see the details.

  36. Just want to congratulate you for the good course. Thanks

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