Risk management is a central activity in project management, but is unfortunately often neglected. Projects fail because of risks that are discovered too late, ignored or simply not sought. Risk management is not complex but is hard work and the most important thing: it must be done with conviction. Software such as Excel or SharePoint can help you document and communicate risks throughout the risk management process. In this article, I’ll show you what to consider when documenting and communicating risk management information and how to use SharePoint Online as a tool to do so. Curious? Then read on quickly and learn how to use SharePoint Online for project management even more efficiently.
Risk Management Is a Core Activity in Your Project
Projects are inherently risky endeavors because they are unique, complex, often have many dependencies and restrictions, many stakeholders are involved, and projects are conducted in an environment that is constantly changing. Therefore, risk management is a core activity in project execution with the aim to prevent the project from problems and crises helping to complete it successfully.
An important point in risk management is to document all risk management information throughout the project lifetime and communicate it to all project stakeholders. You can learn more about risk management in projects and the risk management process here:
Project Risk Management – A Short Overview
My books about Project Risk Management
Risk Management Is Project Management for AdultsTim Lister
How to Document Risk Management Information
To document risk management information, you can use Microsoft Excel if you don’t have any other suitable software. However, the best way to “manage” your risk information is to use your Enterprise Project Management System (EPMS) such as Microsoft Project Server, Planview, Primavera or Clarity. However, since such software is expensive and often only available in large companies, a very good alternative is SharePoint Online, which is used in most medium and large size companies.
The software is, of course, only a tool that facilitates the administrative work and the controlling and communication of risks and risk responses, but does not take away the most important part of risk management—identifying and monitoring risks with your team and defining and implementing risk responses.
Make Risk Management Information Available to all Project Participants
Visibility of management information is essential when it comes to successfully carrying out processes in companies or projects. Highly visible information attracts the attention of everyone involved and encourages them to think and participate—consciously or unconsciously. Which company does not want to have employees who actively think along, provide good suggestions and hints to make their business unit, project or the company as successful as possible—and this also applies to risk management information.
Therefore, all risk management information should be easily accessible and highly visible to all stakeholders. This increases their risk awareness and helps to identify additional risks.
“Risks that are constantly visible are less likely to occur! “
SharePoint as an Ideal Tool for Risk Management in Projects
Unfortunately, many companies still shy away from investing money in an EPMS, but what is very often available is Microsoft SharePoint. It is ideal if you have already created a project site on SharePoint for your project. In it, you then create a list with the title “Risk Log” or “Risk Register”, where you then store all risk management information.
I have already set up SharePoint sites for projects in various companies and show you which fields (metadata) you should use as a minimum. Of course, you can also implement this solution in Microsoft Excel.
Metadata fields for a Risk Register in SharePoint Online
Title (Single line of text): A short title with 4-6 words is very helpful, so you can quickly see what the risk is all about.
Description (Multiple lines of text): Description of the risk in the Cause – Risk – Effect format.
Probability Rating (Choice): Scale from 1 to 5 (1 very low, 2 low, 3 moderate, 4 high, 5 very high)
Impact Rating (Choice): Scala from 1 to 5 (1 very low, 2 low, 3 moderate, 4 high, 5 very high Severe) This can also be supplemented with quantitative values in the description.
Risk Value (Calculated Column): =[Probability Rating]*[Impact Rating]
Trigger (Multiple lines of text): What is the trigger of the risk? This is not always easy to determine and often there is no trigger.
Status (Choice): New/Open/Closed. Newly recorded risks that have never been discussed in the team receive the status “New” = not discussed, “open”=discussed, “Closed”=Risk no longer existing.
Closed (Date and Time): When was the risk closed?
Risk Owner (Person or Group): Who was assigned the risk and responsibility for implementing the measures? Define only one person, not a group.
Mitigation Action (Multiple lines of text): What actions have been defined?
Action Due Date (Date and Time): This field is often missing! By when should the action be implemented?
Date last reviewd (Date and Time): When was the risk and action last discussed in the team?
Updates (Multiple lines of text): Here the risk responsible person can write status updates, e.g. about implemented actions, occurred triggers etc.
Stream (Choice): this field is optional. Here you can specify to which project stream or sub-project the risk is assigned.
Other properties (Metadata) like: Created (date and time), Created by (Person or Group, Modified (Date and Time), Modified by (Person or Group) and the versioning are automatically saved by SharePoint. Like the other properties, you can display these in the views of the Risk Log as required.
You can also add a Column for Probability, Impact and Risk Value before response planning.
This was a short how to create a risk log in SharePoint Online and what you should pay attention to. Read more about this topic in my Book SharePoint Online for Project Management or in my Project Risk Management books.
Here You Can Find More Knowledge
This was an overview of how to manage risk management information in SharePoint Online. What is your experience with SharePoint? Do you agree with my statements or do you have a different opinion? Share your experience with the readers with a commentary so that we all get to know another view. Thank you!
Would you like to learn more about how to make your projects more successful with SharePoint? Save time and money and get firsthand experience with my book “SharePoint Online for Project Management“. It takes you an important step further!
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