Identifying and managing project risks are critical tasks for project managers. From a project management perspective, risks must be managed from the start of a project until its completion; therefore, a Risk Breakdown Structure (RBS) is an important tool that project managers use to successfully complete projects. Assume that you are a project manager who is to manage a project to set up a training facility in China to teach project management classes. This project is to be completed within a two- month period, starting from today.

  1. Identify the risks in the form of “cause-risk-effect,” as described below:

One of the most common risk-identification mistakes is considering things to be risks when they are not. One approach is to treat anything with a probability of greater than 80 percent as a certainty. “Lack of resources” is not a risk, nor is “not enough time to complete the project.” If it is known that the length of time required to complete a project is shorter than the time allocated, then this is not a risk—it’s a fact. Such facts should be addressed in the project management plan through crashing, fast tracking, re-estimating, removing scope, using other forms of schedule compression, and bringing the situation to management, but not as part of risk management.

“To differentiate risks from facts and to adequately define risks, use the ‘cause-risk- effect’ format for naming risks: As a result of (definitive cause), (uncertain event) may occur, which would/could/may lead to (effect). Such definition of risks provides enough information for the team to follow the rest of the project management process. See the following examples of risks in the cause-risk-effect format:

As a result of lack of clear direction for the scope of work for the XYZ component, there could be rework and wasted efforts, which could delay the project completion from two to four weeks.
As a result of the amount of work the customer is trying to accomplish on many projects during this project’s completion, a delay in the response to our requests for approvals may occur, which could result in a two-week delay in project completion. Effects could relate to project objectives, project constraints, and risk tolerances.” (Mulcahy, 2003, p. 90)

  1. Discuss and analyze the importance of each of the four types of risk identified in Figure 11-4 (technical, management, commercial, and external).
  2. Create a risk breakdown structure and attach as an appendix (see attached sample and use the blank RBS linked under this assignment in Module 2).
  3. Discuss the importance of creating an RBS.

Sample Solution