How many people assess their risks using a Probability/Impact Matrix asked Martin Hopkinson of the APM Risk Specific Interest Group when launching its new guide Prioritising Risk.
Frequently risks are prioritised by their uncertainty – the higher their uncertainty, the higher priority they are offered. Martin argued that if risk management is the management of uncertainty, then perhaps it is those risks which should be focussed on.
Whilst the Probability/Impact Matrix is a useful tool, it is often limited in its effectiveness – factors such as when a response to the risk is needed and the degree to which the risk is manageable should also been considered.
Taking a higher level of understanding of the reason for managing risk is also often overlooked. Understanding why we are managing risks helps us understand the risks we want to manage. Frequently, as with many other project management basics, risk management is overlooked as a procedural part of the project. As Martin points out – this is risks management not risk management.