5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 11: Process 11.5 Plan Risk Responses

1.  Introduction

The five risk-related project management processes in the Planning Process Group deal with setting up the Risk Management Plan (process 11.1), identifying (process 11.2), analyzing (processes 11.3 and 11.4), and then developing responses for risks to the project (process 11.5).

This post is devoted to the Inputs, Tools & Techniques, and the Outputs of the fifth of  these five processes, 11.5 Plan Risk Responses.

2.  Inputs

The main inputs comes from the risk management plan and the risk register.

1. Risk Management Plan The components of the risk management plan that are inputs to the process are:

  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Risk analysis definitions
  • Schedule for risk reviews
  • Risk thresholds for low, medium, high risk
2. Risk Register The pieces of information in the risk register that are used as inputs to the process are:

  • Identified risks
  • Root causes of risks
  • Lists of potential responses
  • Risk owners
  • Risk symptoms and warning signs
  • Relative risk rating or priority list of risks
  • Near-term (urgent) risks requiring responses
  • Risks for additional analysis and response
  • Trends in qualitative analysis results
  • Watch list (low priority risks)
1. Strategy for negative risks or threats The following are the strategies for handling negative risks (aka threats)

  • Avoid
  • Transfer
  • Mitigate
  • Accept
2. Strategy for positive risks or opportunities The following are the strategies for handling positive risks (aka opportunities)

  • Exploit
  • Share
  • Enhance
  • Accept
3. Contingent response strategies Responses designed only if certain events occur.
4. Expert judgment Input from knowledgeable parties pertaining to actions to be taken with regard to a particular risk.
1. Project Management Plan  Updates
  • Schedule management plan—updates to the schedule strategy
  • Cost management plan—updates to the cost strategy, contingency reserves
  • Quality management plan—changes with respect to requirements, quality assurance, or quality control
  • Procurement management plan—changes in procurement strategy (make-or-buy decision, contract type)
  • Human resource management plan—updates to staffing management plan
  • Scope baseline—updated because of work generated by risk responses
  • Schedule baseline—updated because of work generated by risk responses
  • Cost baseline—updated because of work generated by risk responses
2. Project Documents Updates Risk register is updated to include:

  • Risk owners
  • Agreed-upon risk response strategies
  • Specific actions to implement the chosen response strategy
  • Trigger conditions, symptoms, or warning signs of a risk occurrence
  • Budget and schedule activities required to implement risk responses
  • Contingency plans and triggers that require their execution
  • Fallback plans if primary risk response proves inadequate
  • Residual risks that remain after planned risk responses have been taken
  • Secondary risks that arise as direct outcome of implementing a risk response
  • Contingency reserves calculated on the basis of quantitative risk analysis and organization’s risk thresholds

3.  Tools & Techniques

There are four strategies for dealing with negative risks or threats:  1) avoid, 2) transfer, 3) mitigate, and 4) accept and four parallel strategies for dealing with positive risks or opportunities:  1) exploit, 2) share, 3) enhance, and 4) accept.  Contingency response strategies are those which trigger responses only if certain events occur.  Expert judgment is used in putting together risk response strategies.

4.  Outputs

Both the risk register and the risk management plan are updated as a result of this process.

The next post will go into the strategies for dealing with negative risks and positive risks in more detail.


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