Risk Management: Identifying Upside Risks

Most project professionals see risk management in terms of mitigating adverse outcomes, but this perspective is limiting. A risk is an uncertain event that, if it occurs, will impact a project's objectives. While the impact is often negative, it's also possible for a risk to have a positive effect on the project. We usually call these upside risks "opportunities." Mature project managers are concerned with opportunities as much as threats. 

Identifying opportunities ahead of time ensures your company can exploit them fully when they occur. However, such discovery can be challenging. Our instincts sometimes seem more tuned to what can go wrong than what can go right. This article outlines four steps that will enable you to uncover and capitalize on positive risks.

Harness Absent Threats

When anticipated adverse events do not happen, it can create opportunities for positive outcomes. For example, you learn that the launch of a competing product has been delayed or even canceled. You use this opportunity to contact existing customers with a generous promotion in order to protect your market share.

Invert Quantifiable Threats

Some threats exist on a quantifiable scale. It's possible for things to go very wrong, but it's also possible they will go right. In these cases, examining the inverse of the threat can uncover hidden opportunities. For example, your project may have allowed 10 weeks for a notoriously slow government department to grant regulatory approval. If the approval comes through in 4 weeks, you can bring the product launch forward.

Leverage Secondary Risks

Mitigating a risk can often create new risks, which are called secondary risks. While secondary risks are usually harmful, some may have positive impacts. For example, in response to cybersecurity threats, your firm might strengthen its IT infrastructure. You find that this not only secures your data but also improves system efficiency and increases customer trust.

Seize Pure Opportunities

Sometimes, a positive event can emerge by pure serendipity. It is difficult to predict such events ahead of time, but a project manager with a mindset geared toward positive risk can identify and exploit them quickly. For example, a change in the regulatory environment creates sudden demand for your product in a new country. Localizing for this market brings rich rewards.

Risk Register by ProjectBalm

Capturing both negative and positive risks is much easier with an appropriate tool. This is one reason we created Risk Register by ProjectBalm.

Our goal was to automate best practice risk management techniques, and do so via an elegant, usable interface that works with you, and not against you. Risk Register will help you to identify, analyse, treat and monitor risks more easily and effectively than ever before.

If you are experienced at risk management, you will find in Risk Register a tool that works the way you want it to work. If you are new to risk management, our documentation and videos will take you through the whole risk management process, giving lots of useful examples.

Risk Register is fully compatible with risk management standards such as ISO 31000, and can also be used for governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) programs such as Sarbanes-Oxley and PCI. And, of course, Risk Register allows you to easily distinguish between opportunities and threats.

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Over the last few years, we've grown to become the most popular risk management solution in the Jira marketplace and we are now an Atlassian Platinum Partner. Why not try out Risk Register by ProjectBalm for yourself?



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