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Spreadsheets have been an integral part of the computing landscape for over forty years. Although first devised to replace paper-based accounting worksheets, they have evolved into generalized data storage tools that organizations use for a wide variety of functions.
The use of spreadsheets to store risk data is widespread, and it may be that Excel is the most popular risk management tool in the world. However, here are three reasons why you should consider using a specialized risk management tool instead:
The spreadsheet's famed ease-of-use means that it is also very simple to corrupt the data they contain. This could be done deliberately or accidentally. Compounding this problem, security is hard to implement at a granular level. If someone has the power to enter a new risk, they can usually also overwrite existing risks or change the risk model. Tracking these changes for audit is also tricky. While modern spreadsheets store changes, you typically need to compare versions manually to understand what happened. Overall, it is hard to maintain data integrity in a spreadsheet.
Setting up a risk spreadsheet is fiddly, as you have to embed the risk model in a series of cell formulas. Creating a matrix display is even more laborious, with colors and risk levels hard-coded into the sheet. If there is a change to the model, you need to replace all of those formulas and also re-work the matrix display. Even worse, you must replicate these changes on every active risk spreadsheet in the organization. Spreadsheets might be easy to use, but they are challenging to change compared to a specialized tool.
Although sending around a spreadsheet link is easy, this does not make the risk register very visible. Those who want to access the sheet need to search through their inbox, find the relevant link, and then open it. Having the risk register out of sight also makes it out of mind, which is not ideal if you want risk management to be integral to your project governance. It is much better to have a specialized tool that integrates with components of your existing project management software.
Professional risk management requires a good 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.
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?
Craig Schwarze _ProjectBalm_