Risk assessment can be a time-consuming task when starting a project—it is valuable project time that many project managers would prefer to allot elsewhere. However, performing effective risk assessment at the start of a project can save valuable time during the project and create opportunities for overall process improvement. There are ways of fast tracking discovery, but mitigation strategies should always be customized to the project and include consideration of solutions, budgets, schedules, and most importantly, project resources. Risk assessment is appropriate whether the project is with external clients or internal stakeholders.
Risk assessment is not insurance against issues arising on projects. Rather, it is an awareness that issues may arise, and an opportunity to create appropriate responses to those potential issues. As project managers and supporting team members, we should seek to discover all risks—positive, neutral, or negative—before starting projects. In fact, risk identification before developing a kick-off presentation allows for an early opportunity to gather full team insight. Risk assessment is not pessimistic; rather, raising concerns is one of the most reliable traits of a project manager.