Risk Register Template – Creating a Risk Register with the Seven “C”s.
As soon as you complete a risk management plan, the next step to completely mitigate risks is to make sure you have a risk register. A risk register is essentially a tool to help you reduce those risks. It is a small part of a much larger contingency plan. It also acts as a reference document for everyone involved in the project from stakeholders right down to every project manager. It not only identifies the risks, but it communicates what these risks are to everybody – along with the potential or likelihood that a risk may or may not occur.
You Can’t Have a Successful Project without Communication
Communication is critical in any project. Without communication, people say things like, “The left hand is not talking to the right hand.” Without communication, a project falls apart. In fact, the lack of communication is a very real risk in any given project. One of the key qualities of a project manager is being able to communicate effectively. Without this quality, a project may as well not exist. At the very least, the project will be needing a new project manager who can communicate effectively. There are many things a project manager juggles at any given time. Skilled communication doesn’t just mean using fancy words. It means they can convey and transmit information in an easy to understand manner at the right time and do it quickly.
Managing Risks by Using a Risk Register Template
Risk cannot be eliminated. Therefore, risk must be managed. In fact, that’s the premise of having a risk register. It is a risk management tool. One of the very real risks of any given project in any industry is what might happen if a business cannot continue. This is called business continuity. A risk register covers more than just business continuity. It covers every foreseeable risk. In fact, it is a master reference document that facilitates transparent communication between the three parties that need it the most – namely, the stakeholders, project managers and the team members. It not only lets people know what a project consists of, but it also can act as a guiding tool that guides behavior toward activities that will lower potential risk.
For instance, if an employee knows that one of the risks of a project is running out of potential resources, then that employee might be more inclined to conserve what resources are available rather than thinking that the company will simply buy more if they run out. Although the company may do this regardless, simply knowing about the risk can lead toward conservation behavior patterns.
The Seven Cs Inherent in Every Risk Register
Since this is such an important document, it is imperative that you have a risk register template that can guide you in creating a thorough and complete risk register. However, before we dive into the template, we need to realize how important a risk register really is and what it can do for an organization. To make it easy to remember, we call it the seven Cs. When you use the risk register template, understanding these principles will help you understand what you’re doing and act as a guide.
Project managers are often skilled at what they do because they conform to a standard. A risk register template is no exception and, as an essential tool, they follow a template. In fact, that’s why you’re here – to find out how PlanHammer can help make your project easier. You see, consistency puts everybody on the same page. Earlier, I talked about how important it is for the left hand of an organization to be communicating with the right hand. When communication does not exist, it’s usually because things are not consistent. In fact, this consistency is so important that it has leaked into other industries. This is why software has reached a point to where you people can collaborate in real time on the same document in the same project. This is one of the many advantages of PlanHammer – it provides consistency.
Having a document that is compact is critical. The last thing you want to do is be slapped with a wall of text that requires you to sit down and attempt to comprehend what is being said. Business jargon is not always easy to understand. When you sit there and look at a wall of text, it can take you a lot longer to understand and comprehend the material than it would be if the tool were more visual. Risk registers help because they are visual. Instead of being a wall of text, it is a chart. Comprehension is is grasped faster simply because people can look at something and instantly know what it means.
When information is put into a visual format, it is put into a concise format. Concise simply means that you don’t say anything more than what you absolutely have to. Gantt charts, for example, are concise tools because they are visual. In fact, without using any words at all, they can convey tremendous amounts of information. Now, risk register templates do use words, but that doesn’t’ make them hard to understand. On the contrary, because it is in a chart format, you can simply look at the chart and understand what the risks are and how you can guide behavior to mitigate the risks. It is created to be a reference document that you can just glance at quickly and know what it means.
Oh, this is a good one. Commitment is much easier said than done. However, once you write something down, you are much more likely to follow it. This is why successful people tell us to write our goals down. If we just stick the goal in the back of our mind, we will simply say that we’ll complete it “someday.” However, once you write the goal down, you are much more likely to follow through.
An excellent way to get team members committed to reducing risk is to get their input during the creation phase of the risk register template. The employees feel empowered, you get an extra set of eyes and ears when it comes to mitigating risk, and employee morale goes up. It’s a win-win situation.
Don’t get me wrong – risk register template creation takes time. In fact, taking your time is one of the essential rules of creating a risk register template. You don’t want to rush your way through it because you could miss things that could potentially lead to the downfall of your product because you weren’t keeping a watchful eye on the risk. I mean, how could you keep a watchful eye on a risk if you don’t know what it is.
Also, don’t forget to get the input of your team members. This input is critical to the success of your project. Getting their input can guide their behavior and ensure that they will do their part to make sure that the risks are managed and mitigated.
By writing everything down, you get a sense of control over the risks of a project. The risks are not something that can be eliminated. Therefore, they must be managed. A risk register, as a risk management tool, gives you the highest degree of control possible over risk mitigation.
Can you tell that we saved the best for last? The No. 1 thing that makes a risk register template valuable is because it is a communication tool. We’re back to the communication aspect. Communication is so critically important to the project. Without it, your project will not succeed. In fact, communication is so important that the lack of communication should make it onto your risk register as a risk.
How Does PlanHammer Fit into This?
Every risk register must follow a template. In fact, that’s why PlanHammer works so well – It forces risk management into a template, while at the same time allowing everyone on the team to contribute to risk management. It is a complete project management tool that will take the tasks at hand from any view you choose, and present them in different formats.
Since we already know that the risk register template generates a master reference document, we can start there. A quick search online will tell you that there are several resources available to you to create the risk register. However, no matter where you look, they will always follow the same basic format. That should be another indication of how important a risk register template is to your project.
Your job as a project manager is to take a risk register and cater it to your project. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all risk register template. Your job, or, at least, the job of a project manager, is to take the risk register template and fill it out with the risks that are relevant to your project. Usually, these risks can be taken directly from the comprehensive, much larger risk management plan. You see, a risk register is nothing more than a tool – a smaller part of a much greater risk management program. When you undertake the task of creating a risk register, make sure you take your time. Furthermore, realize that the risk register template is never really perfect. You can name all of the foreseeable risks that you know of, but that does not eliminate future risks that may present themselves or unfold in the future. Make sure that you keep the entire risk register creation process fluid so that you can add to it later or possibly even eliminate risks from your project. PlanHammer can help you do that because everything is kept online, where people can collaborate together on the project in real time.