How Startups Can Use Risk Prioritization in Their Project Management

Risk prioritization for effective project management culminates from processes involving risk impact assessment. Forewarned is forearmed indeed. The result of your comprehensive risk impact assessment becomes your arsenal in anticipating and mitigating any threats to your project.

Nevertheless, as you embark on defining the needs and goals of your project and its implementation, you will realize that risks are not equal. For that reason, your team has the onus of identifying all possible risks and quantifying their levels of probability of occurrence, and projected impact. This ordering of risks defines the process of risk prioritization.

Note that the risk prioritization process should come in the initial stages of project planning. If you are already perplexed at this aspect of project management, relief lies in the simplicity of the process. Your focus should be on three steps in dealing with risks: identify, prioritize, and mitigate risk.

The Importance of Risk Prioritization for Effective Project Management

When undertaking risk prioritization, it means you commit yourself to mitigate specific risks. Your start up’s dependence on technology exposes you to unique perils like data breach, and downtimes that cause loss of important operations and compromises your company’s image. The ultimate impact would be a dent on your profit margin because of mitigational oversight.

Risk prioritization enhances project management by motivating you to focus on creating an actionable plan to secure your project through all its stages of development. As you outline the risks depending on the magnitude of their impact, you can prioritize the high impact ones that have a higher likelihood of manifesting. As such, you spend your resources prudently in optimizing the risk impact assessment.

Furthermore, risk prioritizing becomes a way of reviewing your analysis to confirm whether a previously identified and lowly ranked risk can escalate into the high-risk category. You may term risk as medium level. However, the further scrutiny of its constituent parameters may give it an impact score that places it in the high impact class.

How to Identify Potential Risks in Your Startup Project Management

Project management experts identify various types of risks in IT projects and cybersecurity. In identifying such risks, you should appreciate that they can arise from external sources and inherently from the users utilizing the IT resources.

In the integration of new technologies into your startup, remember to review them for hazards and vulnerabilities that would expose your company to cybercriminals.

Another factor is the end-user experience or the functionality of the project. This will require you to develop a user feedback option from which you will gather insights to improve your project in response to users’ needs.

As you review your project in response to user feedback, you realize that the measures may deviate from the original project goals. Such will need additional interventions involving time and money, for example in training employees or enhancing security controls.

Consider too that installing new technology into your startup creates system structural risks. The newly created connections with foreign networks become a possible conduit of cybercrimes like data breaches.

Creating a Risk Impact Assessment for Your Startup

Creating a risk impact assessment for your startup requires you to create a list of expected risks and analyze them. The analysis should follow the risk impact matrix where you review the likelihood of the risk and related consequences as given in the following steps.

  • Evaluating the impact of the risk

Risk assessment involves both quantitative and qualitative aspects. For instance, budgetary implications of risk like data hacking are quantifiable. The loss of your enterprise’s integrity in the event of the data breach is qualifiable.

  • Determining the probability of risk

Risk prevalence varies because some risks may be high impact but with a low probability of befalling your project. Another variable is whether the impact is quantifiably or qualitatively reviewable. The way to go about this step is by awarding numerical scores for quantifiable risks. On the other hand, terms like highly unlikely and highly likely describe qualitative aspects of reporting risk impact.

  • Drawing a risk assessment chart

This comes as the final step in formulating your risk response strategy. It involves piecing together all the information you have gathered about the risks you identified. It also points out the probability of their occurrence. Using either quantifiable or qualifiable assessment processes, you can now generate a chart that displays the risks. The chart also captures the insights you will consider when identifying the risks that you will accept, transfer, mitigate, or avoid.

Take Away

Fortunately, not all risks portend a negative outcome. For example, the early completion of your project is a positive impact risk and hence an opportunity. Even then, using risk prioritization in the management of your startup will facilitate an efficient risk response plan for your project.


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