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        risk register

        What do professional skydivers and successful project managers have in common?

        They both identify, assess, and plan for risks.

        Skydivers look at the conditions, equipment, and capabilities before, during, and after they jump out of planes. Project managers look at the conditions, equipment, and capabilities before, during, and after projects.

        Why do they do that?

        To stay on top of potential issues that could derail intended outcomes” – Project Manager, Guide to Using a Risk Register

        How do they do that?

        Well, I don’t know how skydivers do it, but to identify, assess, and plan for risks, a good project manager is never far away from a risk register.

        But, when I discovered that 81% of organizations feel their risk registers are ineffective at identifying and planning for potential risks, and 30% of projects fail as a direct result, I felt the need to write this Process Street post about how to create one.

        So, listen up as we go through the following:

        If you’re in a hurry, grab this free Risk Register Process Checklist now, and catch up with the what, why, and how later.

        Got your parachute? Ready, set… Geeeeronimoooooo…


        There is risk inherent in everything, and that goes doubly for managing a project with lots of moving parts” – Project Manager, Guide to using a Risk Register

        We know a risk register lists all the potential issues that may, or may not, occur during a project. We also know that a risk register details the plans for handling each issue, if it happens.

        But why is all this necessary?

        Documenting potential risks means you can keep track of them over the course of the project. Including strategies for handling each risk means, if that issue should arise, you know how to quickly stop it before it stops the project.

        If you’ve read some of my other Process Street articles (such as “How to Use a Project Tracker to Keep Projects Profitable” or “Visual Management: How to Communicate Effectively with Your Workforce“), you’ll know I used to be a project manager.

        But I have a terrible confession to make; I ran most of my projects without a risk register.

        And let me tell you, the results weren’t pretty.

        But, rather than divulge my own horror stories to prove how important risk registers are (if you want a horror story, check this post out), let me tell you someone else’s.


        risk register

        An ineffective risk register is as useful to a project manager as a bicycle is to a fish. But, as we established earlier, only 19% of organizations believe their risk registers are effective!

        Why is that?

        Below are the three biggest mistakes, that 81% of organizations make, when creating, using and maintaining a risk register.


        The more complicated you make your risk register, the harder it will become to maintain it.

        If I had a risk register that had 23 columns and 60 rows, full of details, probabilities, scales, sums, color codes, and charts, that I had to review and update on a weekly (or sometimes daily) basis, am I going to do it?


        No! Well, I might try, but it would take me way too long to do, and as a result, it would fall to the bottom of my to-do list, quickly.

        A risk register should be simple, adaptable, maintainable, and close at hand” – PM Basics, Risk Register Example – All You Need to Know About It

        I will show you, in a second, how to create a risk register that is simple to understand, simple to review, and simple to update.

        Stick with me.


        There is risk inherent in everything, and that goes doubly for managing a project with lots of moving parts” – Project Manager, Guide to using a Risk Register

        Process Street is the perfect tool to help you create a simple, effective, and useful risk register.

        Allow me to elaborate.


        Earlier, I gave you the key elements that an effective risk register should capture:

        • Type of risk
        • Level of risk
        • Probability of risk
        • Risk accountability
        • Risk mitigation measures

        To capture all the above information, and create an effective risk register, you will need:

        • To follow a systemic process to make sure you’re identifying every single possible risk associated with your project
        • A place to document each risk you find
        • Somewhere to record the associated details, actions, and updates during the course of the project
        • A way to track risks throughout the duration of the project
        • To give people accountability for risks

        You can do all this, and more, with Process Street. But before I explain this further, take a look at this pre-made Risk Register Process Checklist:

        Run this checklist each time you start a project and keep it updated throughout.

        It’s a process that allows you to:

        • Brainstorm and identify all possible risks
        • Create tasks for each risk so you can document and capture key information
        • Assign responsibility for each risk
        • Review each risk at regular intervals
        • Easily change the priority of each risk
        • Add comments and update each risk

        What’s more, with Process Street, you have access to a checklist dashboard, so you can keep track of the risks within your risk register easily. This is super useful, especially if you’re managing multiple projects.

        Click here to access the Risk Register Process Checklist!

        To get this template, click on the link above and add it to your account. If you’re not yet a Process Street user, sign up for a free trial and check it out.

        This is a pre-made template that the team at Process Street designed and built which you’re more than welcome to use, as it is.

        If you like what you see, you might want to check out the below risk register related templates that you can also have for free.


        And there we have it; how to create a risk register and prevent project failure.

        Now, get your head out of the clouds and get started!

        risk register

        We’d love to hear if you use a risk register and if you find it effective. What do you think of our Risk Register Process Checklist? Let us know in the comments below. Who knows? You may even get featured in an upcoming article!


        Amanda is a junior content writer at Process Street. She's based in North Yorkshire and has worked in content marketing for a number of years. Her biggest passions in life are writing, her dog Tank, and watching her favorite bands at the Glastonbury music festival.


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