9.0 Manage Risk


Risk refers to future potential events that could have an adverse impact on the program. Whereas an issue is a current problem that must be dealt with, a risk is a potential future problem that has not yet occurred.

A reactive program manager addresses issues when they occur. A proactive program manager addresses potential problems before they occur. This is the art of risk management. Not all issues can be seen ahead of time and some potential problem that seems unlikely to occur, may in fact occur. However, many problems can be seen ahead of time and they should be managed through a proactive risk management process.    

All programs have some degree of risk. Programs with a higher level of risk require more rigorous risk management and more management focus. Although not all risks can be eliminated entirely, most can be anticipated and managed ahead of time.

Risks are managed at two levels.

  • Program risks. These are owned and proactively managed at the program level.

  • Project risks. Guidance is given from the program to the projects on the process for managing risks. This is in the Risk Management Plan, which is part of the Project Management Plan. (If you did not create a Risk Management Plan the risk management process would have been defined as a part of creating the program infrastructure.) Project risks are monitored at the program level to ensure they are tracked and actively managed.

There are times when common risks are raised to the program level to solve once for all projects.

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9.1 Manage Risk / Process

9.2 Manage Risk / Techniques

9.3 Managing Project Risk within a Program

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