Risk management plan template

Starting a project without considering risks is, well, a big risk to take. Prevent major issues from occurring in your project with a risk management plan template. Learn how to create a risk management plan template in Asana.

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Before you start a project, it’s important to take into account any potential issues and risks that can prevent your project from progressing smoothly. 

Using a risk management plan template can help you mitigate risk and establish a contingency plan so you can successfully hit your goals without a hitch. Here’s how to do it. 

What is a risk management plan template?

A risk management plan template is a tool to help project managers prevent and measure potential risks. While the content of the template may change from project to project, the main structure of the template will not change. Using a template to manage the risk management process can help expedite future projects and align your team members so they know what to expect in the event that a risk occurs.

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Creating a risk management plan template also makes it easier to manage projects with multiple stakeholders. When everyone is familiar with your established template, there’s less of a learning curve each time you start a new project.

What’s the purpose of a risk management plan?

A risk management plan is a strategy that project managers use to help prevent risks from happening throughout a project timeline. They can use this tool to monitor and log risks, as well as create a set plan of action in the event that a potential risk occurs. 

Why create a risk management plan template?

Creating a risk management plan template is a best practice for project management professionals, and for good reason. Here’s why you should create a project risk management plan template before starting a large project.

Proactively prevent risks

With a risk management plan template, you can proactively ensure that problems that could occur already have a solution before they ever happen. By assigning a specific risk to a team member, you’re specifying the person responsible for actively monitoring each potential risk. 

For some teams, developing mitigation strategies for high-impact projects is necessary before a project is even approved. This prevents high-risk projects from affecting major business operations. If your team doesn’t have mitigation plans in place, your project may not make it past the approval stage. 

Provide clarity

A risk management plan template gives your team clarity, especially when it comes to contingency plans. Stakeholders often don’t enjoy hearing that something could go wrong with a project schedule, but if you and your team already have response strategies in place, it’s much easier to quell that anxiety. Collaborative work management software like Asana allows everyone on your team to access important risk management documentation, such as a risk log, a risk assessment matrix, or other project documents. 

Read: What is a risk register: a project manager’s guide (and example)

Encourage accountability

It’s not easy to own up to an issue when things go wrong. But when there’s an assigned risk owner, that individual is responsible for mitigating that risk as much as possible if it occurs. This allows team members to evaluate the negative impact of a potential risk and develop contingency plans if or when issues arise. Individual team members have the agency to find the right solution. And if any key stakeholders have questions regarding that specific risk, they know exactly which team member to ask. 

What to include in your risk management plan template

Creating a risk management plan template is easy, but the way you manage information within the plan can vary from team to team. So how should you organize the information in your risk management plan template?

One of the easiest ways to do this is by importance—for example, by ranking risks according to their potential impact on your project. Or, you could organize your risk management plan template by the likelihood of each risk happening. 

No matter how you organize your risk management plan template, it’s important to utilize a tool that is customizable and collaborative. That way, your team can organize your risk management plan template in a way that makes the most sense for your team. 

4 steps to use your risk management plan template

  1. Brainstorm which risks to add. Use collaborative software so everyone on your team can identify and add any potential risks that can negatively impact your project. 

  2. Assess the probability and impact of each risk. The probability and impact of each risk combined represents the potential impact of the risk. Make sure your template has a way to track both risk likelihood and severity.

  3. Predict how likely each risk is. Based on historical data or previous projects, team members can predict the probability that each risk will occur. 

  4. Monitor risks during the project lifecycle. The easiest way to do this is to assign team members a specific risk to monitor throughout the lifetime of a project.

Integrated features

  • Custom fields. Custom fields are the best way to tag, sort, and filter work. Create unique custom fields for any information you need to track—from priority and status to email or phone number. Use custom fields to sort and schedule your to-dos so you know what to work on first. Plus, share custom fields across tasks and projects to ensure consistency across your organization.

  • Dependencies. Mark a task as waiting on another task with task dependencies. Know when your work is blocking someone else’s work, so you can prioritize accordingly. Teams with collaborative workflows can easily see what tasks they’re waiting on from others, and know when to get started on their portion of work. When the first task is completed, the assignee will be notified that they can get started on their dependent task. Or, if the task your work is dependent on is rescheduled, Asana will notify you—letting you know if you need to adjust your dependent due date as well.

  • Start dates. Sometimes you don’t just need to track when a to-do is due—you also need to know when you should start working on it. Start times and dates give your team members a clear sense of how long each task should take to complete. Use start dates to set, track, and manage work to align your team's objectives and prevent dependencies from falling through the cracks.

  • Subtasks. Sometimes a to-do is too big to capture in one task. If a task has more than one contributor, a broad due date, or stakeholders that need to review and approve before it can go live, subtasks can help. Subtasks are a powerful way to distribute work and split tasks into individual components—while keeping the small to-dos connected to the overarching context of the parent task. Break tasks into smaller components or capture the individual components of a multi-step process with subtasks.

Recommended apps

  • Gmail. With the Asana for Gmail integration, you can create Asana tasks directly from your Gmail inbox. Any tasks you create from Gmail will automatically include the context from your email, so you never miss a beat. Need to refer to an Asana task while composing an email? Instead of opening Asana, use the Asana for Gmail add-on to simply search for that task directly from your Gmail inbox. 

  • Outlook. As action items come in via email, like reviewing work from your agency or a request for design assets from a partner, you can now create tasks for them in Asana right from Outlook. You can then assign the new task to yourself or a teammate, set a due date, and add it to a project so it’s connected to other relevant work.

  • Zendesk. With Asana's Zendesk integration, users can quickly and easily create Asana tasks directly from Zendesk tickets. Add context, attach files, and link existing tasks to track work needed to close out the ticket. The integration also provides continuing visibility across both systems, so everyone is kept up to speed regardless of which tool they use. 

  • Jira. Create interactive, connected workflows between technical and business teams to increase visibility around the product development process in real-time—all without leaving Asana. Streamline project collaboration and hand offs. Quickly create Jira issues from within Asana so that work passes seamlessly between business and technical teams at the right time.

FAQs

Do I need a risk management plan template?

A risk management plan template is a helpful collaboration tool. If you’re looking for a way to connect your project team members and your key stakeholders, a risk management plan template can help your team get on the same page by compiling all work in one central place.

How do you use a risk management plan template?

A risk management plan template is most commonly used to help mitigate potential risks. Use your risk management plan template during the project planning phase. Brainstorm potential risks with your team and log them into your already existing template. Remember to include the likelihood of the risk happening, a description of the risk, and a team member who is responsible for that specific risk should it occur.

What is the purpose of a risk management plan template?

Use a risk management plan template to help mitigate risks as your team moves through the project lifecycle. You can use a risk management plan template to help align project managers and team members to establish a tentative plan if a risk happens. You can also use it to help establish set processes for future projects. This can help expedite the risk management process and give your team some guidelines to work with.

How do I make a risk management plan template?

Your risk management plan template should live in a project management platform that your entire team has access to. By tracking this information in a central source of truth, you can track all potential risks, the impact of those risks, and who is responsible for monitoring and reacting to the risk if it occurs. Your risk management plan template should include descriptions of potential risks, the level of impact a risk would have on a project, the likelihood of that risk occurring, and a dedicated individual to monitor that specific risk.

What are the benefits of creating a risk management plan template?

A risk management plan template can help your team proactively prevent risks, provide your team clarity on contingency plans, and encourage accountability with team members. Creating a risk management plan template can help standardize processes across the organization, further preventing more risk.

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