There are many techniques for identifying risks but we have found the most useful to be a Risk Breakdown Structure (RBS).

The RBS is a framework that once developed can be used for risk management across an organisation from a project through to business up to strategic planning. (Basically any planned business activity with an objective.) We now have a range of generic RBS that can be amended to suit any organisation. This is a little easier than starting from a blank sheet of paper.

Once developed an RBS may need to be reviewed every 6 or 12 months but does not normally need much adjustment. The RBS can then help with the start of workshops to precipitate thinking and to ensure the identification effort is spent on the key issues at that point in time (eg an approval gate or as input to contract documents).

We have found that this process enables some 80% of risks to be identified during the planning phase of a project (ie before the start of implementation).

With a suitable toolset (such as RiskOrganizer) the RBS enables risk management data to be cut and diced to suit specific reporting and management needs not just for a project but across a programme or portfolio of projects. More information is available in our brochure Risk Breakdown Structures at a glance. You can also email queries@risktools.com.au with your organisation type and we will send you some generic RBS that may help. The free download of RiskOrganizer also contains some sample RBS.