Managing risks in a project is crucial to its success. According to research, only 30% of projects get completed on time, and more than 70% of them struggle with delays or additional expenses. To avoid such failures, the Project Manager should acknowledge key risks and implement appropriate countermeasures, and to do so he or she creates a risk register. It is a tool that helps manage and anticipate project risks. But how to prepare a successful risk register for project planning and execution? Read on to find out!

How to create a project risk register? – table of contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. What should the risk factor register look like?
  3. How to prepare a risk register of risk?
  4. Summary


Risk is an integral part of any project. To manage it effectively, you need a tool that helps you identify, monitor and respond effectively to emerging obstacles, in other words, a risk register. The successful completion of many corporate and organizational projects is jeopardized at some stage of implementation. For this reason, the Project Manager has to get familiar with risk management methods and tools, and above all – to skillfully prepare a risk register.

A risk register, also known as a risk log or risk factor register, is a document that records all identified obstacles, threats or hazards. It also includes their analysis as well as countermeasures to take in case of their emergence during the project. The register becomes a collection and storage of information about all risks and opportunities related to the project.

What should the risk factor register look like?

The risk register should appear as a legible document and contain the following information:

  • Description of the risk – what is the risk and what area of the project it affects?
  • Possible consequences – what threats do the hazards pose to the project? Will it entail the emergence of further repercussions? Can we prevent them?
  • Probability of occurrence – is it a casual risk, associated with, for example, delays in completing tasks; or is it a rare one that can jeopardize the entire project effort?
  • Priority – how serious is this risk concerning others with a similar probability of occurrence?
  • Responsible persons – who will bear the responsibility for responding to the risk appropriately, quickly and effectively?
  • Risk response plan – what actions to take when difficulties emerge?

The risk register should therefore gather information on all identified risks, their analysis, as well as countermeasures. It also needs regular updating to all project stakeholders so that everyone can keep abreast of and respond to emerging risks and emergencies.

risk register

How to prepare a risk factor register?

The preparation of the risk register consists of several steps:

  1. Risk identification. The first step is to identify all risks associated with the project. You can do it by conducting a brainstorming session with the team or reviewing literature related to the project. Once you create a long list of risks, analyze to break down all potential threats into technical, resource-related, and project business environments.
  2. Risk assessment. Once identified, analyze the risks to assess their potential impact on the project. Answer the questions:
    • Which risks are most likely to occur? It’s also a good idea to list them in order of likelihood of occurrence. This will help you determine which ones need the most attention.
    • What might their consequences be? Here the best way would be to start the list with the most serious consequences.
  3. Risk response planning. Based on the analysis and prioritization, the Project Manager should develop a response plan for each of the identified risks. Preferably, define the measures to take in case the risk occurs. It’s also a good idea to prepare a contingency plan, a blueprint with scenarios including guidance on how to behave when such events happen that you can implement as soon as it occurs.
  4. Update the register. The risk register should be updated regularly to properly track and manage identified risks, as well as add new ones as needed as the project progresses.

One of the most common mistakes made when preparing a risk register is insufficient analysis of the causes of risks and insufficient planning of risk responses. To avoid this mistake, the Project Manager should devote time and attention to analysis and planning. In this way, he or she will gain confidence that the most likely risks have been properly identified.


A risk register is a tool for managing and anticipating risks associated with project implementation. It contains detailed information on the identified risks, their analysis and countermeasures. Moreover, the project team should cooperate in drafting the register at the planning stage of the project, and then keep it updated and available to all project stakeholders.

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How to create a project risk register? | #44 Getting started with project management caroline becker avatar 1background

Author: Caroline Becker

As a Project Manager, Caroline is an expert in finding new methods to design the best workflows and optimize processes. Her organizational skills and ability to work under time pressure make her the best person to turn complicated projects into reality.

Getting started with project management:

  1. What is a project?
  2. What is project management?
  3. How to manage projects?
  4. Project management methods
  5. Types of projects
  6. 4 examples of projects
  7. Prioritization of projects
  8. Areas of project activity
  9. Definition of success in project management
  10. Why use project management software?
  11. How to choose the best project management software?
  12. Overview of project management software
  13. Project life cycle
  14. What is the project vision for?
  15. Project goal. What is it and how to define it well?
  16. Project initiation phase - what to pay attention to?
  17. The domain of planning in project management
  18. What is a project schedule and what is it for?
  19. How to use milestones in a project?
  20. Project execution
  21. How to prepare a successful project contingency plan?
  22. Importance of project closure
  23. Project failure. 5 reasons why projects fail
  24. 4Ps of management: project, product, program and portfolio
  25. Most important tasks and responsibilities of the Project Manager
  26. Most useful project manager skills
  27. How to become a project manager?
  28. 5 books every project manager should read
  29. How to set up a project team?
  30. Work breakdown structure - how to delegate work in a project?
  31. How to lead a team during hybrid work?
  32. Challenges project managers face when working with a team
  33. Types of project meetings
  34. Project monitoring. What parameters to watch?
  35. How to write a compelling
  36. How to define the scope of a project and avoid scope creep?
  37. Feasibility study – can we implement this project?
  38. Risk analysis in projects and tools to facilitate it
  39. How to create a project charter?
  40. What is a stakeholder register?
  41. Gantt chart in project management planning
  42. How to create a project budget?
  43. Time management in project
  44. How to create a project risk register?
  45. Project risk management strategies
  46. Project marketing
  47. Sources and areas of change in the project
  48. Project management change models
  49. What's after Agile? Methods in project management