Risk identification is a crucial step in the risk management process, as it allows you to analyse the possible causes and consequences of uncertainty, and plan appropriate responses to mitigate or avoid them.
There are many risk identification techniques that you can use, depending on the nature, scope and complexity of your project or organisation. Some of the most common ones are:
This is a creative and collaborative technique that involves generating as many ideas as possible about the potential risks in a group setting. You can use a facilitator to guide the discussion, and record the ideas on a flip chart, whiteboard or sticky notes. Brainstorming can help you identify a wide range of risks, both internal and external, and encourage participation from different stakeholders.
- SWOT analysis
This is a strategic technique that involves analysing the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your project or organisation. You can use a matrix to organise the information, and evaluate how each factor can affect your objectives. SWOT analysis can help you identify both positive and negative risks, and assess your competitive advantage or disadvantage.
This is a simple and structured technique that involves using a list of predefined questions or categories to identify the potential risks. You can use a checklist based on your previous experience, industry standards, best practices or lessons learned from similar projects or organisations.
Checklist can help you ensure that you cover all the relevant areas of risk, and avoid overlooking any important aspects.
This is a personal and interactive technique that involves asking questions to the key stakeholders, experts or team members involved in your project or organisation. You can use an interview guide to structure the conversation, and probe for more details or clarification. Interviews can help you gain insights from different perspectives, and elicit tacit knowledge or information that may not be available in written documents.
- Delphi technique
This is a systematic and iterative technique that involves collecting opinions from a panel of experts through a series of questionnaires. You can use an anonymous and confidential process to avoid bias or influence, and aggregate the responses to reach a consensus. Delphi technique can help you identify complex or uncertain risks, and benefit from the expertise and judgement of specialists.
These are some examples of risk identification techniques that you can use in your project or organisation. However, there are many other techniques that you can explore, such as fishbone diagram, cause and effect analysis, scenario analysis, PESTLE analysis, etc. The choice of the technique depends on your specific situation and needs, and you can also combine or adapt different techniques to suit your purpose.
Risk identification is not a one-time activity, but an ongoing process that should be performed throughout the project or organisation lifecycle. By using appropriate risk identification techniques, you can enhance your awareness and understanding of the potential risks, and improve your decision making and performance.