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By Denis G.

2 minutes

Visualise Risks Using a Risk Map

Whether you are managing a large program or a small project you will need to constantly highlight the key risks to your project or program steering group. One of the best ways I know to visually display risks in a succinct manner is to use a Risk Map (also known as a Risk Heat Map).

A Risk Map is a very simply diagram which very quickly highlights the key risks to your program or project. An example Risk Map is shown below.



On the vertical axis you have the probably of a given risk occurring, that is, the likelihood that the risk will materialise and become an Issue. On the horizontal axis we have the impact that the risk will have on the project or program should it materialise.

One of the benefits of this method of displaying risks is that it’s easy to see how risky the program or project is. If all the risks are clustered in the top right of the diagram then clearly your managing a very risky program or project.

When analysing risks as part of the Risk Management Process I score risks from 1-5 for both probability and impact, with 1 representing a low probability or impact, and 5 representing a high probability or severe risk to the project or program.

I have uploaded this diagram as part of a ppt so you can use it in your own presentations. On the second page of this template I’ve included a slide allowing you to record the mitigations for those risks you have highlighted. Download the Program Risk PPT template.

Cite this article

Minute Tools Content Team, Visualise Risks Using a Risk Map, Minute Tools, Jun, 2009,
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Denis G.

Originally hailing from Dublin, Denis has always been interested in all things business and started EPM in 2009. Before EPM, Denis held a leadership position at Nokia, owned a sports statistics business, and was a member of the PMI's (Project Management Institute’s) Global Executive Council for two years. Denis now spends his days helping others understand complex business topics.

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