Risk Assessment Template-Establish Context

/ May 20th, 2010/ Posted in How to do Risk Assessment / 2 Comments »

Let’s take a look at the elements of a risk assessment template to Establish Context which you can use in the first step in the risk ID/assessment process. Keep in mind that this to establish context for an individual risk identification and assessment exercise on a given topic.

This is a list that has evolved over time, and can be modified to suit the risk context of your organization and line of business:

  1. Organizational Setting; Roles and Responsibilities
    You want to define the organizational unit that is responsible for this particular risk assessment.
  2. Planning/Program Setting and Time Frame
    In other words, what is the process, plan or project under review? There must be some sort of project charter or authoritative documentation.
  3. Goals and Objectives of the Plan/Program under Review
    NB – Not the risk management goals, but rather goals of the project you are scrutinizing for risk. List available work breakdowns.
  4. Environmental Scan: Key Trends and Conditions
    NB – these are not risks; rather, they are largely known. You can state the associated risks during your risk ID session.
  5. Procedural Standards / Organizational and Professional Value Criteria
    Even business rules, ethical guidelines  or customer service ideals – whatever guides the behaviour of your organization.
  6. Analysis of Participants / Stakeholders / Agents / Constituents
    The key here is to note their objectives and values – these can easily be sources of risk.
  7. Relevant Risk Categories
    Generic categories of risk, as well as specialized ones that are unique to your business, should be listed in preparation for the risk ID exercise.
  8. Procedural Constraints on Risk ID/Assessment Process
    NB – not constraints of the project; not risks – rather, known constraints of time/resources that will compromise your effort to conduct a comprehensive risk ID.
  9. Deliverable of the Risk ID/Assessment Process.
    Just to clarify to risk ID session participants what they must aim for.

Get the risk context statement reviewed and signed off by the project lead and round table members. The risk identification session itself then goes like clockwork, because you’ve clarified assumptions beforehand.

You can find detailed discussion to accompany the template in these posts:

How to do Risk Assessment-Establish the Context Part 1

How to do Risk Assessment-Establish the Context Part 2

Pitfalls in Writing the Risk Context Paper

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

Tags: , , ,


  1. Edward
    2010/06/14 at 17:22:38

    Hi Chris,

    Sorry for the delay! I am just getting this site up and running.

    I checked your risk management method and some of the other posts on the ClearRisk site. I think there is good material there. You are reaching out to small and medium-sized businesses, and that sector needs risk management, yet rarely seems to have time for it.

    I would caution readers to ‘establish context’ before doing risk ID. Your site gives good advice in suggesting categories of strategic risk, per author Adrian J. Slywotzky.

    Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  2. Chris Gardner
    2010/06/09 at 07:59:51

    ClearRisk developed a model that has 5 steps from industry best practices and experience and in a way to which business people can relate.

    What are your thoughts on this simplified risk management process – It can be found here http://blog.clearrisk.com/the-risk-management-process-in-5-steps/

Leave a Reply

Name required

Mail (will not be published) required