What Is Change Management? Process & Models Explained

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

One thing is certain: change is going to happen in your organization or project. To best plan and respond to change, first, a clear definition of change management must be understood.

What Is Change Management?

The term change management refers to the actions, tools and models implemented to manage different types of change either at the project or organizational level. There are several organizational change management strategies that can be applied to manage work, resources, business processes and budget allocations as well as different types of organizational changes.

At the project level, you’ll need to set up a change management framework that guarantees that all changes to the project plan are properly approved, implemented and tracked so that the project timeline, budget or resources are not affected by any sudden changes made to the initial scope, schedule or budget baseline.

ProjectManager helps you make a change management plan and track it in real time, whether you’re managing project changes or organizational changes. Set up the plan with our robust Gantt charts, which populate the plan on a visual timeline so you can see it all in one place. Add resources, tasks, durations, milestones and task dependencies. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

Gantt chart in projectmanagerGantt chart in projectmanager
ProjectManager’s Gantt charts create a change management plan and track it in real time. Learn more

Change Management Models

Using change management models helps guide teams through necessary transitions at a project or organizational level. It can be difficult to adapt to new processes, but when you create a change management plan, you can obtain benefits for your organization. These change management models can help plan and manage organizational change.

Lewin’s Change Management Model

Kurt Lewin, a German-American psychologist, developed a change management model that breaks down change based on three phases: unfreeze, change and refreeze. The first phase prepares you for the change, then it’s implemented and, finally, that change is solidified.

McKinsey’s 7-S Change Management model

A more involved model than Lewin’s, this involves seven elements. They are the seven S’s, which are strategy, structure, systems, shared values, style, staff and skill. Unlike Lewin’s there is no specific order. They are used to address how each impacts the other in order to identify weaknesses.

Kotter’s Change Management Model

Dr. John P. Kotter is a professor of leadership, emeritus, at the Harvard Business School. He is known as the inventor of an eight-step process for leading change that has become instrumental in change management strategy.

  1. Create urgency
  2. Form a powerful coalition
  3. Create a vision for the change
  4. Communicate the vision
  5. Remove obstacles
  6. Create short-term wins
  7. Build on the change
  8. Anchor the change

This change management theory is an expansion on what is the bedrock of change management. Change management stands on four pillars. They are the determination that there’s a need for change, preparing and planning for that change, implementing that change and, lastly, sustaining the change.

ADKAR Change Management Model

This bottom-up method is focused on the people behind the change. ADKAR is an acronym that stands for awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and reinforcement. These are not in any order, but address the need to change, participate and support the change, know how to make the change, have the skills and behavior necessary for the change and then sustain it.

Bridges Transition Model

With this model, you’re focusing on the emotional reactions to change as it is implemented. Rather than dealing with the change itself, this model looks at how the people respond to ending, losing or letting go of something, the neutral point after the change is done and then opening up to a new beginning.

Kübler-Ross Change Management Framework

Based on the five stages of grief, this method acknowledges the emotional reaction people have to change. Just as the grieving process has five stages, so does the change process. These are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Satir Change Management Model

This model is about measuring the emotional state of employees by tracking performance through these five stages of change: late status quo, resistance, chaos, integration and new status quo. Therefore, this model is about preparing and accepting change, not figuring out what needs change.

PDCA Change Management Model

Also called the Deming cycle, this model, PDCA stands for plan, do, check and act. These four phases help with process improvement by identifying the issue, making changes to address it, monitoring and taking action.

Nudge Theory

As the name implies, this theory is about using subtle, indirect suggestions that are evidenced-based to change employees into making the changes required. For this to be successful you must define the change, take into account the employee’s point of view, offer proof that the change is valid and it’s a choice, listen to feedback, limit options and offer short-term wins to solidify the change.

Change Management Process

Change management can take many forms. From small projects to large organizations, we all must deal with change and there’s no single approach when it comes to it. However, here are some steps you can follow to guide you through the change management process.

1. Define the Change

First, it’s important to define what the change is and general information about it so you and your team know how to proceed. Ask yourself questions about the change, such as whether is it planned or unplanned. Will it have an incremental rollout, or will it need a faster implementation? These questions will help you gather information about the change so that you can create an effective change management plan. Make sure you use change orders to control change in your projects, programs and portfolios.

2. Create a Change Vision

Your change vision is a description of what your organization will look like after a change has been successfully implemented. Similar to a gap analysis, it describes the difference between the current state and the desired future state and the expected benefits for the project or organization.

3. Select a Change Management Model

There are several change management models you can choose from, each with its own pros and cons depending on the specific characteristics of your project or organization.

4. Create a Change Management Plan

A change management plan explains how the change will be managed, either at the project or organizational level. It describes what are the change management roles and responsibilities, who is on the change control board, how will the change request process work, and any other details that are related to change management.

5. Assemble a Change Management Team

Your change management plan has all the strategies, guidelines and procedures that you will use to manage change. Now you’ll need a team to execute them. Assemble a cross-functional team, so that you have different perspectives to analyze change.

6. Implement & Track the Changes

The work isn’t done once you’ve implemented a change in your project or organization. It’s important to follow up and track the impact of your changes using data and key performance indicators (KPIs).

Change Management Templates

Here are some free templates that can help you with change management at the project level. We also have dozens of project management templates to help you with planning, scheduling and tracking.

Change Request Template

This free template is ideal to streamline your change request approval process. It can be easily customized and shared with your team.

Change Order Template

Change orders are a fundamental project change management document. This free template is ideal to get you started.

Change Log Template

This change log template is ideal to keep track of every change that takes place during your project life cycle.

ProjectManager Helps with Change Management

Once you have defined your process, you need to decide on what tools you want to use to manage that change control process. Many teams turn to simple Excel templates to list change requests and track progress. Typically there are several data points you want to track when you are managing a change control process:

  • Description of change request
  • Who requested it
  • Priority of item
  • Assignee in charge of implementing change
  • Date change was implemented
  • Notes

That’s a simple way to track the full process. Some project management software tools, however, help you manage change as a part of your project management. For example, in ProjectManager, you can track changes, along with risks and issues, right in the software.

ProjectManager's risk task cardProjectManager's risk task card

The benefit of incorporating change management into your PM tool is:

  • Track changes with the project
  • Attach change requests to specific tasks
  • Get email alerts when changes are updated
  • Track changes on a dashboard.

When changes are connected to particular projects, or even when you make organizational changes its own project, it can help to use tools that keep your process moving forward through automation and tracking capabilities. Whatever tool you use, be sure to remember that change must be led. While change happens, managing change takes leadership.

Change happens, but without the right tools to manage that change, it’s the change and not you who is directing the project. To have a strong change management process, you must have an able change management tool. ProjectManager is online project management software that gives you real-time data so you can identify change as it’s happening. Then you have the features you and your team require to resolve those changes. Get started with ProjectManager for free and manage change by taking this free 30-day trial.

Related Posts

How to Write a Project Description: A Quick Guide

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

A project description seems self-explanatory, but don’t underestimate a well-written project description as it sets your project up for success. It acts as a communication tool for stakeholders and shares the project vision in a clear and actionable fashion.

Let’s talk a look at what a project description is, why it’s so important and how to write an impactful one. Then we’ll throw in some free project management templates that can get you started and show how project management tools help turn the project description into a reality.

What Is a Project Description?

A project description outlines the details of one project, including all its phases and processes involved, in a single document. It addresses the problem that initiated the project and the desired goals and objectives.

But it doesn’t have to stop there. The project description can also go into planning, including the activities that the team will execute, the timeline and even the location of the project. The benefits of the project are also outlined in the project description.

This is done at the initiation phase of the project and will be referred to throughout the project as a refresher. The project manager is responsible for writing the project description and helps guide the project manager and their team throughout the life cycle of the project.

In a sense, the project description is the setup and the project execution is the delivery. But a project description, as helpful as it is, will not manage and track your project to help it stay on schedule. What you need is project management software.

ProjectManager is online project management software that helps you plan, manage and track your project in real time to make more insightful decisions. Turn your project description into an actionable plan with our robust Gantt charts. Organize tasks on a visual timeline, link all four dependencies and filter for the critical path. Then set a baseline and track project variance to better manage cost and time. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chartProjectManager's Gantt chart
ProjectManager’s Gantt chart helps you track your plan in real time. Learn more

Project Description vs. Project Proposal

The project description is part of the larger project proposal. While the project description covers a lot of ground, it’s really more of a high-level view of the project. While some expand on the description to include more planning with the objectives, it’s still a cursory look.

The project proposal is a more expansive document. In this context, the project description is just a summary of what is to come in the larger project proposal, which will flesh out that outline. The project proposal will sometimes refer to the project description as an executive summary. Whatever it’s called, it’s the lead into the bigger picture.

Naturally, a project proposal goes more in-depth. There are sections on the background or history of the previous projects, requirements for the project, the approach, such as techniques and skills in executing the project and, finally, who the decision-makers in the project are.

Project Description vs. Project Summary

A project description isn’t a project summary, though they might sound the same. As we’ve discussed, a project description is more of a high-level overview of the project being proposed. It’s usually the opening of the project proposal when a project is being pitched.

The purpose of the project is explained in the project description. It also briefly describes how the project will run and what it plans to achieve. A project summary is far more detailed. It’s very much like the project proposal defined above in that it goes into background, processes and more.

However, these terms are often used to describe different things. A project summary is more commonly used as a project description as an introduction to the project proposal. Whatever you call it, in this context, they share the same definition of being a brief overview of the project.

How to Write a Project Description: 6 Key Steps

Writing a project description is more difficult than it might seem. Yes, it’s brief, but that means every word must count. To accomplish this, you need to understand the project inside and out, from its purpose to its scope. But the project is described simply without leaving out any key details.

That said, everything that’s critical to the project plan should be included. You don’t want to leave out anything relevant or leave anything that’s out of date. Everything in the project description should connect to the purpose of the project. Now you’re ready to write the project description, which should follow these six steps.

1. Summarize

Begin with an outline that should only be a few lines long, but answers the who, what, where, how and why of the project.

2. Define

Explain the reason for the project, such as the problem it solves or the niche it fills. This will define the purpose of the project.

3. Justify

Show your project stakeholders why this project is worth the investment. Prove that they’ll get a good return and explain your metrics if necessary.

4. Evaluate

Make a cost-benefit analysis and show how you plan to measure those gains against the cost of the project.

5. Explain the Project Approach

Here you want to briefly explain how you’ll meet the project goals and objectives. Describe the project management methodology and resources that will be used.

6. Estimate the Timeline

Forecast the duration of the project, including the working hours and resources for each phase of the project’s life cycle.

When Should You Write a Project Description?

Now that you know the why and the how for a project description, it’s time to explore the when. Obviously, the project description is one of the first things that you’ll write as it’s often the lead to a project proposal.

Writing the project description is part of the initiation stage of the project life cycle. This is the point at which a project is defined, evaluated, and, possibly, authorized by the project sponsor.

It’s best not to write the summary until you’ve done the groundwork of defining key deliverables, risks, an estimate of costs and resources. The amount of work this takes is dependent on how big or complex the project is.

Why Is It Important to Write a Project Description?

The project description is the opening in your attempt to prove the validity of the project and its return on investment (ROI). It should make the reader, whether they’re a customer, sponsor or stakeholder, understand the project and why it’s right for them.

It also acts almost as a blueprint or roadmap for the project. The project description contains important information about the project. This includes a brief look at costs and duration, all of which will make clear what it’ll take to implement the project.

What you’re doing isn’t only selling the project but also setting realistic project expectations. It’s critical that the stakeholders know the key objectives and the time and costs associated with achieving them. That way, if the project is approved, it’ll be easier to manage stakeholder expectations because you’ve already created a baseline.

Free Project Management Templates

In order to help you write a thorough project description, ProjectManager has free templates to give you a head start. Our site features dozens of free project management templates for Excel and Word that cover all the phases of a project. The following are just a few that relate to our topic.

Executive Summary Template

The executive summary is very close to a product description. It covers similar ground and can even be interchangeable with the project description. Using our free executive summary template for Word will lay out everything you need to fill in for a thorough project description.

Project Proposal Template

The project description or executive summary is the first section of any project proposal. Since you’ll need to write a description and a proposal, our free project proposal template for Word includes the intro and all the other important information you’ll need to include to get approval.

Project Budget Template

You’ll have to estimate the cost of the project in your project description. Our project budget template for Excel is more detailed than what you’ll need but all that work will come in handy if the project is approved and you have to create a budget.

How ProjectManager Turns a Project Description Into a Project Plan

The project description ideally leads to an approved project. Now you’ll have to turn the elements that you touched on into a workable project plan. ProjectManager is online project management software that has real-time tools to help you meet your objectives without going over schedule or budget.

Use The Tools You Want

While the Gantt chart is great for project managers to visually plan their schedule, it’s not the best for the team when assigned tasks to execute. That’s why we offer multiple project views, all of which are updated together in real time. Now teams can choose the tools they prefer to work with, whether that’s our robust task lists or the visual workflow of a kanban board.

ProjectManager's kanban boardProjectManager's kanban board
Monitor Progress and Performance in Real Time

Giving teams the freedom to work how they want doesn’t mean you can’t manage them. Our real-time dashboard automatically gathers data on time, costs, workload and more. It then calculates and displays these metrics in easy-to-read graphs and charts. Best of all, there’s no setup required as with lightweight competitors. It’s plug-and-play.

ProjectManager's dashboardProjectManager's dashboard

Of course, your stakeholders are also going to want to stay updated on progress. They won’t need the high-level view of a dashboard, which is why we also have customizable reports that can provide greater detail. It just takes a couple of keystrokes to generate status reports, project variance reports and more. Then easily share them with stakeholders.

Related Project Description Content

We’ve touched on executive summaries, project proposals and more. If you want a more in-depth look at them, below is some related content. Remember, ProjectManager is more than empowering software. We’re also the online hub for all things project management, publishing blogs weekly and offering free guides and templates.

  1. How to Write an Executive Summary: A Quick Guide
  2. How to Write a Project Proposal (Steps & Template Included)
  3. Project Planning Guide
  4. Project Scheduling Guide
  5. 7 Steps for a Successful Project Budget

ProjectManager is award-winning software that helps you plan, manage and track your projects in real time. Our risk management, task management and resource management features keep you on schedule and budget. Join teams at Avis, Nestle and Siemens who are using our software to deliver success. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

Related Posts

A Project Sponsor Wrecked My Project

PM Articles by Project Times. 

Sponsors play an important role throughout the life of a project. They help support, shape, and integrate the project to realize the benefits for the business. But the Sponsors can also hinder the success of a project. They can harm a project by becoming too elusive or too intrusive. In this article, I will share the havoc caused by an intrusive sponsor.

An Intrusive sponsor tries to take too much control over the project. It is important to remember that the Sponsor is not the Project Manager and, as such, should not be trying to micromanage the project.

Let us first start with the definition of a project sponsor.

A Project Sponsor is a person or group who owns the project and provides resources and support for the project, program, or portfolio to enable its success. Every project has at least one project sponsor. Project sponsors are senior managers or executives who liaise between the project and organizational goals.

One of the critical success factors for any project is the presence and participation of an effective project sponsor. The Project Management Institute reports that the top driver of those projects meeting their original business goals is an actively engaged executive sponsor (PMI, 2018). However, the same project management research also found that one in three failed projects are linked to poorly engaged executive sponsorship.

Sponsor’s Primary responsibilities:

– Sponsors help clarify project goals from the organization’s perspective and guide project managers to make consistent tradeoffs across the project’s schedule, scope, and resources.

– Sponsors serve as a point of escalation when decisions or actions are needed to keep the project on track for matters outside the authority of the project manager.


Not every Sponsor wants to be confined to their primary responsibilities.

Not every Sponsor wants to guide PMs, preferring to micromanage them.

Not every Sponsor respects the PMs boundaries and authority.

In some cases, a sponsor’s overzealousness to make a project successful can sabotage the project. A sponsor can create or destroy value for a business. They can act as a hinderance to project success.

Here is my true story between myself (the Project Manager) and the Sponsor. Let’s call him Mr. A.


A brief background about this project

It was a project in a startup company. I was well supported by the Sponsor, who also happened to be the owner of that company.

Here are the few scenarios which lead to the project’s doom:


As the project had aggressive timelines, Mr. A suggested hiring freelancers to expedite the work. He recommended a few profiles that he had shortlisted from LinkedIn. I selected one freelancer from that list and started working with him.

What an excellent camaraderie between a Sponsor and a PM. Right?


The supportive Sponsor wanted to give more support. He started micromanaging me. He was asking questions like:

How frequently do you connect with that freelancer? How are you tracking his work?

As the freelancer was doing data entry work, I delegated the supervision of his work to another team member. This way, I could concentrate on more pressing issues in the project.

But Mr. A did not like it. He wanted me to supervise that freelancer directly.

Overriding PM’s decisions

We were working hard to achieve the unrealistic timelines. As the due date got closer, I decided to share the actual situation with the customer and ask for more time. I hope that sharing the information about the real efforts to complete the ongoing tasks would help the customers see the massiveness of the work. I would own the misjudgments of estimates done earlier in the project (although those commitments were made by Mr. A.)

But it does not matter as we are one team, Right?


Alas, I did not get to share this information with the customer. Instead, Mr. A had a private conversation with the customer and asked for a one-week extension timeline. In place of the extension, he also committed to doing some extra work.

I was caught unaware when I received this information from the customer on a slack group channel.

Expect the impossible

We could not deliver the work we had already committed for this week, on top of the extra work due in another week. I became furious! How could Mr. A have this conversation without first discussing the impact of the scope changes with me? Mr. A crossed a boundry and overstepped my authority on this project.

Many other things unfolded after that and I eventually left the project. Mr. A eagerly stepped into the shoes of  interim Project Manager.

I became an observer on this project and provided my help as and when required.

How the wrecked project looked

Firstly, the project could not be delivered even after the time extension that Mr. A got from the customer.

Secondly, he made the entire company work on that project.

And thirdly, the customer was unhappy about this delay and voiced his concern over the slack channel by sending angry messages to the entire team.

We all know that for a project to be successful, the Project Manager and the Sponsor need to work hand in hand. And we also know that this collaboration is often missing in projects.

In many cases, the PM has to spend more time handling Sponsor queries rather than project queries.

How should a PM handle an intrusive Sponsor?

Before talking more about this subject, understand that it is a sensitive topic to handle.  As in most cases, the Sponsor also happens to be the PM’s immediate boss.

Hence PMs need to handle it so they do not damage the working relationship with their manager.

  1. Train and Educate – Sponsors (specifically, those who are also startup owners) must be educated on what it takes to effectively work with a project team. Sponsors should be explicitly and deliberately taught to deal with projects, project issues, and project people. In addition, they need to learn about change management – the effective tradeoff between cost, duration, and performance.
  1. Clarify Expectations – Understanding what the Sponsor expects from a PM. They may have a different understanding of what project managers do and how PMs can help them. For example, some people might think PMs just do all the paperwork and nothing else. Ensure the Sponsor completely understands a PMs roles and responsibilities.
  1. Set up the Communication plan – Establish the frequency, granularity, and channels for communication between the PM and the Sponsor to share the project progress or impediments. Communication channels include status meetings, automated reports, dashboards, and impromptu conversations. When sponsors start weighing in on all the minor details, the PM can remind them about the agreements made in the communication plan.

Project sponsors are essential to the success of any project. They provide the financial support and resources necessary for a project to exist. They can have a hugely positive impact on the success of a project. While they can be helpful, they can also hinder if not properly managed.

The three ways in which we can handle the intrusive Sponsor is:

–             Educate them about Sponsor and PM roles and responsibilities

–             Set the clear expectations

–             Be honest with them to ensure a successful project outcome

We can also sum up the above three points in a single sentence – A Sponsor needs to know their boundaries and accept the boundaries of a Project Manager!

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15 Free IT Project Management Templates for Excel, Word & More

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

IT projects are unique. IT teams plan hardware and software installations, upgrades and rollouts, and the tools they use are specific to working with infrastructure, information systems and computers. These IT project management templates are essential to get those jobs done properly.

ProjectManager has dozens of free project management templates for Excel and Word that IT managers need when working on web development, software development, mobile app development, network configuration and so much more. Try these 15 free IT project management templates today.

1. IT Project Plan Template

IT project managers are responsible for many different types of projects, from developing new systems to upgrading old enterprise applications. But every IT project has one thing in common: they start with an IT plan. With our free IT project plan template, IT project managers can organize tasks, costs and resources with scheduled deadlines and deliverables.

IT project plan templateIT project plan template
ProjectManager’s IT project plan template is free to use and more powerful than Excel. Learn more

Using an IT project management template saves you time and helps you to start a project more efficiently, which leads to a more successful outcome. Not only are you able to figure out what you’re going to do, but you can share the IT project plan template with your team to get them on the same page.

2. Gantt Chart Template

When making an IT plan, or any plan for that matter, the go-to tool is the Gantt chart. It’s a tried-and-true tool for good reason; Gantt charts create a visual timeline in which all your project tasks are scheduled. They can manage time, costs and resources. Creating a Gantt chart in Mircosoft Word or Microsoft Excel is frustrating, especially when there’s one ready for you to use when you download our free Gantt chart template for Excel.

Free Gantt chart template for IT projectsFree Gantt chart template for IT projects

3. IT Risk Assessment Template

IT projects are no different than any other type of project in that they’re rife with risk. IT risk carries an extra burden in that most businesses, regardless of what they do, demand that their IT systems work. If something goes down or is compromised in any way, it can lead to a significant financial loss or worse. This is why our free IT risk assessment template for Excel is so important.

ProjectManager's IT risk assessment templateProjectManager's IT risk assessment template

The structure of any risk assessment tool has common elements. Ours lists the risk numerically, which makes it easy to track, as well describing the risk and the control environment. It collects data but also defines the actions to take if the issues do in fact arise so you can mitigate the risk. There’s also a calculator to note the likelihood of the risk occurring and, if it does, what impact it will have.

4. Action Plan Template

Whether you’re responding to risk or simply planning an IT project, you need a strategy. Our free action plan template for Excel is a document that outlines the steps you should take in order to achieve that strategy. IT project managers can use this IT project management template to visualize how to turn the strategy into actionable steps, which can be broken down into subtasks or action items.

Action plan template for IT teamsAction plan template for IT teams

IT project managers can use the free template during the planning stage of the project. It outlines goals, action steps, tasks and a timeline and can address business, strategic and corrective action as needed. It’s a versatile tool. However you use it, an action plan provides a framework that helps you think pragmatically and ensures you don’t overlook important tasks.

5. IT Project Budget Template

Getting an accurate count of the costs of your IT project is how you ensure you have the funds to do the work properly. That includes everything from your team, equipment and more. It’s a lot of costs to track, which is why IT project managers can download our free project budget template for Excel.

ProjectManager's project budget templateProjectManager's project budget template

Not only will it help you create a more accurate budget but it’ll help you monitor your costs as you execute the project. The IT project management template captures labor, consultant and software license costs to name a few. But it also collects recurring costs such as phone bills, office space and equipment costs. Remember, you’re not only creating a budget but a cost control mechanism.

6. IT Server Maintenance Checklist

If the server goes down, trouble is around the corner. To avoid that, make sure to schedule maintenance. There are many things to check to ensure that all are well, which is why we recommend downloading our free server maintenance checklist for Excel. This free IT project management template helps you do a thorough job.

ProjectManager's service maintenance checklistProjectManager's service maintenance checklist

Using the template is simple. On the left-hand side are a variety of tasks that are common to server maintenance, such as updates, security, backups, monitoring, file system maintenance and more. On the right is a grid where you can schedule those tasks as daily, weekly, monthly or occasionally. The template is customizable so you can add or subtract what you want so it better reflects your responsibilities.

7. Dashboard Template

Monitoring IT systems is key to keeping software and hardware alike running smoothly. By having a high-level view, it’s possible to not only track progress and performance but catch any anomalies that might indicate issues that need to be addressed before they become problems. Use our free dashboard template for Excel and track this data at a glance.

Project Dashboard TemplateProject Dashboard Template

Use this IT project management template to track keep performance indicators (KPIs) such as tasks, workload, task length and cost. The colorful bar graphs and charts make it easy to digest the data quickly and provide IT project managers with the perspective they need to get valuable insights that’ll guide better decision-making.

8. IT Risk Register Template

Every IT project manager knows that risk is always around the corner. That’s just part of project management. Planning for it is also part of project management. Our free risk register template for Excel gives you the tools to plan and mitigate risk in your IT projects. This tool allows IT project managers to prepare a strategy that helps them to respond to risk and resolve or take advantage of it if it occurs in their project.

ProjectManager's risk register templateProjectManager's risk register template

This IT project management template numbers risks to make them easy to track. You can also describe the risk, its impact and what response you’ll have if it becomes an issue in the IT project. There’s also a column to rank the level of the risk from high to low, which helps with prioritization. Finally, you can assign an owner who’s responsible for identifying and mitigating the risk.

9. IT Issue Tracking Template

Issues are problems. Whether they’re risks that you planned for or something that comes out of the blue, they can sidetrack your IT project. When an issue arises, you have to be able to identify it and resolve it quickly before it impacts the time, scope or cost of your project. That’s what our free issue-tracking template for Excel is designed to do.

ProjectManager's issue-tracking templateProjectManager's issue-tracking template

Use the free IT project management template to capture any issues that show up in your project, which is the first step in developing an action plan to deal with the issue. There’s a column to describe the issue and its impact. Then you can add the priority, the date it was identified and who’s responsible for responding to it. There’s also space to add the department that’s handling the issue, its status (open or closed) and even a place to add notes.

10. IT Change Log Template

Another risk or issue is change. That change can occur in an IT project due to equipment failure, human error, an act of God, such as a power outage or requests from stakeholders, to name a few. Whatever the reason, changes in a project can impact your schedule, budget and more. To manage them, download our free change log template for Excel.

ProjectManager's change log templateProjectManager's change log template

Everything you need to collect and manage change is included in the document. From the project’s and project manager’s names to the change number and type of change request, it’s all included. There’s also a date to note when the change was requested or occurred, a description of the change and its status. You can also assign it, add a priority and determine when it’s expected to be resolved, understand its impact and outline the action steps that’ll resolve it.

11. GDPR Compliance Checklist

Anyone in IT knows the importance of GDPR (general data protection regulation). While it’s specific to the European Union (EU), any tech company that collects and processes personal information and has a presence in the EU is under a legal requirement to be compliant with this law. Our free GDPR compliance checklist template makes it easy to manage that process.

ProjectManager's GDPR compliance templateProjectManager's GDPR compliance template

Our IT project management template has columns to collect the tasks that are required to remain compliant with the law. It assigns owners to each of these tasks to ensure they’re done in a timely and thorough fashion. There’s also a place to add a deadline and you can even allocate resources to each task as needed. Then simply check them off as you go down the list. It’s an easy way to manage a legal requirement.

12. Requirements Traceability Matrix Template

IT projects have requirements meaning they must be done and done right or else the project suffers. In order to ensure that, use our free requirements traceability matrix template for Excel. It does this by listing all those project requirements and how to track them through the project’s life cycle. This way nothing critical can fall through the cracks.

ProjectManager's requirements traceability matrix templateProjectManager's requirements traceability matrix template

There are many ways in which this IT project management template helps you manage your project requirements. It’s great for quality assurance (QA) and understanding what needs testing to ensure it’s meeting the project requirements. IT project managers can also use this document to help them make data-informed decisions rather than acting on instinct.

13. IT Project Prioritization Matrix Template

Not all IT project managers have the luxury of focusing all their attention on one project. They’re often responsible for a portfolio of work and making sure they allocated their resources wisely among that group. Our free project prioritization matrix template allows you to look at all your IT projects and make objective decisions as to which projects need attention and when.

ProjectManager's project prioritization templateProjectManager's project prioritization template

This Eisenhower matrix is broken into four quadrants. On top, there are two columns: one for do now and the other which says do later. On the left-hand side, there are two rows: crucial and not crucial. Now you can place your projects in one of the four squares to know what must be done immediately, what can be scheduled for the new future, what can be delegated and what can be deleted or moved.

14. Implementation Plan Template

Every IT project starts as an idea that’s codified by a plan, but it needs to be realized by an implementation plan, or the steps required to actualize that plan and produce its deliverable. While it might sound redundant to have the plan to execute a plan, anyone who’s familiar with project management knows using our free implementation plan template for Excel is how you organize those ideas into actionable steps.

ProjectManager's implementation plan templateProjectManager's implementation plan template

The IT project management template is broken up into three distinct parts. First, there is the project strategy, which moves down to processes and actions to implement that strategy. Then there’s the timeline, which shows the planned and actual start and end dates for the tasks as well as the planned hours for the task. Finally, there are the resources to execute those tasks, including materials and costs. With all this mapped out, you can implement your plan successfully.

15. Requirements Gathering Template

Knowing the requirements for an IT project is what starts out the planning phase. They will be collected in a document, which is where our free requirements-gathering template for Word comes in. This IT project management template also acts as a communication tool connecting the requirements of the user to the developer.

ProjectManager's requirements gathering templateProjectManager's requirements gathering template

But it’s not only user requirements that are gathered; there are also business and system requirements captured in the document. The requirements are broken down into seven subsections: user, functional and system requirements, software and user interfaces, workflow activities and change and risk management. There’s also high-level technical architecture sketched out plus maintenance and support. There’s even testing and evaluation, such as objectives, artifacts, users and tasks included.

ProjectManager Helps With IT Project Management

As any IT project manager will tell you, templates are static documents. They can be a step back, not forward, when it comes to managing a project. What you need is project management software, such as ProjectManager. Our online software delivers real-time data for better decision-making. What also makes our software superior to templates is that you can use a variety of tools that all share the same updated data.

Use Multiple Project Views

Not all project tools are created equal. The Gantt chart is ideal for scheduling, but kanban boards visualize and control workflows as you plan and execute sprints or manage your backlog. Teams might prefer using our robust task list, which also shares the same real-time data as the other tools, such as the sheet and calendar view. That means you can work on the tool you want and stay up-to-date with the most current project information.

ProjectManager's kanban boardProjectManager's kanban board
Capture Real-Time Data

Having everyone on the team work on the same live data is key to productivity, but it’s not everything. IT project managers also need a see high-level view of the project whenever they want. Our real-time dashboard does just that. It captures live data and crunches those numbers to display metrics on time, cost and more in easy-to-read graphs and charts. Best of all, there’s no setup required. It’s plug-and-play.

ProjectManager's real-time dashboardProjectManager's real-time dashboard

Reports take you deeper into the data, customizing results to show just what you want to see and making it easy to share with stakeholders to keep them updated. There are also resource management tools that balance workload, risk management tools that track issues and task management tools that keep teams collaborating and productive.

Related IT Project Management Content

If you’re still on the fence about signing up for a free trial of ProjectManager, we have lots of free content you can read. From weekly blog posts to guides, videos, templates and more, we have information on every aspect of the project management phases. Here’s a small sampling of our IT-related content.

ProjectManager is award-winning software that empowers IT teams to plan, manage and track their work in real time. Our collaborative software makes it easy to comment and share anywhere and at any time, whether across departments or continents. Join the teams at Nestle, Avis and Siemens who use our software to succeed. Get started with ProjectManager today.

Related Posts

Maximizing Impact and Efficiency with Zero-Based Portfolio Prioritization

PM Articles by Project Times. 


In today’s competitive business environment, it’s important for organizations to stay ahead of the game. One key to success is being able to effectively prioritize and deliver on projects that will drive strategic goals and bring about competitive advantage. This is where zero-based portfolio prioritization comes in.

But first, let’s consider the importance of prioritization to your portfolio and your business.

Why Prioritize?

Effective project prioritization can bring a number of benefits to your organization, including:

Improved return on investment: Studies have shown that prioritized projects are more likely to drive greater ROI and overall value, as they are more closely aligned with the organization’s strategic goals. Additionally, projects that are well-aligned with strategy are 45% more likely to be delivered to budget and 50% more likely to be delivered on time.

Better support from senior management and other key stakeholders: When projects are clearly linked to strategic imperatives, they have a 57% higher likelihood of success. This is due in part to increased engagement from senior leadership and greater energy behind the projects, which can result in more resources being made available to deliver them.

Reduction of waste: Prioritization ensures that organizations are focused on projects that will add value, rather than those that are no longer relevant. All too often, organizations continue working on outdated projects that consume valuable resources that could be put to better use elsewhere.

Avoidance of resource overload: When organizations do not focus on the most important projects, resources can be stretched too thin, leading to bottlenecks and delays on critical projects. Prioritizing projects effectively frees up people to work on the things that really matter, which can also be more motivating for team members.

What is the Zero-based Portfolio Prioritization Process?

Zero-based portfolio prioritization is a method of evaluating and prioritizing projects based on their potential value, rather than their place in a pre-existing hierarchy or list of priorities. It involves starting with a blank slate and reviewing each project based on its current potential value to the organization.

There are a few different methods that can be used for zero-based portfolio prioritization, including weighted scoring, MoSCoW prioritization, the Eisenhower Matrix, and the Impact and Effort Matrix.


Implementing Zero-based Portfolio Prioritization

So, how do you go about implementing zero-based portfolio prioritization in your organization? Here are the key steps to follow:

Define your criteria: To effectively evaluate and prioritize projects, you’ll need to decide on the criteria you will use. This could include things like ROI, risk level, resource requirements, and cost-benefit ratio. Involve key stakeholders in this process to ensure that the criteria align with the organization’s strategic goals and needs.

Review and evaluate projects: Once you have your criteria defined, review and evaluate each project based on how it aligns with the criteria. This could involve creating a matrix or other tool to help you score and compare projects. Be sure to consider both quantitative and qualitative benefits in your evaluation.

Communicate and act: Once you have your prioritized list of projects, it’s important to communicate the changes to all stakeholders and start working on the revised plan. This can be challenging, as some team members may be disappointed if their projects are deprioritized. Be sure to clearly communicate the reasons for the changes and how they align with the organization’s goals to help mitigate resistance.

Monitor and evaluate: Ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the prioritized projects is key to ensuring that they remain aligned with the organization’s goals and that resources are being used effectively. This may involve regularly reviewing and adjusting the criteria used to evaluate projects, as well as tracking progress and outcomes.

Challenges and Considerations

While zero-based portfolio prioritization can bring many benefits to an organization, it’s important to be aware of the potential challenges and considerations that may come up. These could include:

Resistance to change: As mentioned, it’s common for team members to resist changes to project priorities, especially if their own projects are deprioritized. It’s important to clearly communicate the reasons for the changes and how they align with the organization’s goals to help mitigate resistance.

Difficulty in evaluating and comparing projects: It can be challenging to accurately evaluate and compare projects, especially when some benefits are hard to quantify. It’s important to be thorough and use a consistent approach to ensure that projects are being compared fairly.

Ensuring alignment with strategic goals: It’s essential to ensure that the prioritized projects are aligned with the organization’s strategic goals. This may require regular review and adjustment of the criteria used to evaluate projects.

Limited resources: Even with effective prioritization, there may be times when the organization simply doesn’t have the resources to tackle all of the highest-priority projects. In these cases, it may be necessary to prioritize further or look for ways to free up resources.

Overall, zero-based portfolio prioritization can be a powerful tool for organizations looking to align their priorities with their strategic goals and ensure that resources are being used effectively. By carefully defining criteria, evaluating, and comparing projects, communicating and acting on the revised plan, and monitoring and evaluating progress, organizations can make the most of their resources and drive greater success.

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Project Risk Analysis: Tools, Templates & Techniques

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

There are many project risks that can affect your project and, as a project manager, you’re responsible for the risk analysis process. Risk analysis, or risk assessment is essential because it allows project managers to classify project risks and determine which of them should be tracked closely.

What Is Project Risk Analysis?

Risk analysis consists of using tools and techniques to determine the likelihood and impact of project risks that have been previously identified. Therefore, risk analysis helps project managers decipher the uncertainty of potential risks and how they would impact the project in terms of schedule, quality and costs if, in fact, they were to show up. Risk analysis isn’t exclusive to project management and it’s used in other disciplines such as business administration, construction or manufacturing.

No matter what industry you’re in, you’ll always have projects and so, you should use project management software for risk analysis. ProjectManager, for instance, has risk management tools that let you track risks in real time. Keep track of individual risk events and use project dashboards to monitor your overall project risk. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

risk management in ProjectManagerrisk management in ProjectManager
Use ProjectManager’s risk matrix to quickly identify and respond to risk. Learn more

How to Analyze Project Risks

At a basic level, there are three things you should consider when assessing project risks: risk probability, risk impact and risk exposure. These three things can be estimated through qualitative and quantitative risk analysis.

Risk Probability

All risks have a certain probability of occurrence, which means they might or might not happen. Estimating risk probability isn’t an exact science, but there are several techniques you can use, such as examining data from past projects. By analyzing similar projects from the past, you can better determine whether there’s a high or low chance of project risk.

Risk Impact

Consider the type of risk and its potential impact on the project. Some risks will bring financial stress, while others might involve resource management issues or delays to the project schedule. To make things simple, you can simply assign levels of impact for your project risks, such as low, medium or high depending on how critical they are.

Risk Exposure

Risk exposure combines risk probability and risk impact in one formula that’s used by businesses to determine whether they’re ready to assume a potential risk or not. This technique can only be used when you can measure the potential losses associated with risk. The risk exposure formula is:

Risk Exposure = Risk impact * Risk probability

So, if a given risk had an impact of $1 million and the probability of that risk was 50%, your risk exposure would equal $500,000.

What Is Qualitative Risk Analysis?

Qualitative risk analysis refers to the risk analysis tools and techniques that rely on expert subject matter opinions, subjective and non-statistical means to assess the likelihood and impact of project risks. A risk matrix is a typical example of a qualitative risk analysis tool.

What Is Quantitative Risk Analysis?

By contrast, quantitative risk analysis is a statistical analysis of project risks. While it takes longer than qualitative analysis, quantitative risk analysis tends to be more accurate as it relies on data. Some examples of quantitative risk analysis tools are linear regression models or the Monte Carlo simulation, both statistical techniques that simulate scenarios and their different outcomes so that managers can better understand how risk can affect their business or project. Let’s take a closer look at some risk analysis tools and techniques you can use.

8 Project Risk Analysis Tools & Techniques

There are several risk analysis methods and tools that help managers through the analysis and decision-making process. Some of these involve the use of risk analysis tools such as project management charts and documents. Let’s dive into these risk analysis methods and how they can help you.

1. Team Brainstorming Sessions

Estimating risk probability and impact is a huge part of risk analysis. As stated, this can be done subjectively, which might lead to error, especially if you do it by yourself as the project manager. To avoid this, you can involve all the team members you consider relevant to get their input on risk likelihood and potential negative consequences.

2. Delphi Technique

The Delphi technique involves a panel of experts on topics that are critical to your project risk. It could be financial experts, lawyers, project management consultants or any other type of professional. This risk analysis method consists of promoting a debate among these experts who ultimately need to reach a consensus on a particular topic, such as estimating the business impact of a risk.

3. SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis allows managers to understand the current situation of their business or project by looking at its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. As a risk analysis tool, it lets you note which of your weaknesses might be exploited by others and which external threats might affect your projects, such as economic conditions or the threat of new competitors.

4. Risk Analysis Matrix

The risk analysis matrix assesses the likelihood and the severity of risks, classifying them by order of importance. It’s main purpose is to help managers prioritize risks and create a risk management plan that has the right resources and strategies to properly mitigate risks. Risk likelihood is measured on a relative scale, not a statistical one, which makes it a qualitative risk analysis tool. This tool is also called the probability/consequence matrix by some project managers.

5. Risk Register

A risk register is a crucial project management tool to document project risks. It’s a document that lists all the potential risks that could occur during the project execution phase, as well as critical information about them.

It’s meant to be used as input for the risk management plan, which describes who’s responsible for those risks, the risk mitigation strategies and the resources needed. Creating a risk register usually involves several reliable information sources such as the project team, subject matter experts and historical data.

6. Decision Tree Analysis

A decision tree analysis consists of mapping out the potential outcomes that might occur after a decision is made. This is a great method to analyze risks in new projects. Create decision trees as you go through your project planning process so you can identify potential risks and their probability and impact along the way.

7. Bow Tie Analysis

This qualitative risk analysis method is used to identify causes and consequences for all potential project risks. The project management team must first identify risks that might affect the project and then think about causes, consequences and more importantly, a risk mitigation strategy for them. It’s a versatile method that can be used in any industry.

8. SWIFT Analysis

SWIFT stands for Structured What If Technique. It’s a risk analysis method that focuses on identifying potential risks associated with changes made to a project plan. As its name suggests, team members have to come up with any “what if” questions they can to find out all the potential risks that could arise.

What Is Risk Analysis?

Risk analysis is the process that determines how likely it is that risk will arise in a project. It studies the uncertainty of potential risks and how they would impact the project in terms of schedule, quality and costs if, in fact, they were to show up. Two ways to analyze risk are quantitative and qualitative. But it’s important to know that risk analysis is not an exact science, so it’s important to track risks throughout the project life cycle.

Related: Risk Tracking Template

You should have a risk-tracking software tool to identify and list those risks. ProjectManager, for instance, lets you track risks in real time. We have risk management features that add risks to your plan. You can then track your progress and performance with real-time dashboards. Unlike lightweight tools, our dashboard requires no setup, it’s plug-and-play.

Dashboard view in ProjectManagerDashboard view in ProjectManager

Types of Risk Analysis

There are two main types of risk analysis: qualitative and quantitative risk analysis. Let’s learn about these two approaches.

Qualitative Risk Analysis

The qualitative risk analysis is a risk assessment done by experts on the project teams who use data from past projects and their expertise to estimate the impact and probability value for each risk on a scale or a risk matrix.

The scale used is commonly ranked from zero to one. That is, if the likelihood of the risk happening in your project is .5, then there is a 50 percent chance it’ll occur. There is also an impact scale, which is measured from one to fine, with five being the most impact on the project. The risk will then be categorized as either source- or effect-based.

Once risks are identified and analyzed, a project team member is designated as a risk owner for each risk. They’re responsible for planning a risk response and implementing it.

Qualitative risk analysis is the base for quantitative risk analysis and reduces project uncertainty while focusing on high-impact risks. This allows you to assign a risk owner and plan out an appropriate risk response. Get started with qualitative risk analysis with our free risk assessment template.

Quantitative Risk Analysis

By contrast, quantitative risk analysis is a statistical analysis of the effect of those identified risks on the overall project. This helps project managers and team leaders to make decisions with reduced uncertainty and supports the process of controlling risks.

Quantitative risk analysis counts the possible outcomes for the project and figures out the probability of still meeting project objectives. This helps with decision-making, especially when there is uncertainty during the project planning phase. It helps project managers create cost, schedule or scope targets that are realistic.

The Monte Carlo simulation is an example of a quantitative risk analysis tool. It’s a probability technique that uses a computerized method to estimate the likelihood of a risk. It’s used as input for project management decision-making.

Risk Analysis Methods

There are several risk analysis methods that are meant to help managers through the analysis and decision-making process. Some of these involve the use of risk analysis tools such as charts and documents. Let’s dive into these risk analysis methods and how they can help you.

Bow Tie Analysis

This qualitative risk analysis method is used to identify causes and consequences for all potential project risks. The project management team must first identify risks that might affect the project and then think about causes, consequences and more importantly, a risk mitigation strategy for them. It’s a very versatile method that can be used in any industry.

Risk Analysis Matrix

The risk analysis matrix assesses the likelihood and the severity of risks, classifying them by order of importance. It’s main purpose is to help managers prioritize risks and create a risk management plan that has the right resources and strategies to properly mitigate risks. Risk likelihood is measured on a relative scale, not a statistical one, which makes it a qualitative risk analysis tool.

Related: Free Risk Analysis Matrix Template

Risk Register

A risk register is a crucial project management tool to document project risks. It’s a document that lists all the potential risks that could occur during the project execution phase, as well as critical information about them.

It’s meant to be used as input for the risk management plan, which describes who’s responsible for those risks, the risk mitigation strategies and the resources needed. Creating a risk register usually involves several, reliable information sources such as the project team, subject matter experts and historical data.

SWIFT Analysis

SWIFT stands for Structured What If Technique. It’s a risk analysis method that focuses on identifying potential risks associated with changes made to a project plan. As its name suggests, team members have to come up with any “what if” questions they can to find out all the potential risks that could arise.

Benefits of Risk Analysis

There are many benefits to using risk analysis in your projects. Here are some of the most common ones.

  • Avoid potential litigation
  • Address regulatory issues
  • Comply with new legislation
  • Reduce exposure
  • Minimize impact

Risk analysis is an important input for decision-making during all the stages of the project life cycle. Project managers who have some experience with risk management are a great resource. We culled some advice from them, such as:

  • There’s no lack of information on risk
  • Much of that information is complex
  • Most industries have best practices
  • Many companies have risk management framework

Project Risk Analysis Templates

There are several quantitative and qualitative risk analysis methods. There are several tools that can be used for different purposes. To help, we’ve prepared some free risk analysis templates to help you through the risk analysis process.

Risk Register Template

This risk register template has everything you need to keep track of the potential risks that might affect your project as well as their probability, impact, status and more.

ProjectManager's free risk tracking templateProjectManager's free risk tracking template

Risk Analysis Matrix Template

This risk matrix template lets you visualize your project risks in one color-coded graph to classify them by likelihood and severity. This allows you to better understand the most critical risks for your project.

ProjectManager's free risk matrix templateProjectManager's free risk matrix template

Risk Analysis In Project Management

Risk analysis is a fundamental step in the project risk management process, which consists of four main stages.

  • Risk identification: First, identify your potential project risks and list them using a risk register.
  • Risk analysis: Now, estimate the impact, likelihood and exposure for each risk and assign a priority level based on this information. The higher the priority level, the more resources are allocated to mitigate the risk.
  • Create a risk management plan: Create risk mitigation strategies, or contingency plans to alleviate the impact of each project risk you’ve previously analyzed. These details are usually included in a risk management plan.
  • Track risks until project completion: Implementing your risk management plan is as important as creating one. Set up project controls to keep track of risk at all times.

Risk Analysis Video

If we’ve caught your attention when it comes to discussing risk analysis on a project, don’t worry. Watch project management guru Jennifer Bridges, PMP, as she helps visualize how to analyze risks on your project.

Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!what is risk analysis and how to analyze risk on projects

what is risk analysis and how to analyze risk on projects

Thanks for watching!

How ProjectManager Helps Your Risk Analysis

ProjectManager is online work and project management software that gives you real-time data to track your project and whatever risks arise during its execution. Our online Gantt chart is a great tool to schedule projects, assign tasks and link dependencies, but it can also be used as a risk management tool. Collect the data you assembled associated with the risk to a task, which has unlimited file storage. Whoever on your team is the risk owner for a task can comment at the task level and tag team members who are notified immediately by email. You have more control over the management of project risk.

Risk will reveal itself in your project as an issue and you need to identify and resolve it quickly. Our kanban boards are a visual workflow tool that has customized workflows and task approvals. You can have your risks listed and assigned an owner so if they show up they can be dealt with swiftly. Set triggers that release actions automatically to help you capture issues fast. Then with our task approvals, only someone authorized to change the status can define the issue as resolved.

Analyzing and resolving risk is a team effort and our software is collaborative to the core. Teams can comment, share files and get updates from email notifications and in-app alerts. There’s one source of truth and you’re always getting real-time data so everyone is on the same page. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

Related Posts

What Is Project Risk? 7 Project Risks to Track

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Controlling risk is one of the most important areas of project management. Project managers need to know how to identify, track and mitigate project risk. Let’s learn what is project risk, some common examples and how can you manage it.

What Is Project Risk?

A risk is an uncertain event or condition that can have affect the outcome of a project. The term “project risk” refers to the sum of all individual project risks that might affect a project. When estimating overall project risk, you’ll need to consider all the positive and negative risks that your project might be subject to, including their likelihood and potential impact.

You should use project management software to facilitate the process of identifying, analyzing and managing project risk. ProjectManager offers multiple project management tools like Gantt charts, kanban boards and project dashboards, as well as a risk management feature that lets you track project risk in real time. Get started for free today.

risk management in ProjectManagerrisk management in ProjectManager
ProjectManager’s risk management features help you track project risk throughout your projects. Learn more

7 Common Types of Project Risk

To understand where risk can come into a project, always start with the lens of the triple constraint. When you’re documenting risks, note where impacts to time, cost and quality are likely to occur. You’ll also want to bring in stakeholders who can identify other risks that they may be aware of such as market conditions or other constraints not yet communicated.

Once you’ve identified risks, you’ll want to work with your team to develop strategies for addressing them, should they arise. But before we dive into that, let’s review seven common risks that could affect your project budget and schedule.

1. External Risk

External risks are project risks that are beyond your control, such as the threat of new competitors or changes in economic conditions. It’s important to do an assessment of the external environment surrounding your project early during the project initiation and project planning phases to look for potential risks.

2. Scope Creep Risk

As its name suggests, scope creep is a type of project risk that occurs when tasks are added to the project scope without the proper approval of the project management team, causing the scope to grow without control, which has a direct impact on your project schedule and project budget.

3. Schedule Risk

Schedule risk occurs whenever there’s a high likelihood of not meeting the planned project schedule. This risk can affect any project and has many causes such as failing to estimate task duration correctly, not paying attention to the critical path or overlooking resources needed for the completion of work.

4. Financial Risk

Financial risk occurs when the actual project execution costs are higher than what was planned. These extra costs can’t be covered with the initial project budget which is a critical resource management issue that might lead to project failure, as there are no resources to complete the project.

5. Strategic Risk

Strategic risk occurs whenever there are strategic decisions that affect project execution. For example, you could choose a project management methodology that’s not the best fit for your team or make a purchase that affects the project budget and the overall project plan.

6. Performance Risk

This type of project risk occurs whenever work isn’t progressing as expected, so deliverables and milestones aren’t being accomplished. This means the project performance is low which can compromise its completion as more resources are needed to complete the initial project plan.

7. Legal and Regulatory Risk

Many projects require some sort of legal or regulatory compliance. You need to be aware of any permits or requirements that you need to obtain before you start executing your project. It’s important to do thorough regulatory research before or during the project planning phase to avoid costly mistakes later on.

How to Manage Project Risk

Here are some simple steps you can follow to get started with project risk management.

  • Identify risks: The first step towards managing project risk is to identify individual risk events. You should have a brainstorming session with your team to think about the potential risks that could affect your project. Use a risk register to document them.
  • Analyze risks: Once you’ve mapped out the different project risks, ask yourself two things. First, what’s the likelihood of these risks occurring, and second, what would be the impact of that risk event on your project plan?
  • Prioritize risks: Now that you’ve defined the likelihood and impact of those project risks you’ve previously identified with your team, you can assign them a level of priority. The higher the level, the faster the response should be if that risk were to occur.
  • Create risk mitigation strategies: Create one mitigation strategy for each individual project risk. It’s important to allocate resources for this, such as a team member who will be the risk owner, and any equipment or materials needed. These details are usually included in a risk management plan, which is a project management document that explains how you’ll manage project risk at large.

Project Risk Video

In this video, Jennifer Bridges, PMP, discusses the definition of project risk and ways risk can impact a project positively or negatively.

Project Risk Management Templates

Risk management is an ongoing process that goes from the beginning to the end of any project life cycle. Here are some free templates to help you with this critical process.

Project Risk Matrix Template

A project risk matrix allows you to quickly determine the likelihood and impact of risks by mapping them out on a graph. This free template is easy to use and can be customized to adjust to your project needs.

Project Risk Register Template

As stated above, risk registers are fundamental risk management tools. This free risk register template is a great place to get started.

Project Issue Tracking Template

Project risk management goes beyond risk identification and risk analysis. Project risks will become issues and you’ll need to take action. This project issue tracking template helps you document information about your risk mitigation strategies.

While these free project management templates are easy to use, they’re not the best tool you can use for identifying, analyzing, tracking and managing risk. Instead, you should use project management software such as ProjectManager, which has robust risk management tools to help you streamline this process.

How to Manage Project Risk with ProjectManager

You can manage project risk with ProjectManager. Our online project management software has dynamic risk cards with a risk matrix that automatically calculates your risk to help you track risk mitigation. Use risk cards to collaborate with team members and add detailed information, attached files and more. You can also asses the risk level according to its likelihood and impact on your project, all of which can be viewed at a glance.

Each risk has its own card with rich functionality, collaboration and fields for detailed information. Included is a ‘matrix widget’ which assesses the individual risk level according to your likelihood and impact settings and gives risk level indication at a glance.

ProjectManager is award-winning software that empowers teams to plan, manage and track project risks in real time. Our collaborative platform connects everyone from the office to the work site, allowing them to stay informed of risks as they develop to prevent them from derailing the project. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

Related Posts

What Is the Project Life Cycle?

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

There are many different types of projects, but interestingly, they all have one thing in common. They all go through the same cycle, known as the project life cycle, or project management life cycle.

What Is the Project Life Cycle?

The project life cycle is made up of five project stages: project initiation, project planning, project execution, monitoring & control and project closing. Each of these phases is necessary for the effective delivery of the project.

If you’re managing projects, you’ll need the right tools to make the process more effective and efficient. ProjectManager is online project management software that helps you control your project from initiation through closure. Choose between Gantt charts, kanban boards, project dashboards and more project management tools to plan, schedule and track your projects.

ProjectManager’s dashboards let you keep track of your project life cycle. Learn more

The 5 Project Life Cycle Phases

Here’s a general description of the phases that make up the project life cycle and what can you do in each for successful project delivery. For example, you’ll need to produce important project documentation at each step in the process.

1. Project Initiation Phase

This is the start of the project for the project manager, who is responsible for defining the project at a high level. This usually begins with a business case, feasibility study, cost-benefit analysis and other types of research to determine whether the project is feasible and should or shouldn’t be undertaken. Stakeholders provide input. If the project is approved, then a project charter is created, which provides an overview of the project and sets up the stage for your project plan.

2. Project Planning Phase

This is where the project plan is created, and all involved in the project will follow it. This phase begins by setting SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely) goals. The scope of the project is defined and a project management plan is created, identifying cost, quality, resources and a timetable. Some of the features of this phase include a scope statement, setting of milestones, communication, risk management plans and a work breakdown structure.

ProjectManager's free work breakdown structureProjectManager's free work breakdown structure
ProjectManager’s free work breakdown structure template. Get your free template

3. Project Executing Phase

Now begins the part of the project that most people think of as the project: executing the tasks, deliverables and milestones defined in the project scope. Some tasks that make up this phase include developing the team and assigning resources using key performance indicators, executing the project plan, procurement management and tracking and monitoring progress. If needed, you can set status meetings and revise the schedule and plan.

4. Project Monitoring and Controlling Phase

The monitoring and controlling phase consists of setting up project controls and key performance metrics to measure the effectiveness of the project execution. The monitoring and controlling project phase is very important to make sure the execution goes as planned in terms of schedule, scope and budget baselines.

5. Project Closing Phase

It’s not over until the project closure phase it’s over. Completing the deliverables to the satisfaction of your stakeholders is key, of course, but the project manager must now disassemble the apparatus created to fulfill the project. That means closing out work with contractors, making sure everyone has been paid and ensuring that all project documents are signed off on and archived to help with planning future projects. Once this has been done, the project manager often has a post-mortem with the project team to highlight what worked and what didn’t work, so that successes can be repeated and mistakes avoided.

Understanding the Project Management Life Cycle

Jennifer Bridges, PMP, is our resident project management expert. She hosts hundreds of our training videos, including this one explaining the project management life cycle.

Project Management Templates Can Help Manage the Project Life Cycle

We have created dozens of project management templates to help project managers manage each phase of the project life cycle. Here are some of them.

Project Charter Template

The project charter is the main outcome of the project initiation phase. Our free project charter template is a great place to start building your project and get it approved by stakeholders.

Project Plan Template

A project plan is a thorough project management document that guides the project execution. Our free project plan template is fully customizable, so you can include what matters most to your project.

Project Budget Template

Our free project budget template is a great starting point to gather your project tasks, estimate their costs and create a basic project budget. However, if you truly want to use advanced project management features and have full control over your project portfolio, you should try ProjectManager.

ProjectManager Helps Manage the Project Life Cycle

ProjectManager is a robust project management software that offers multiple project views and features for each step of the project management life cycle. Here are some of its key project management tools.

Plan, Schedule and Track with Gantt Charts

Our online Gantt chart helps you plan the project, collecting your task list into a timeline. The duration for each task can then be set and each task assigned to a team member. Collaboration happens at the task level on the Gantt chart, where team members can comment and add relevant documents and images. They can even tag those not assigned to the task and they’ll be notified by email.

ProjectManager's Gantt chartProjectManager's Gantt chart

Multiple Project Management Tools

The Gantt chart is just one of ProjectManager’s project management views. You can also use kanban boards, dashboards, workload charts, timesheets and other tools. Use kanban boards to visualize the workflow, where cards represent the tasks, keeping team members focused on what they’re working on and project managers get a bird’s eye view. Resources can be reallocated and important dates, such as holidays and vacation days, are marked to know who can work when.

Workload chart in ProjectManagerWorkload chart in ProjectManager

Create Project Reports in Minutes

One-click reporting gives project managers the data to present to stakeholders on various aspects of the project. These reports can be filtered to show the information you want and allow for deeper dives as necessary. The real-time dashboard shows project metrics in colorful and easy-to-read graphs and charts, giving you the most accurate picture of your project’s progress.

Dashboard in ProjectManagerDashboard in ProjectManager

ProjectManager is an award-winning project management solution that assists you in all aspects of project management. Online planning tools and web-based task management features let you collaborate on the go and make adjustments. Then, create comprehensive reports from the data with only a few clicks. Try it for yourself by taking this free 30-day trial today.

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Cost of Quality (COQ): A Quick Guide

PM Articles by ProjectManager.com. 

Anyone who has delivered a product or service understands the triple constraint. Time, cost and scope have to be controlled to successfully complete a project. However, there’s a fourth constraint that’s less discussed: quality. Cost of quality (COQ) helps you avoid neglecting quality and boost customer satisfaction.

How COQ does this, especially in project management, is what we’ll define. But we’ll also discuss the cost of good quality vs. the cost of poor quality and show you how to measure COQ. Whether you’re manufacturing products or delivering a service, project management software can help you with the cost of quality.

What Is Cost of Quality (COQ)?

The cost of quality is a method by which an organization calculates how much it will cost to deliver a product or service that meets the quality expectation standard set in the project plan. This is a means by which companies can figure out how delivering quality will impact their bottom line.

This concept has been around for a long time. The book Quality Control Handbook, published in 1951 and written by quality expert Joseph Juran, defined cost of quality as having both tangible and intangible costs. It’s also part of Lean Six Sigma, a philosophy of improvement built on the prevention of defects over defect detection.

COQ takes into account not just the manufacturing of the product or the cost to deliver a service, but the financial impact of having to rework items or scrap a project will cost. It’s also not just forecasting the impact of poor quality but the expense of audits and maintenance that comes with delivering a quality product or service.

A benefit of cost of quality is that it gives manufacturers or service providers a chance to analyze their processes and in so doing improve quality operations. This is done in two ways as illustrated above: controlling good quality against the failure of control, which leads to bad quality.

To maintain quality in your project, you need to establish procedures and guidelines. Project management software gives you the tools to implement these procedures and track them to ensure quality.

ProjectManager is online project management software that allows you to plan, manage and track quality control in real time. Use our robust Gantt charts to create product roadmaps to control quality standards at each step of the development process. Once you set the schedule as your baseline, you’ll be able to monitor the planned effort against your actual effort to stay on track. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chartProjectManager's Gantt chart
ProjectManager’s Gantt charts build product roadmaps to control quality. Learn more

Cost of Quality in Project Management

Making sure you deliver quality products or services at the cost you’ve determined in your budget is fundamental to project management. The cost of quality is one method that project managers use to avoid overspending, which negatively impacts stakeholders, team members and customers or end-users.

Naturally, not delivering quality in any project is an expensive problem. It’ll leave stakeholders unhappy, but also those who will be using the product or service. Project managers must review the cost of quality in their projects to optimize the amount of investment there needs to be.

This doesn’t mean using high-grade materials but avoiding costs related to quality issues. Some of these costs can be the price of materials, which could lead to a better working and longer-lasting product. But COQ is part of every phase of the project’s life cycle.

Being able to calculate the cost of quality informs the project manager’s decisions throughout the project. It speaks to the balance of investing in quality during the project with the future costs of not preventing or catching issues during product production.

Cost of Good Quality (COGQ) vs. Cost of Poor Quality (COPQ)

Cost of quality is broken up into two categories, the cost of good quality and the cost of poor quality. COGQ consists of the cost of quality conformance and the ability of a product or service to meet design qualifications. This includes any associated costs associated with appraisal and prevention.

COPQ is the costs associated with producing a poor-quality product or service for stakeholders, customers or end-users. It involves all nonconformance costs, both internal and external to the company. These are incremental costs that a business will incur when it fails to meet the quality requirements of the product or service.

The difference between these two terms is that they’re opposites that work together in terms of helping one figure out the dollar amount of creating a quality product or service. They do this by looking at the cost of producing quality and comparing that to the cost of paying for delivering a product or service of poor quality.

How to Measure Cost of Quality

All of this naturally leads to the question of how to measure the cost of quality. But to do this, we need to dig further into the cost of quality categories. We’ve explored the next level, which is the cost of good quality and the cost of poor quality, but both of those categories can be further boiled down.

There are four main types of quality costs. The cost of good quality, as noted above, is made up of appraisal costs and prevention costs, while the cost of poor quality is made up of internal failure costs and external failure costs. Let’s first define these terms.

Appraisal Costs

The appraisal costs are related to checking the quality of the product or service that you’re delivering. Some examples of appraisal costs include the inspection of the product, testing and other types of review to make sure that quality requirements are being met. This can also be associated with the maintenance of any test equipment, supervision of the inspection staff and inventory that has been damaged or destroyed during the testing process.

Related: Free Product Development Template

Prevention Costs

Prevention costs are used to prevent any defects from occurring in the production of the product. There are many examples of this type of cost, from training your team to avoid errors and working more effectively to improve work processes. There are also design costs that can fall into this category, as well as quality audits, process planning and evaluating the quality of your suppliers.

Internal Failure Costs

Internal failure costs are those result from having to repair or rework a product or service because it didn’t achieve the expected quality standard. Some examples of this include any costs related to repairs made in production, having to buy replacement pieces and the cost of reworking the defective product. There can also be an analysis failure or even having to scrap the product development altogether.

External Failure Costs

External failure costs are associated with having to replace or refund a product that’s defective or has defective parts. Some examples of this include the costs related to warranties, liability costs and the costs associated with lost customers due to a poor product or service. In the worst-case scenario, this could also be legal costs from customer claims.

Now that we’ve defined those terms, let’s look at how to measure the cost of quality. Remember, these calculations differ from one organization to the next. Some businesses calculate the total warranty as a percentage of sales, for example. But that’s more for external failure costs.

Using the categories we’ve described above, first, calculate the cost of good quality by adding the preventative costs and appraisal costs (COGO = PC + AC). Then calculate the cost of poor quality by adding the internal failure costs with the external failure costs (COPQ = IFC + EFC). Finally, add those two totals for the cost of quality (COQ = COGQ + COPQ).

ProjectManager Helps With Cost of Quality (COQ)

Once you’ve made these calculations, you’re in a better position to plan your project with the necessary resources. But you still need a quality assurance plan to make sure you’re meeting those quality expectations. Project management software helps you plan and meet your quality standards. ProjectManager is online project management software that gives you the tools you need to plan, manage and track project quality in real time.

Monitor Quality in Real Time

In order to meet quality expectations, you need to monitor your processes and track metrics in order to catch issues and address them quickly before they negatively impact the project. Our real-time dashboard automatically collects live project data and displays this data in easy-to-read charts and graphs that show everything from time to cost, the workload to project variance. Unlike lightweight tools, there’s no time-consuming configuration necessary. It’s ready when you are.

ProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a projectProjectManager’s dashboard view, which shows six key metrics on a projectManage Quality With Kanban Boards

If you do notice a problem, you can identify and mitigate it with our kanban boards. Quality issues can be captured on kanban cards, which include descriptions, priority and tags. The team can even comment and attach files to the cards. The visual workflow of the kanban board allows managers transparency as the card moves through columns. Teams can manage their backlog and collaborate on sprints.

ProjectManager's kanban boardProjectManager's kanban board

Another aspect of quality assurance is stakeholders. They have a vested interest in the project and want to know how things are going. You can keep them updated with our customized reports. Whether it’s a status report, portfolio report or a report on cost or time, you can show them relevant data through reports in multiple formats. Keeping stakeholders happy is a type of quality you can never get enough of.

ProjectManager is award-winning software that empowers teams to work more efficiently. Besides being able to maintain the quality of your deliverables, our task management, risk management and resource management tools keep you productive without overspending or missing deadlines. Join teams at Avis, Nestle and Siemens who use our software. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

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Wabi-Sabi: Embrace Imperfection to Continuously Improve

PM Articles by Project Times. 

“There’s a crack, a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

– Leonard Cohen

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese wisdom principle that has great relevance to project management and, in fact, any management, including self-management.

The principle is to embrace imperfection, surrendering to the reality that nothing is permanent, and nothing is complete. In the complex world of projects, imperfection is inevitable.

In my forthcoming book on achieving optimal performance, I include Wabi-sabi as one of the elements that treat the cause of unnecessary stress. I tell the story of the great cellist Yo-Yo Ma who had a string break in the middle of a performance. Rather than being set off balance by the disturbance, he paused, changed the string and continued his performance. He was practicing wabi-sabi, cool and accepting. Equanimous. Imagine how it might have been had Yo-Yo Ma not been so equanimous, calmly accepting the situation. Likely, his performance would have suffered.

In organizations, a Wabi-sabi attitude is instrumental in promoting continuous improvement and avoiding the blaming that creates conflict, motivates people to hide errors and defects, and gets in the way of learning.

Acceptance that there will be imperfections eliminates the denial, anger, and fear that arises when the imperfections appear.

Active Acceptance

There is often a misunderstanding about the attitude of accepting and embracing imperfection. “What! Accept imperfection?” some might think. “Isn’t perfection what we are after. We want to be free of defects, errors, and omissions, not accept and embrace them.”

To clarify the misunderstanding, we have to explore what it means to accept and to embrace.

To accept in our context is to realize that things are as they are. It does not mean to accept that they will continue. Acceptance is active when we realize that everything is continuously moving, in process. Nothing is complete. Accepting the present reality, things as they are, is an ideal foundation for planning and moving forward to a desired outcome.


When an error is detected, will it go away if you deny it or try to cover it up? No. It is there. Accept it. The alternative is not pretty. Deny or hide the error and it is likely to come to light again, probably when it is even less convenient. When it does, there is a sense of distrust. The error has been compounded because imperfection was not accepted.

Acceptance allows embracing. To embrace means to accept something willingly and enthusiastically. You don’t have to hug and kiss the imperfections. The method is to be grateful that the error has been identified so you can enthusiastically see what you can do with and about the particular imperfection you have encountered.

This attitude motivates project team members to bring existing imperfections to the surface (not to create new ones). Embracing imperfection leads to actively improving performance and product quality by assessing each imperfection to determine its impact, its cause, and what to about it – in the short term, to manage the impact and longer term, to learn and improve.

Yes, we want to be free of errors and omissions. Learning from the ones we or others have experienced, is the basis for being free of them in the future. We can’t change the past or the present moment but using the knowledge of them we can influence the future.

What Gets in the Way

So, if it is such a good thing, why isn’t it universally applied? What gets in the way of taking a wabi-sabi attitude? Perfectionism, emotional reactivity, and an ambiguous definition of perfection are the primary obstacles to embracing imperfection.

Perfectionism is the drive to make things perfect. It can be healthy or unhealthy. If it is managed, it is a highly valued trait, a success factor. But unacknowledged and uncontrolled, it comes to the surface as unhealthy self-criticism and criticism of others, frustration, anger, and overcontrol. Perfectionism is often institutionalized, making it a cultural trait as well as an individual one.

The unhealthy perfectionist is caught up in the obsession to achieve unrealistic goals. The healthy perfectionist is aware of their tendency and can moderate the emotional drive to be perfect or have everything be perfect by rationally assessing how realistic their expectation is.

When perfection includes imperfection (“There’s a crack in everything“) and the imperfection is embraced, perfectionism is channeled into continuous improvement. For example when there is an effective process for managing quality, errors, and issues, and there is more than lip service to wabi-sabi it is a sign of healthy perfectionism.

Emotional reactivity is the second major obstacle to adopting a wabi-sabi attitude. It is related to perfectionism and to unrealistic expectations. In a perfectionist setting the emotions that arise when things are not perfect include anger, frustration, aggression, fear, anxiety, pride, jealousy.

These, like all emotions are to be accepted as part of the perfection. But to let them take over and drive behavior is to be avoided.

Ambiguous definition of perfection is the third obstacle. On the simplest level this means to recognize that while perfection is a target, performance needs to be assessed based on realistic criteria. For example, the recognition that a given level of defect is acceptable. A performer who continuously, even after retraining, makes errors nay need to be replaced. One who makes errors occasionally, particularly when trying new things, can be a star.

On another level, recognize that an unexpected outcome is not necessarily a terrible thing. Many discoveries and breakthroughs have been the result of accidents and errors. For example, sticky notes came out of a failed attempt to develop a permanent adhesive. The ugly duckling is not so ugly when the criteria of perfection are changed.

Perfecting the Process

The motivation to avoid letting these obstacles drive behavior is the desire for a perfect process with a wabi-sabi attitude.

Overcoming the obstacles to accepting and embracing imperfection requires awareness and effort. If there as an imperfect process that wastes the opportunity to improve by hiding from imperfection, do the work of changing attitudes with revised training, policies, and procedures.

This implies that process awareness and improvement is valued as much as current performance. But that’s a subject for another time.

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