Who is responsible for handling project risks?

Who is responsible for what aspects of handling different types of project risks?
Everyone is responsible for some element of risk handling. The team needs to be involved with the assessment of risk, both early in the project during planning, and continuing during execution to detect new risks as more becomes known. Key individuals, usually with expertise in or leadership of a particular functional area where the risk resides, will develop the mitigation plan for the identified risks. For other risks that are more general in nature—such as schedule, scope or cost—the project manager will be responsible for understanding, by working with the team, and defining the mitigation plan.

The management of risk then primarily resides with the project manager, who has the responsibility for monitoring project progress, including progress on any work built in to help minimize or eradicate specific risks. This might be shared with one or more Risk Mitigation Plan owners who have direct responsibility for handling risks in a particular area. For example, if a risk exists with some new technology, someone in the development group would have primary responsibility for handling that risk. If there's a risk regarding satisfying certain customers, a customer support or sales or business development team member, as appropriate, would have front-line responsibility.

Closure of risk issues—being sure that they're truly handled and off the list—requires project team input, since risks can impact many aspects of a project. Those whose work is dependent upon the resolution of specified risks need to be in agreement that the risk is truly mitigated, and will not impact their efforts after all.

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