Monitor and Control Risks

With excerpts from my Project Management Novel, I will illustrate the many processes of the PMBOK.  Here is the thirty-first one: Monitor and control Risks. Use this map to see how this process fits into the scheme of processes.  Monitor and Control Risks




One day, Borg, who still worked hard every day, despite his riches, asked to speak to Gwilym alone. When the two men had walked off a space into the old orchard, Borg shuffled his feet and seemed at a loss for words. “What’s on your mind, Borg?” asked Gwilym wondering if the man was finally going to quit and use his riches for another profession. He hoped not, since Gwilym had named his head of the laborers for his intelligence and foresight.

Borg met Gwilym’s eye. “Remember ven all de risks on dis project ve determined?”

Gwilym said yes.

“And remember ven vich risks vere highest and lowest and most probable and least probable ve determined?”


“And den ve determined vat our responses to dese risks vould be. How ve vould avoid some risks, mitigate others, transfer some and de rest accept.”

“Aye, I remember it all.”

“Vell,” said Borg, looking down at his shuffling feet. “Ve seem to be ignoring dem now.”

That gave Gwilym pause. “Ignoring them?” he asked finally. “We made changes to the project plan when we avoided or transferred the risks. We’re watching out for the risks we mitigated and accepted. Why would you say we’re ignoring them?”

“But dat is my point. Ve are vatching out for de risks ve mitigated and accepted but only vatching for dem to happen and saying, ‘Oh vell, ve zought dat might happen.’ Ve should be more active in vatching out for dem I zink. If ve know dere is a risk ahead, can ve not for early varning signs or somezing vatch out?”

“Hmm,” thought Gwilym out loud. “You’re asking me to monitor and control the risks just the way I monitor and control the project work. How would I do that?”

“De Project Plan and de Risk Register you haf. You can de project performance against your expectations measure. You can if some of de early varning signs dat a risk is about to occur are coming see.”

“We do variance analysis already for the scope of the project. I suppose we could use that for Risk Monitoring…”

“And ve need de risks to reassess. Sometimes, zings happen and de risks get better or vorse but ve don’t change de vay ve are dem treating.”

“You’re quite right Borg. Let’s get Fred involved and we’ll plan a way to improve our process.”

They went back to the project work-room and pulled out the scrolls and ink and formalized the process for monitoring and controlling project risks. In addition to the tools they had identified before, they added a process called Risk Audits to actively look at future risks, Reserve Analysis, to see how realized and future risks affected the project reserve and Risk Register Updates to make any needed changes to the Risk Register.

When the three men looked at what they had accomplished, they were happy and shook hands all around. Borg was looking quite pleased with himself.