10 tips for managing risk in complex projects | CQI | IRCA Skip to main content

10 tips for managing risk in complex projects


In this blog, Govind Tiwari CQP MCQI, Quality Specialist, discusses his ten top tips for how to proactively manage risk in complex projects to enhance outcomes.

What is risk management? If you work in quality, you’ll know that risk management is a systematic and strategic approach to identifying, assessing, and mitigating uncertainties that could affect the achievement of objectives, both positively and negatively. ISO 31000 – Risk Management defines risk management as the coordinated activities of planning, monitoring, and controlling to ensure that an organisation navigates through potential challenges and opportunities in a controlled manner.  

Quality professionals play a crucial role in managing risk within complex projects, and ISO 31000 – Risk Management provides the framework, process and principles to help organisations navigate elements of risk such as economic resilience, environmental and safety outcomes, and professional reputation. 
Complex projects require comprehensive risk management, so here are my top ten tips of best practice for managing risk these settings.  

1. Establish a robust framework 
Develop a comprehensive risk management framework aligned with ISO 31000. Clearly outline roles, responsibilities, and communication channels to establish a governance structure that facilitates effective risk management. 
2. Develop an integrated approach 
Seamlessly integrate risk management into project processes, decision-making, and overall project governance. Foster an environment where risk considerations are an inherent aspect of project culture. 
3. Define clear objectives and context 
Clearly define project objectives and the context in which the project operates. This provides a foundation for identifying and assessing risks that are pertinent to achieving those objectives. 

4. Stakeholder involvement and engagement 
Involve stakeholders at various levels in the risk management process. Solicit insights from stakeholders to contribute to a more accurate risk assessment and foster collective ownership of risk outcomes. 

5. Regular risk identification 
Implement regular and systematic risk identification processes. In complex projects, risks may evolve, so continuous identification ensures that new risks are captured and addressed promptly. 
6. Quantitative and qualitative analysis 
Combine both quantitative and qualitative risk analysis methods to gain a holistic understanding of risks. This allows for a more informed prioritisation of risks based on their potential impact. 
7. Comprehensive risk treatment strategies 
Develop and apply a range of risk treatment strategies, including avoidance, mitigation, transfer, or acceptance. Tailor these strategies to the nature and context of each identified risk. 
8. Continuous monitoring and review 
Establish a robust monitoring and review mechanism to track the effectiveness of risk treatments. This ensures the identification of emerging risks, enabling timely adjustments to risk management strategies. 
9. Documentation and transparent reporting
Maintain clear documentation of the entire risk management process. Regularly communicate risk status, treatment progress, and overall risk exposure to stakeholders, fostering transparency. 
10. Cultivate a learning Culture 
Cultivate a culture of continuous learning from both successes and failures in risk management. Use feedback mechanisms to enhance future risk identification, assessment, and response strategies. 
By adhering to ISO 31000 principles and integrating these best practices into the project lifecycle, auditors and quality professionals can proactively manage risks in complex projects, ultimately contributing to successful project outcomes. 

Read more from Govind Tiwari

Learn about the role of quality in the oil and gas sector in this Knowledge article by Govind Tiwari.