Managing Risks with Microsoft Project: Part 1

On many projects, the majority of work performance information and reports that are generated are stored in separate repositories, with little to no collaborative capability. For smaller projects, this may not become an issue, but for larger projects it can become difficult for Project Managers and PM staff to manage. In many cases, it can even be a major project risk and ultimately become the root cause for many project failures.

By utilizing the custom features that are available in Microsoft Project (views, fields, reports, filters, etc.), some project functions and work reports can be integrated into a project schedule and reduce the number of plans, logs, registers, etc. that have to be maintained in separate repositories.

This is an example of how I incorporated risk management into a project schedule by creating a risk register that associates risk identification data to specific tasks within the schedule.

Create Custom Risk Fields

First, I identified the project-specific risk fields that were required. Based on industry standards and tailored to the project requirements, I used the following fields (as they appear from left to right in each view):

Gantt Chart View

Risk? (Flag) – Flag with graphical indicators to identify that a task has an associated risk.


Risk Register View

Task Name (Name) – To display associated task from Gantt or Task Sheet to risk in Risk Register.

Risk Description (Text) – Free-text input for the risk statement.

Risk Date (Date) – To record the date the risk is identified.

Risk Approval Date (Date) – To record the date the risk is approved.

Risk Status (Text) – Lookup to define the risk strategy based on the project plan.


Risk Owner (Text) – Lookup to enter the risk owner. (I left the lookup value blank and selected the data entry option to allow manual inputs be added to lookup values).

Risk Impact (Text) – Lookup to define risk impact based on the project plan.


Risk Likelihood (Text) – Lookup to define the likelihood of risks (Y-axis of risk matrix).


Risk Consequence (Text) – Lookup field to define consequence of risks (X-axis of risk matrix).


Risk Rating (Text) – Formula to compute the risk rating (Risk Likelihood x Risk Consequence). Assigned graphical indicators based on the project risk matrix.


Realized? (Flag) – Flag with graphical indicators to identify that a risk has become an issue.


Risk Realization Date (Date) – To record the date the risk is realized and became an issue.

Adjusted Duration (Duration) – To record the duration to be added to the task in the event the risk is realized.

New Finish (Finish) – Formula to compute a new finish date based on the Adjusted Duration. 

new finish

Create a Custom View for the Risk Register

Next, I created a custom view that included the custom risk fields and saved as a new view (Risk Register).

Create a Custom Filter for the Risk Register

After the Risk Register was created, I created a custom filter to only display tasks where the “Risk?” flag equaled Yes.Custom Filter


That’s basically it. Once the custom fields, Risk Register, and filter were created, I input a mock schedule to the Gantt Chart view to test the settings.test

Any task that is flagged with an associated risk will appear in the Risk Register and the risk information can be input.
risk test

Display Adjusted Duration on Gantt Chart

To display the Adjusted Duration caused by a realized risk to the Gantt chart, add a new bar style from the Task Finish to the New Finish.

bar style

Now, all risks with an adjusted duration from the Risk Register will appear on the Gantt Chart.


Custom Risk Reports

Using the custom reports, it is also easy to create a quick risk report and add any additional information that is desired.



Now, project risks can be input and managed within the project schedule instead of a separate, independent repository tracking system. This enables the project manager and team the ability to view and analyze the impacts of risks as they are directly tied to tasks within the schedule.

I hope this was useful and thank you for reading. Please leave a comment, question, or feedback!

Next: What if the same risk applies to more than one task?

Connect on LinkedIn


2 thoughts on “Managing Risks with Microsoft Project: Part 1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s