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4 Types of Project Risk – Different Forms of Uncertainty | Video

4 Types of Project Risk - Different Forms of Uncertainty | Video

A project risk is simply ‘uncertainty that can affect outcome’.

And when we classify risks, we focus on the types of impact that they can have:

  • Schedule
  • Budget
  • Technology
  • People
  • Compliance
  • Political
  • …etc

We rarely think of the differences in the kinds of uncertainties. Yet, differences there are. And they are important.

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Classifying Project Risks by Uncertainties

We rarely think of the differences in the kinds of uncertainties. Yet, differences there are. And they are important.

The easiest classification is into:

Known-knowns

Risks we know all about, but their occurrence remains random

Probabilistic risks – aka Aleatory risks

Known-unknowns

Risks that arise from gaps in our knowledge, which we are aware about

Reducible risks – aka Epistemological risks

Unknown-unknowns – or ‘unk-unks’

Gaps in our knowledge about which we are wholly ignorant

Fog of ignorance, or ‘Black Swans’ – aka Ontological risks

For more about Black Swans, see ‘What is a Black Swan?’

Unknown-knowns

Things we do have knowledge of – but that it has been lost or obscured

Hidden knowledge – aka Latent risks

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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