Risk AssessmentRisk Assessment

Risk Assessment Template

Minimize potential risks and keep your project or product development on track.

About the Risk Assessment Template

A risk assessment matrix (also known as a probability and severity risk matrix) can help you figure out how to prioritize project or product-related risks based on likelihood and potential business impact. 

The risk matrix can help you set client expectations by building trust and transparency before the project kick-off, mentally prepare your internal project team for dealing with future risks, and prioritize what you need to do to manage risks and resources. 

Keep reading to learn more about risk assessments. 

What is a risk assessment?

A risk assessment matrix is a simple framework you can use to help you plan your project or product development cycle. The grid format also helps you control the amount of risk you’re likely to face during the project by visualizing and qualifying it. 

Risks are likely to develop when a business pivots to a new product or service or needs to operate in an unfamiliar market. An assessment matrix helps teams put a framework in place to find out what the risks are likely to be and develop strategies to manage or stop these risks altogether. 

Risks can be ranked according to low probability and severity (1, color-coded green) to the highest possible likelihood (10, color-coded red). Ranking each risk lets you and your team prioritize risks and tackle the biggest threats with a strong action plan. 

When to use a risk assessment

Before you begin planning for a risk assessment, your project needs a strong foundation.  Make sure you define your project's scope with 

, optimize your team workflows with 
, and outline your team’s roles and responsibilities. 

Risk can take many different forms. Project and product managers need to become comfortable labeling or approaching risk based on severity and likelihood. A risk assessment can help you figure out if you need to… 

  • Avoid the risk: If this a high-impact, highly likely event or situation, it may be worth investing more budget or team efforts as soon as possible.

  • Transfer or share the risk: If a risk has a big impact, but is less likely to happen, it might make sense to move the responsibility of dealing with a risk to a third party (such as hiring a legal team, or by getting an insurance plan). The risk can also be shared among different teams or company groups. 

  • Mitigate the risk: This approach tries to find the balance between lowering both the impact and likelihood of the risk and is likely to happen in consultation with your leadership team or experts hired to consult with your business.

  • Accept the risk: If an event is low risk and has a low probability, it may be safe for your team to take a risk. 

Whether you are kicking off a new project or developing a new project or service, there are many internal and external risks that you’ll need help with predicting or controlling. Analyzing and measuring risk by ranking each type on a visual framework will give you the opportunity to plan the best response and recovery. 

Create your own risk assessment 

Making your own risk assessment is easy. Miro’s whiteboard tool is the perfect canvas to create and share them. Get started by selecting the Risk Assessment Template, then take the following steps to make one of your own.

  1. Decide how granular your risk assessment needs are. A simple risk assessment framework offers three risk levels: low (coded as green or 1), medium (coded as yellow or 2), or high (coded as red or 3). A more detailed framework can extend to a description of extreme (not just high) risks, and increase its numeric scale up to 20. Add new rows and grids as needed.

  2. Figure out the type of risk your team is dealing with. The level of risk depends on what category the risk itself is. Is your risk strategic, organizational, financial, market- or technology-related? Whatever category it may be, add a sticky note to clarify where exactly the risk sits. 

  3. Identify the risk criteria and rank the risk accordingly. Your matrix will help assess the risk according to its likelihood and impact. There may be other criteria that are useful to consider such as the organization’s vulnerability to threats and risk speed. Whatever you decide, it’s important to reach consensus as a team. Try 

     to quickly agree on which criteria make the most sense for the current business climate. 

  4. Assess the risks. Analyze your risks according to color codes (green to yellow to orange to red) and numeric scales. Use a combination of 

     and 
     to decide and agree on how important each risk is considered to be. 

  5. Prioritize the risks. Depending on which risks are highest or extreme, it’s important to discuss each identified risk's probability and business impact. From here, your team can move onto coming up with an action plan. Remember to repeat the matrix process a few times a year, to adapt to the changing risk landscape.

Risk Assessment Template

Get started with this template right now. It’s free

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