Risk Matrix

Risk Matrix Template

Identify and prioritize risks based on their probability and severity.

About the Risk Matrix template

Making use of a Risk Matrix helps you weigh the severity of a potential risk against the probability that the risk might occur. Risk matrices are useful for risk management because they visually represent the risks involved in a decision.

What is a risk matrix?

A risk matrix, also known as a probability matrix, risk assessment matrix, or impact matrix, is a tool of risk analysis that helps you evaluate risk by visualizing potential risks in a diagram. It allows you to weigh the severity of a potential risk against the probability that the risk might occur.

When to use a risk matrix

Risk matrices are useful for risk management because they visually represent the risks involved in a decision. They allow you to easily and quickly see the possible consequences of a choice. This empowers you to avoid worst-case scenarios by preparing contingencies or mitigation plans.

Risk matrices vary, but in general, are used to categorize risks in the following ways:

  1. Critical/high priority risks: These risks are the most severe, so they must be dealt with immediately. Most teams choose to escalate critical risks to meet a deadline or serve a need before it balloons out of control.

  2. Major risks: These risks carry slightly less severe potential consequences than critical risks. But they should still be treated with urgency.

  3. Moderate risks: Risks that fall under this category are not a high priority. They are usually associated with devising an alternate strategy to overcome a setback during a project.

  4. Minor risks: The team should address these risks only once the others have been mitigated.

How to create your own risk matrix in 4 steps

The risk matrix comprises a series of sticky notes in a grid set across two axes: probability—from rare to very likely, and impact—from trivial to extreme. This allows you to not only get the full scope of all the potential business risks that you face but also prioritize them by urgency. Miro’s whiteboard tool is the perfect canvas to create and share your risk matrix.

Step 1: Open the Risk Matrix Template

First, get started by selecting this Risk Matrix template and opening it on a Miro board.

Step 2: Brainstorm risks

Get all your team members together and brainstorm a list of potential risks to your organization or project. Then, categorize each risk by potential impact: low, moderate, major, and critical.

Step 3: Plot the risks on the matrix

With the potential impact of the risk decided by the team, now you have to place it on the matrix according to how probable the potential risk is. The upper right-hand of the grid should have the highest probability, and highest impact risks.

Step 4: Review and develop an action plan

Now, with all potential risks graded by probability and impact, you can explore the highest potential impact & probability risks and develop a strategic plan to mitigate these risks. The final outcome should be a detailed action plan that explores each risk and can inform future project management.

FAQs about risk matrix

How do you create a risk matrix?

To create a risk matrix, you need to draw a risk matrix table (or use a template), brainstorm a list of potential risks, and then place them on the matrix according to the probability of their occurrence and the severity of the risk.

How do you read a risk matrix?

To read a risk matrix, start in the bottom left corner to see the lowest probability, lowest impact risks. Probability will increase with the vertical axis, and severity will increase with the horizontal axis.

Risk Matrix Template

Get started with this template right now.

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