Essentials of Managing Risk


Book Title: The Essentials of Managing Risk for Projects and Programmes
Author:  John Bartlett
Publisher:  Routledge
List Price:   $50.95
Format:  Paperback, 120 pages
Publication Date:   2017    
ISBN: 978-1-138-28831-7
Reviewer:     Jen Duenhoelter
Review Date:   October 2017




Risk is obvious to everyone.  Politicians, businessmen, educators, media, and health professionals highlight risk every day.  It inundates our life.  Much less is said about the process we use to understand and respond to risk.

Overview of Book’s Structure

The book flows in a logical order of chapters covering identification of risk, logging it fully, the appropriate response once risk is known, and tools for analysis so that risk can be managed before it becomes an issue.  Those tools help provide project and program managers risk avoidance strategies that help them deal with uncertainty.


Bartlett highlights the path between risks, issues and necessary change and emphasizes the cost impact when we do not effectively deal with risk when it is first identified.  This increased cost is a key motivation to deploy appropriate tools and techniques necessary to effectively manage risk so that we can avoid the later expense of remediation.

The leading chapters describe the initial mechanism for identifying and reporting new risks and the corresponding identification of cause.  Project teams, including my own, sometimes have difficulty in expressing risk so that others can fully comprehend what is at stake.  The goal is to have Risk Registers that fully outline cause, the event (i.e. the risk), and the impact.  For it to have any value, they should have more than just the statement of the event.  Expressing risk is fundamental to identifying it.  Bartlett directs the reader to focus areas and on drivers of risk also known as potential trigger points for risk.  One technique fully outlined in the chapter was how to execute risk identification workshops.

Responding to risk with an appropriate action plan and strategy was highlighted as one of the most important aspects of Risk Management.   The risk assessment layer deals with the likelihood of occurrence, its impact to the project and the cost of its impact.   Adding these details to the risk register allows for reporting that enable appropriate control of the actions to deal with the risk.

Once you have the right data, analysis and reporting of that data enable views that drive decision making.  Bartlett provides great examples on how to use Risk Concept Mapping, Cause and Effect Diagramming, Influence Diagrams / Decision Trees, Risk Radar Charts, and a number of charts that show data easily so that the team can clarify where patterns emerge.


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About the Reviewer

Jen Duenhoelter, PMP, SSGB

Texas, USA


Jen Duenhoelter
, PMP, SGB is a Vice President Account Executive and National Program Management Executive at SWBC in Texas.  Ms. Duenhoelter currently lives in north Texas and can be contacted at [email protected] or www.linkedin.com/in/jen-duenhoelter-pmp-ssgb-378a527


Editor’s note:  This book review was the result of a partnership between the publisher, PM World and the PMI Dallas Chapter. Authors and publishers provide the books to PM World; books are delivered to the PMI Dallas Chapter, where they are offered free to PMI members to review; book reviews are published in the PM World Journal and PM World Library.  PMI Dallas Chapter members can keep the books as well as claim PDUs for PMP recertification when their reviews are published.  Chapter members are generally mid-career professionals, the audience for most project management books. 

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