When Risk Management Meets Risk Realized

Mitigating Project Impact


By Vince Yauger, AIA, CCCA, CCM, LEED AP, PMP

University of Texas at Dallas

Richardson, Texas, USA



Most project managers are familiar with the practice of developing risk registers, and the need to evaluate and plan for risk in a major project. But what happens when a risk is realized in spite of your best planning? How we respond to a crisis when one occurs is vital to limiting the potential impact of a realized risk to the outcome of the affected project.

This paper will emphasize the importance of performing detailed emergency response planning before a problem occurs. We will explore tools and techniques for preplanning for the known risks. Using construction project risk management as a framework, we will also look at multiple case studies where a potential risk occurred, causing damage to infrastructure and/or injury to workers. This exercise will illustrate how cost and delay impacts can be mitigated through the decisive application of preplanned contingency and response plans.

The Project Management Institute’s PMBOK Guide 5th Edition describes Project Risk Management as “the processes of planning, identification, analysis, response planning and controlling risk on a project.” It further states that “the objectives of project risk management are to increase the likelihood and impact of positive events, and decrease the likelihood and impact of negative events on the project. In this paper, we will focus on identification of risks, planning for risk responses, and controlling risk through execution of response plans.


What is risk management? Project Risk Management Processes as defined by PMI:

11.1 Plan Risk Management – defining how to conduct risk management activities for a project

11.2 Identify Risks – process for determining which risks may affect the project

11.3 Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis – prioritizing risks for probability of occurrence and impact

11.4 Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis – numerically analyzing the effect of identified risks

11.5 Plan Risk Responses – developing options and actions to reduce threats to project objectives

11.6 Control Risks – process of implementing risk response plans

Source: PMBOK Guide, 5th Edition, Page 309

A key component of any risk management exercise is identification of risks that could impact the project. “Identifying Risks is the process of determining which risks may affect the project and documenting their characteristics.” Source: PMBOK Guide, 5th Edition, Page 319


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Editor’s note: Second Editions are previously published papers that have continued relevance in today’s project management world, or which were originally published in conference proceedings or in a language other than English. Original publication acknowledged; authors retain copyright. This paper was originally presented at the 11th Annual UT Dallas Project Management Symposium in August 2017. It is republished here with the permission of the authors and conference organizers.

About the Author

Yauger, PMP

University of Texas at Dallas
North Texas, USA



Vince Yauger, AIA, CCCA, CCM, LEEP AP, PMP has 36-years’ experience in design and construction, working as a project manager for both private industry and the government sector. His construction experience covers a broad spectrum of building types, ranging from small residences to multi-million dollar multi-family high-rise, airport terminals, and higher education projects. Vince currently serves as a Resident Construction Manager / PM for the University of Texas System Office of Facilities Planning and Construction – managing new construction and major renovation projects at the University of Texas at Dallas campus since 2007.

Vince earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design (Architecture) from Texas A&M University, with additional graduate studies in Architecture and Management. He holds multiple professional certifications: Project Management Professional (2011), CSI – Certified Construction Contract Administrator (2006), CMAA – Certified Construction Manager (2017), LEED Accredited Professional (2004), and Registered Architect (1999 – Texas).

Past speaking engagements include a keynote address at the 2015 UTD PM Symposium, 2016 Virtual Construction and Field Technology Conference, UTD Applied Project Management Forum, 2013 Texas Society of Architects Convention, 2013 UTD Facilities Management Conference, and multiple UT System OFPC annual conferences. He also serves as a guest lecturer for UTD’s PM core curriculum program, speaking to groups of foreign graduate students visiting UT Dallas, and conducting construction site tours on campus.

Vince can be contacted at [email protected]