Top Ten Risk Myths



Risk Doctor Briefing

Dr David Hillson, PMI Fellow, HonFAPM, FIRM

The Risk Doctor Partnership




Myths help us to make sense of the uncertainty that surrounds us. In the world of business and projects, risk management performs the same role. Unfortunately there are also myths about risk management. These are often partly true, but they do not represent reality. Here are the top ten risk myths, and how to counter them.

Myth 1: All risk is bad. Risks are potential problems, and if they happen then we are in trouble.

  • Risk includes both threats and opportunities, and both need to be managed proactively. Opportunities can save time or money, enhance performance, and help us to achieve objectives.

Myth 2: Risk management is a waste of time. Most risks are outside our control, and it is impossible to address them in advance. Instead we will deal with any issues that arise.

  • If we deal with risk effectively, then we will not have so many issues to tackle!

Myth 3: What we do not know will not hurt us. Maybe we will be lucky and risks will not affect us. Ignorance is bliss!

  • Risks can hurt us, our business or our projects. Avoidable problems will happen and benefits that could have been captured will be missed. Not knowing about risk can be very costly.

Myth 4: The Risk Manager manages risk. We don’t need to manage risk – we have a Risk Manager.

  • Every member of the team should be a “risk manager”, tackling risks that affect their area of responsibility. The Risk Manager should facilitate the risk process to ensure that it is effective.


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About the Author

pmwj36-Jul2015-Hillson-PHOTODr. David Hillson

The Risk Doctor



Dr David Hillson CMgr FRSA FIRM FCMI HonFAPM PMI-Fellow is The Risk Doctor (http://www.risk-doctor.com/).  As an international risk consultant, David is recognised as a leading thinker and expert practitioner in risk management. He consults, writes and speaks widely on the topic and he has made several innovative contributions to the field. David’s motto is “Understand profoundly so you can explain simply”, ensuring that his work represents both sound thinking and practical application.

David Hillson has over 25 years’ experience in risk consulting and he has worked in more than 40 countries, providing support to clients in every major industry sector, including construction, mining, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, financial services, transport, fast-moving consumer goods, energy, IT, defence and government. David’s input includes strategic direction to organisations facing major risk challenges, as well as tactical advice on achieving value and competitive advantage from effectively managing risk.

David’s contributions to the risk discipline over many years have been recognised by a range of awards, including “Risk Personality of the Year” in 2010-11. He received both the PMI Fellow award and the PMI Distinguished Contribution Award from the Project Management Institute (PMI®) for his work in developing risk management. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the UK Association for Project Management (APM), where he has actively led risk developments for nearly 20 years. David Hillson is an active Fellow of the Institute of Risk Management (IRM), and he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) to contribute to its Risk Commission. He is also a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and a Member of the Institute of Directors (IOD).

Dr Hillson can be contacted at [email protected].

To see other works previously published in the PM World Journal by Dr David Hillson, visit his author showcase at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/dr-david-hillson/