The Importance of Identifying Triggers for Risk Assessment

The Importance of Identifying Triggers for Risk Assessment

Written by Risk Management Team on June 3, 2020

Risk management is one of the most challenging aspects of any project or undertaking, but it is also one of the most important. By applying a process of identifying risk, performing risk assessments, implementing mitigation strategies and monitoring your risk landscape, you will be able to reduce the occurrence of uncertain or unplanned situations and be more confident in proposed outcomes. One key area of the risk management process that is often overlooked is the identification of triggers for risk assessment.

While understanding the risks you’re exposed to is valuable information for successful project management, identifying risk triggers helps you anticipate when a risk is about to occur. This means that responding to risk can be more than just reactive measures. These triggers – also called risk symptoms, warning signs or indicators – are an event or condition that alerts project managers or risk owners that an identified risk to project success could be present or will be soon.

In the pursuit of the successful execution of your project objectives, knowing what precedes a risk and keeping an eye out for it is an invaluable strategy. Much like with identifying a risk, identifying triggers for risk assessment also requires a deliberate approach.

The Role of Triggers in Risk Management

You’ll find that when you take the time during risk identification to document triggers, the process of risk management will be much easier. They add a series of quality checks along the way, ensuring that you are never blindsided by a risk event.

The Process of Identifying Risk Triggers

It should go without saying that risks need to be identified and documented as early as possible in the process. Along with identifying a risk, you also need to determine several key data points for it including the probability of its occurrence at any point during the project, its level of impact should it occur, the timeframe for the risk and what your risk response will be. At this time, you also determine the triggers for risk assessment.

Triggers may seem difficult to name at first, but it’s usually a simple matter of cause and effect. For example, if you’ve identified high winds as a potential risk to a project site, an approaching storm may be a warning sign that a risk event is about to occur. A reliable method for identifying a risk trigger is to first identify the root cause of the risk. In many cases, triggers are obvious, such as with the previous example of high winds. The root cause of high winds is obviously a weather event. By monitoring the weather, you’ll easily be able to anticipate the risk of strong winds.

Every risk event should have an accompanying trigger that is documented and observed for by someone familiar with the process of risk monitoring.

Close Monitoring of Triggers for Risk Assessment

Risk monitoring is typically the longest stage of your risk management, and hopefully, it’s the least active as well. At this point, you should be tracking existing risks and their triggers, determine when a triggering event has occurred, decide if any risks should be reassessed if you spot any changes in your risk landscape and conduct risk reviews on a regular basis.

During the risk monitoring process, whoever has been assigned to watch out for a trigger is also responsible for immediately reporting any changes to its status and initiating the defined countermeasures. Not all risks can be avoided, but their effects can be mitigated if the appropriate actions are taken in enough time. That’s the goal of monitoring for risk by monitoring their triggers: to proactively respond to a potential risk in a way that keeps your timeline and budget on track.

Identifying and monitoring triggers for risk assessment is a relatively easy task in your overall risk management activities, and when you take it seriously, it leaves you in a much more advantageous position as a project commences. If you forego assigning triggering events to your risks for monitoring, then your risk landscape is full of unknowns. The occurrence of a risk will come as a total surprise. Rather than acting before a situation has impacted you, you’ll be forced to only act after something harmful has happened, and you will have a much more difficult time mitigating the negative effects of it.

Master Risk Assessments With TotalCompliance Risk

An important aspect of effective risk monitoring is the identification of new risks and their triggering events. By taking the time to do the initial stages of risk management correctly, your endeavors will see more success and greater stability. With TotalCompliance Risk by ComplianceBridge, you have the tools to quickly build assessments and manage risk at each step of the way.

Build assessments with flexibility using a variety of question sets including our unique risk rating to identify, classify and assess risks. Questions can be weighted for increased accuracy, and conditional follow-up questions can be added for more exhaustive results. Work with others to create assessments and easily distribute them to your risk experts. Assessments can even have sub-assignments for different employees within the workplace. By working collaboratively during risk identification, you’ll gain a thorough understanding of your complete risk landscape including triggers and risk symptoms.

Maintain an ongoing process of risk monitoring and updating your list of risks through our powerful system. Request a demo with the experts at ComplianceBridge today.

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