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Project Risk Attitude
Risk Attitudes

Being a project manager, we will encounter stakeholders who have various behaviour towards risks in a project environment. Some risks are related to profitability of the project and this of course will attract the attention from the upper management. Some portion of risks are related to impacts of project to the current operation activities and this will attract the attention of the operation managers as well. Other than that, Project objective’s related risk are dominating the risk management activities, which covers under the knowledge areas of PMI standard (Scope, Schedule, Cost, Quality and etc)

During the project communication and stakeholder’s engagement process, we could see how these people react or perceive towards these various risks and the reaction is called Risk Attitude.

Risk Attitude can be categorized into 3 major types which are:

  1. Risk Seeker
  2. Risk Averse
  3. Risk Neural

Risk Seeker, as the name suggests, is a person who are looking forward to involve themselves in a risky works or endeavours, which they believe it will produce more rewards and benefits to themselves. We could see this behaviour in the Small and Medium enterprises business owners, who are specialized on a certain area and they are willing to make decision faster in order to grab opportunities, despite the trouble and risks they have to go through. For them, risk is just a tool for them to make money. And they are less fond to take a look on the risk details but faster in making a move.

Risk Averse, or we can also call Risk allergic, is a person who don’t want to be involved in any project, work or endeavours that they are not familiar with and they don’t really seem wanting to try out new things. For them, maintaining status quo is important for the survival of the organization and they don’t foresee any rewards produced by taking any risky activities. Hence, they will try to avoid it as much as they can. This can be seen in the mission critical operation team, who are really averse in making changes or revamping their operational systems. For example, making significant changes in Banking Infrastructure system in a short time frame, of course will trigger enormous objection from the operation manager.

Risk Neutral, on the other hand, is a person who are at the middle of those extreme two cases. This person will evaluate a project or business endeavour by comparing its Pros and Cons and will analyse the risks by looking into the opportunity that they will receive versus the trouble that they will have to endure. This person will have more objective attitude in comparing the opportunity they will grab versus the threat that they have to manage. Sometimes they grab the opportunity and sometimes they just let it go. This group of people is the majority among these three categories and they usually at the middle management level and among senior managers who are scattered around Small, Medium and Large Enterprises. They will not reject any business proposals abruptly, instead, they will ask it to be presented for further deliberation.

These are the major 3 categories of Risk attitude. It is an important concept for you to understand if you are planning to take the PMI-RMP exam. As a project manager, you need to analyse all the project stakeholders risk attitude starting from in the initiation phase and document it in the Stakeholder register. With this list of stakeholder register, you need to strategize how you can manage those people with various risk attitude by giving emphasis in the stakeholder engagement plan. The main objective of having stakeholder engagement activities is to make sure, the risk averse stakeholders are always confident with the outcome of the project and they are willing to support the project activities when needed.