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Some of the documentation and materials that should be used in risk identification as they become available include these: The risk identification process needs to be repeated as these sources of information change and new information becomes available.

There are many ways to approach risk identification.

Finer gradations of impact and likelihood—for example, very high, high, medium, low, and very low (a five by five matrix)—would allow a more nuanced consideration of the attention needed.

Risks that can be characterized as both low impact and low likelihood of occurrence are essentially negligible and can usually be eliminated from active consideration.

In this situation, the owner’s management must determine if the project should be terminated or if the project is so mission critical or the potential benefits are so great that taking the risks is justified.

Risk management does not imply that no risks are taken; it means that the risks taken should be calculated risks.

Treating the symptoms, rather than the root causes, will give the appearance of activity but will not solve the problem.

Unfortunately, identification of symptoms is far easier than identification of root causes.

The goal of risk identification is not only to avoid omissions but also to avoid the opposite pitfall—of being distracted by factors that are not root causes but only symptoms.Project owners should ensure that the risk identification process goes beyond the symptoms.While outside, disinterested reviewers can sometimes help perform this function, the following sections describe methods that can be used by project personnel to identify risks and their causes.Two possible approaches are (1) to identify the root causes of risks—that is, identify the undesirable events or things that can go wrong and then identify the potential impacts on the project of each such event—and (2) to identify all the essential functions that the project must perform or goals that it must reach to be considered successful and then identify all the possible modes by which these functions might fail to perform.Both approaches can work, but the project team may find it easier to identify all the factors that are critical to success, and then work backward to identify the things that can go wrong with each one.

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