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What is a risk register & how to build one easily online

Louis Strauss |

Created: May 17, 2023|Last Updated: August 1, 2023
What is a risk register & how to build one easily online


What is a risk register?

A risk register is a crucial tool used in the field of risk management to identify, assess, and monitor potential risks throughout a project or business endeavor. It serves as a repository of all the risks that may have an impact on the success or failure of a project, allowing project managers and teams to proactively address and mitigate these risks. A risk register typically includes a comprehensive list of risks along with their descriptions, categorizations, potential impact, and ownership. It also incorporates details such as the level of risk, probability, and potential responses or actions to be taken. By maintaining an up-to-date risk register, organizations can effectively manage and prioritize risks, implement appropriate mitigation strategies, and develop contingency plans, ultimately enhancing their decision-making process and overall risk management framework. To streamline and simplify these processes, organizations can leverage risk management tools, such as the 6clicks GRC software, which offers a comprehensive suite of features designed to facilitate the creation, assessment, and management of risk registers. By utilizing such software solutions, businesses can ensure efficient risk management processes and better protect themselves against potential threats and negative impacts.

For detailed instructions on creating a risk in the 6clicks, you can refer to this article.

Purpose of a risk register

A risk register serves as a crucial tool for project managers to effectively manage and minimize potential project risks. Its purpose lies in identifying, logging, and tracking these risks throughout the entire project lifecycle. By maintaining a comprehensive risk register, project teams can better understand the potential impact of each risk and develop strategies to mitigate them.

The risk register serves as a centralized database for different types of risks, allowing project managers and stakeholders to easily categorize and prioritize them. It provides a detailed risk description, including information about the risk event, its potential impact, and the risk owner responsible for managing it. This enables project teams to allocate resources and develop appropriate risk responses and contingency plans.

Moreover, the risk register plays a vital role in assessing and evaluating risks over time. By regularly updating the risk register, project managers can track any changes in the risk landscape and determine the effectiveness of their risk management strategies. This helps them make informed decisions and take proactive measures to mitigate potential negative impacts.

In summary, the purpose of a risk register is to create a repository of risk information and facilitate the efficient management of potential project risks. By using a risk register, project teams can identify, log, prioritize, and prepare for risks, ultimately reducing their negative impact. To streamline and enhance the risk management process, project managers can leverage innovative software solutions like 6clicks GRC software, which provides comprehensive risk management capabilities.

To learn more how 6clicks can support risk management efforts, refer to our risk management solution.

Benefits of using a risk register

The use of a risk register in project management offers numerous benefits. It serves as a vital tool for project managers to effectively identify, analyze, and manage potential risks. By systematically documenting and categorizing risks in a centralized database, project teams can have a comprehensive overview of all potential risks that may impact their project's success.


Benefits of a risk register


A risk register enables project managers to identify risks proactively. It prompts them to thoroughly assess the likelihood and potential impact of each risk, allowing them to prioritize their response accordingly. By having a clear understanding of the risks involved, project managers can allocate resources more effectively and develop appropriate risk management strategies.

Regularly reviewing and sharing risk registers with project teams and stakeholders ensures that everyone is aware of the identified risks. This fosters open communication and collaboration, enabling project teams to collectively work towards mitigating the identified risks. Additionally, sharing the risk register promotes transparency and accountability.

Furthermore, adjusting risk management techniques over time is crucial for continual improvement. By regularly updating and revisiting the risk register, project managers can track changes in the risk landscape and evaluate the effectiveness of their risk management strategies. This allows them to make informed decisions and implement necessary adjustments to mitigate potential negative impacts.

In conclusion, utilizing a risk register in project management provides numerous benefits, including the ability to identify risks, analyze them thoroughly, and manage them effectively. Regularly reviewing and sharing the risk register promotes collaboration and transparency, while adjusting risk management techniques over time leads to continual improvement and increased project success.

Elements of a risk register

A risk register is an essential tool in project management that helps project managers identify, assess, and manage potential risks. It provides a comprehensive repository of risk information that enables project teams to proactively identify and mitigate potential threats to project success. The elements of a risk register include risk description, risk category, risk owner, risk identification, risk level, potential impact, risk probability, risk response plans, and risk status. Each element plays a crucial role in the risk management process, ensuring that risks are effectively evaluated, prioritized, and addressed. By utilizing a risk register, project managers can enhance their ability to control and minimize the negative impact of risks, ultimately increasing the likelihood of project success.

Elements of a risk register

Potential risks

Potential risks are uncertainties that have the potential to result in negative effects on one or more project objectives. These risks can have a significant impact on a business's finances, performance, employees, customers, investors, and other stakeholders.

Identifying potential risks is an essential step in the risk process as it allows project managers to anticipate and mitigate these uncertainties before they escalate into larger issues. By maintaining a risk register, project teams can systematically document and evaluate potential risks.

In the risk register, each potential risk is described in detail, including its category, description, potential impact, risk owner, and level of risk. This repository of risk information serves as a valuable resource for project teams, allowing them to track and monitor risks over time.

By understanding the nature and potential impact of risks, project managers can develop appropriate risk response plans and implement mitigation strategies to minimize negative impacts. This proactive approach enables businesses to stay on schedule, control costs, and safeguard their project objectives.

To effectively manage potential risks, project teams can utilize risk management tools and follow a structured risk management framework. By taking a comprehensive approach to risk management, businesses can effectively navigate uncertainties and optimize their project outcomes.

Risk description

Risk Description is a crucial element in the risk register as it provides a detailed explanation of the nature and characteristics of each potential risk. This section plays a vital role in helping project managers and teams fully understand the potential impact and implications of each risk.

In the risk description section, project-related risks are highlighted along with their potential impact on various aspects such as costs, consumer markets, product or service quality, performance, or technology. This information allows project teams to prioritize and allocate appropriate resources to effectively manage these internal or external risks.

By including comprehensive and accurate risk descriptions in the risk register, project teams can make informed decisions about risk responses and develop contingency plans. Additionally, the risk description section provides a space to capture any additional information that may prove important in assessing and addressing the risk.

Utilizing GRC software platforms like 6clicks can enhance the risk management process by providing a structured approach to risk description and management. This software allows teams to create a risk register, assign risk owners, and assign risk ratings based on the probability and potential impact of the risks.

Potential impact

In the risk register, potential impact refers to the possible consequences and negative outcomes that may result from the occurrence of a risk event. It is essential to detail the potential impact in order to effectively assess the significance of each risk and develop appropriate risk responses.

The potential impact of risks can have wide-ranging implications for a project or organization. It can encompass financial implications, such as increased costs, decreased revenue, or budget overruns. Additionally, it can involve performance implications, such as delays in project delivery, compromised product or service quality, or reduced customer satisfaction.

Furthermore, the potential impact extends beyond the internal aspects of a project or organization. It can affect external stakeholders, including employees, customers, investors, and the broader market. For example, a risk event may lead to layoffs, customer dissatisfaction, reduced investor confidence, or damage to the organization's reputation.

To ensure a comprehensive understanding of the potential impact, it is essential to collaborate with colleagues from various departments and levels of expertise. This collaborative approach allows for gathering comprehensive feedback and identifying multiple potential effects, which further enhances the accuracy of risk assessment.

Risk category

In a risk register, the concept of risk category plays a crucial role in organizing and categorizing risks based on their nature. Risk categories provide a standardized list of areas that are prone to risk events, allowing project managers to identify and assess potential risks more effectively.

By utilizing risk categories, project teams can easily classify risks according to their specific characteristics. This helps in streamlining the risk identification process and ensures a comprehensive understanding of the types of risks that may impact the project or organization.

While organizations typically provide high-level standard risk categories, they can be extended based on the specific project type. This allows project teams to tailor the risk categories to align with the unique risks associated with their particular industry or project.

The importance of risk categories lies in their ability to provide a systematic approach to risk assessment and management. By categorizing risks, project managers can prioritize and allocate appropriate resources to mitigate and respond to each risk effectively.

To facilitate the process of organizing risks within a risk register, project teams can leverage risk management tools like the 6clicks GRC software. This software provides a structured framework for creating and managing risk categories, ensuring a comprehensive and standardized approach to risk management.

Risk level

In a risk register, the risk level is assessed to determine the intensity of each identified risk. This assessment takes into consideration both the likelihood of the risk occurring and the potential effects it could have on the project or organization. By assigning a measurable representation of the risk level, project managers can prioritize their risk management strategies and delegate tasks accordingly.

To categorize the intensity of risks, a numeric scale or classifications such as low, medium, or high can be utilized. This provides a clear indication of the level of risk associated with each identified risk. The risk level serves as a reference point for project teams to allocate appropriate resources and attention to the risks that pose the greatest potential impact.

By assessing and assigning a risk level to each identified risk, project managers can focus their efforts on addressing the high-risk areas first, ensuring that the necessary measures are in place to mitigate the negative impact. This systematic approach to prioritizing risk management strategies facilitates effective decision-making and helps project teams to proactively manage potential risks.

To streamline the process of assessing and managing risk levels in a risk register, project teams can leverage comprehensive risk management tools such as the 6clicks. This software provides a structured framework for evaluating and categorizing risk levels, ensuring a standardized and efficient approach to risk management.

Contingency plan

A contingency plan is an essential component of a risk register, designed to effectively manage and mitigate the potential impact of risks on a project. It involves identifying and preparing for unforeseen circumstances or events that may arise during the course of a project, which could jeopardize its progress or success.

A contingency plan typically includes several key components. Firstly, it outlines a detailed analysis of potential risk consequences, considering the various ways in which a risk event can affect the project. This evaluation allows project managers to have a clear understanding of the potential negative impacts they need to address.

Based on this analysis, contingency plans also include specific response plans for each identified risk. These plans outline the immediate actions that need to be taken in the event of a risk event occurring. They detail the steps to be followed, roles and responsibilities, and any required resources or protocols to ensure a swift and effective response.

Contingency plans are particularly crucial in emergency situations, where quick decision-making and well-coordinated actions are essential. By having a contingency plan in place, project teams can respond promptly and effectively, minimizing the disruption caused by unexpected events.

Ultimately, contingency plans play a vital role in mitigating the impact of risks on project progress and teamwork. They provide a framework for managing risks proactively, ensuring that potential disruptions are addressed promptly. By having predetermined strategies and actions in place, project teams can maintain productivity and minimize the negative consequences of risks, increasing the chances of project success.

Level of risk

The level of risk in a project can be evaluated by analyzing both the likelihood and potential impacts of each risk. This assessment allows project managers to gain a comprehensive understanding of the intensity of each risk and prioritize their risk management strategies effectively.

To determine the level of risk, project managers can assign an intensity score to each risk based on a numeric scale or classify them as low, medium, or high. This score reflects the combined evaluation of the likelihood of a risk event occurring and the potential impacts it may have on the project.

By assessing the level of risk, project managers can identify the most critical risks that require immediate attention and allocate appropriate resources and efforts to manage them effectively. This evaluation enables project teams to prioritize their risk response plans, ensuring that the most significant risks are addressed promptly.

Additionally, evaluating the level of risk helps project managers delegate tasks and responsibilities based on the intensity of each risk. This approach allows for efficient and targeted risk management efforts, reducing the overall project risk and increasing the chances of project success.

Project team involved in the treatment plan

In order to effectively manage identified risks, it is crucial to involve the appropriate members of the project team in the response plan. Each team member brings their unique expertise and perspective, contributing to the overall risk management strategy.

Project managers play a critical role in overseeing the risk management process. They are responsible for coordinating and guiding the efforts of the project team. Project managers should ensure that response plans are developed and implemented in a timely manner. They also monitor the progress of risk mitigation activities and adjust the plans as needed.

In addition to project managers, other team members may be involved in specific response plans depending on their roles and areas of expertise. For example, a technical expert may be responsible for addressing risks related to technology or infrastructure. A finance specialist may be assigned to handle risks related to budget constraints or financial impacts.

It is important to have a designated team member responsible for monitoring and managing the risks throughout the project lifecycle. This role involves regularly assessing the status of identified risks, updating the risk log, and communicating any changes or developments to the project team and stakeholders. This forms the basis of your risk management plan. Each team member should have a good understanding of the project's objectives and potential risks, enabling them to effectively analyze and respond to evolving situations.

By involving the project team in the response plan, organizations can leverage the collective knowledge and skills of their members. This collaborative approach ensures a comprehensive and proactive risk management process, reducing the negative impact of potential risks and increasing the chances of project success.

Risk rating and score

Calculating the risk rating and score is a crucial step in the risk management process. These metrics help project teams prioritize and address potential risks identified in the risk register.

The risk rating is determined by evaluating two key factors: probability and risk impact. Probability refers to the likelihood that a risk event will occur, while impact refers to the severity of its consequences. These factors are typically assessed on a scale, such as low, medium, or high.

To calculate the risk rating, the probability and impact levels are multiplied together. For example, if a risk has a medium probability and a high impact, the risk rating would be medium-high. This rating provides a quick snapshot of the risk's significance and helps project teams allocate appropriate resources and attention.

In addition to the risk rating, a risk score is often calculated using a 2-dimensional risk matrix. This matrix displays the probability and impact levels on a graph, allowing for qualitative rankings. The risk score is then determined by where the risk falls on the matrix. This score provides further insight into the risk's overall importance and guides decision-making in terms of risk response plans and mitigation strategies.

By accurately assessing the risk rating and score for each identified risk, project teams can prioritize their efforts, allocate resources effectively, and ensure that appropriate risk response plans are implemented. This helps to minimize potential negative impacts and increase the chances of project success.

Owner and risk manager for each risk identified

Assigning an owner and risk manager to each risk identified in the risk register is crucial for effective risk management. The risk owner takes responsibility for monitoring the risk trigger and driving the implementation of countermeasures. This ensures that risks are actively managed and mitigated throughout the project lifecycle.

The risk owner plays a central role in overseeing the risk response plans and coordinating actions to address potential risks. By having a designated owner, accountability is established, and a clear line of communication and decision-making is maintained. The risk owner is typically a member of the project team or an individual with the necessary expertise and authority to manage the risk effectively.

Including the risk owner's contact information on the risk register facilitates seamless communication and collaboration. Having direct access to the risk owner allows project managers and team members to easily reach out for updates, discuss risk mitigation strategies, and promptly address any emerging concerns. This improves the efficiency and effectiveness of risk management processes, minimizing the negative impact of potential risks on the project.

In conclusion, assigning an owner and manager to each identified risk in the risk register empowers proactive risk management. The risk owner assumes responsibility for monitoring the risk trigger and driving the implementation of countermeasures. Including their contact information on the risk register promotes effective communication and collaboration, enabling timely risk mitigation actions and ensuring project success.

Project managers responsible for monitoring risks

Project managers play a crucial role in monitoring project risks to ensure successful project outcomes. It is their responsibility to proactively identify potential risks, assess their potential impact, and develop suitable risk response strategies. By closely monitoring project risks, project managers can mitigate potential threats and maximize project opportunities.

One important aspect of managing project risks is assigning risks to team members. Each risk identified in the project risk register should have a designated team member responsible for leading the risk response actions. This ensures that there is clear ownership of each risk and accountability for its management.

Documenting this process in a project risk register provides a centralized repository of all identified risks, their descriptions, potential impact, and assigned risk owners. This helps in keeping track of the risks throughout the project lifecycle. The risk register serves as a valuable tool for project managers to monitor the progress of risk response actions, track any changes in risk status over time, and assess the overall effectiveness of the risk management process.

By effectively monitoring risks and documenting them in a project risk register, project managers can minimize the negative impact of potential risks. This proactive approach enables timely risk mitigation actions, enhances project control, and ultimately contributes to the successful delivery of the project.

Evaluate risks by identifying threats and opportunities

In order to effectively evaluate risks and ensure comprehensive risk management, it is crucial to identify both threats and opportunities within a risk register. By doing so, organizations can take a balanced view of the potential outcomes and incorporate both positive and negative sources of uncertainty.

When evaluating risks in a risk register, it is important to systematically analyze potential threats that may impact the project, such as financial risks, technological risks, or even legal and regulatory risks. These threats should be carefully documented in the risk register, including a description of the risk, its potential impact, and the likelihood of occurrence.

On the other hand, it is equally important to identify potential opportunities that may arise during the project. These opportunities can include factors such as new market trends, advancements in technology, or strategic partnerships. By identifying and documenting these opportunities in the risk register, organizations can proactively plan for their realization and capitalize on them for project success.

To effectively respond to both threats and opportunities within the risk register, organizations should consider a range of response types. For example, in the context of cybersecurity opportunities, recommended response types may include realizing the opportunity by developing and implementing innovative security solutions, sharing the opportunity by collaborating with other industry leaders, enhancing the opportunity by investing in cutting-edge technologies, or accepting the opportunity by strategically adapting the project plan to leverage it.

By evaluating risks in a risk register and identifying both threats and opportunities, organizations can proactively plan for their management and maximize project success. This balanced approach enables project teams to address potential risks with the appropriate response actions and optimize their decision-making processes.

The case for using multiple risk registers

The case for using multiple risk registers in 6clicks' risk management solution brings several benefits and use cases to organizations. By implementing multiple risk registers, different departments within an organization can track specific types of risks and customize scales/scoring for each register.

One key benefit is the ability to tailor risk management processes to the needs of different departments. For example, the finance department may focus on financial risks, while the IT department may prioritize technological risks. By creating separate risk registers, each department can effectively track and manage risks relevant to their area of expertise.

Customizing the scales and scoring systems for each risk register is another advantage. Different types of risks may require different assessment criteria and scoring methodologies. With multiple risk registers, organizations can establish customized scales and scoring systems that align with the unique characteristics and priorities of each risk category.

Furthermore, multiple risk registers allow for sorting risks based on different criteria. For instance, strategic risks can be distinguished from operational or domain-specific risks. This enables organizations to prioritize and allocate resources effectively based on the nature and potential impact of each risk category.

Get started with 6clicks' risk management solution

Get started with 6clicks' risk management solution to effectively identify, assess, and mitigate potential risks within your organization. By utilizing their comprehensive risk register, project managers and teams can easily create a repository of risk information, ensuring a proactive approach to risk management. With customizable risk registers tailored to different departments and risk categories, organizations can prioritize and allocate resources efficiently. The ability to customize scales and scoring systems allows for accurate risk assessments, ensuring that risks are appropriately ranked based on their potential impact. By leveraging 6clicks' risk management solution, businesses can establish risk response plans, implement mitigation strategies, and track the status of risks over time. With a user-friendly interface and advanced features, 6clicks provides a robust risk management framework that supports informed decision-making and enhances overall organizational risk resilience.

To learn more about 6clicks' risk management solution, visit their website at

Use in-built risk libraries

One of the key components of effective risk management is the creation and maintenance of a risk register. This document serves as a repository of all potential risks that could impact a project or organization. However, manually identifying and documenting all these risks can be time-consuming and challenging.

To enhance the effectiveness of a risk register, one solution is to utilize in-built risk libraries. These libraries are pre-populated with a comprehensive list of pre-identified risks that are relevant to specific industries or projects. By leveraging these libraries, project managers and risk professionals can save time and ensure that all potential risks are considered.

In-built risk libraries offer a range of benefits. Firstly, they provide a starting point for risk identification, ensuring that no common risks are overlooked. This helps to establish a thorough risk description and categorization, which is crucial for effective risk management. By utilizing these libraries, project teams can leverage the knowledge and experience of industry experts in identifying and assessing risks.

Furthermore, in-built risk libraries facilitate consistency and standardization across projects and organizations. By having a common set of risks, risk management becomes more streamlined and efficient. This consistency also enables benchmarking and comparison of risks across different projects or industries.

Finally, in-built risk libraries can be continually updated and expanded, providing a repository of risk information that evolves over time. This ensures that risk registers remain relevant and up-to-date in the face of changing circumstances and emerging risks.

In conclusion, the use of in-built risk libraries in a risk register can greatly enhance its effectiveness. These libraries save time, ensure all potential risks are considered, promote consistency and standardization, and provide a repository of evolving risk information. By leveraging these libraries, organizations can strengthen their risk management processes and better protect themselves against potential threats.

Discover 52 Risks by Peter Deans

In the context of creating and managing a comprehensive risk register, Peter Deans' "52 Risks" proves to be an invaluable resource. Deans' work outlines a practical framework for identifying and addressing a wide range of risks that organizations may encounter. By categorizing risks into three distinct libraries - operational, financial, and strategic - 52 risks provides a structured approach to assess potential threats.

  1. The operational risk library encompasses risks associated with day-to-day activities, processes, and procedures within an organization.
  2. The financial risk library addresses risks that pertain to the financial health and stability of the company.
  3. Lastly, the strategic risk library focuses on risks arising from the organization's long-term decisions and competitive positioning.


52 Risks by Peter Deans


By utilizing these libraries, risk managers can ensure that no critical aspect of the organization's operations is overlooked, resulting in a more robust risk register that aids in proactive risk management and enhances overall resilience in the face of uncertainties.

Don't use spreadsheets

When it comes to risk management, using spreadsheets for risk registers may not be the most effective approach. While spreadsheets have long been a popular tool for organizing data, they have several limitations that can hinder the effectiveness of a risk management process.

Firstly, spreadsheets lack data integrity. It is easy for errors to occur, such as accidental deletions or the input of incorrect information. This compromises the accuracy and reliability of the risk register, leading to potential risks being overlooked or misinterpreted.

Additionally, spreadsheets have limited data analysis capabilities. Without robust risk management software like 6clicks GRC, project managers may struggle to comprehensively analyze risks, identify trends, or assess the potential impact of each risk. This hinders the ability to set risk priorities and allocate resources effectively.

Another drawback of using spreadsheets is the inability to generate necessary reports for compliance audits. Risk management is not just about identifying and mitigating risks; it also involves demonstrating compliance with industry standards and regulations. Spreadsheets lack the automated reporting features necessary to efficiently provide the required documentation during audits.

To address these limitations, it is recommended to leverage specialized risk management software like 6clicks. With its advanced features and intuitive interface, this tool enables project managers to enhance their risk identification and management processes. By eliminating the reliance on spreadsheets, organizations can ensure data integrity, improve data analysis capabilities, and generate the necessary reports for compliance audits. Redefine your risk management process by making the switch from spreadsheets to dedicated risk management software. 

6clicks: Intuitive risk management software

When it comes to effectively managing risks for projects, 6clicks' intuitive risk management software is a game-changer. With its user-friendly interface and robust features, it streamlines the entire risk management process, from identification to mitigation.

One of the key advantages of using 6clicks' risk management software is its comprehensive risk identification functionality. The software provides project managers with a centralized platform to capture and document all potential risks, ensuring that no risk goes unnoticed. Moreover, it offers in-built risk libraries, enabling users to leverage pre-defined risk descriptions and categories for efficient risk classification.

Once risks are identified, the software facilitates the assessment process by allowing project teams to evaluate each risk's potential impact and probability. This structured approach empowers project managers to prioritize risks based on their level of severity and allocate resources accordingly.

Furthermore, 6clicks' risk management software enables users to track the status, risk ownership, and impacts of identified risks in real-time. This feature ensures that risks are continuously monitored and appropriate actions are taken to mitigate their negative impact. By offering insightful reports and dashboards, the software also facilitates data-driven decision-making for effective risk management.

In conclusion, 6clicks' risk management software provides project managers with a comprehensive and intuitive solution to identify, assess, and manage risks. With its in-built risk libraries and efficient tracking capabilities, it empowers project teams to mitigate potential risks and ensure project success. 

Learn more about the risk management capability in 6clicks here.

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