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Risk Management: Concepts and Guidance

Carl L. Pritchard, Editor, 1997, ESI International, 218 p., hardcover.

Updated:  2nd Edition (ESI International, 2001)

This is an update of a risk management guide prepared through the Defense Systems Management College. ESI International is a training and consulting firm, providing a series of courses in project management.

Risk Management: Concepts and Guidance has the format of a handbook on project risk management. Most of the book is a catalog of 16 risk management techniques, such as "Analogy Comparisons," "Expert Interviews," and "Performance Tracking." There is a very nice hierarchical diagram in "Project Templates," and I appreciated some coverage of "Life-Cycle Analysis (needs more detail)." Each technique is described in moderate detail. The chapters provide selection guidance including:

There is a "Risk Analysis Technique Selection Matrix" to summarize..

A recurring theme is "Risk Planning," the first of four phases in ESI's approach to project risk management. Indeed, Risk Planning is the first phase. ESI's phases are somewhat different from the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).

PMI ESI
Risk Identification Risk Planning
Risk Quantification Risk Assessment
Risk Response Development same
Risk Response Control same

I prefer PMI's four-dimensions to project risk management.  However, ESI does well to draw attention to Risk Planning as an integral part of project planning.

This book is oriented to large defense contractor projects. Information technology receives a definite bias. The appendices include:

This book is worth examining if you are either:

  1. Planning a large project, especially project risk management; or
  2. Developing tools or procedures for project risk management.

—John Schuyler, June 1999, revised Jan. 2002

Copyright 1999-2002 by John R. Schuyler. All rights reserved. Permission to copy with reproduction of this notice.