Risk Management in IT Projects


Risk management is one of the most important activities in any information technology project. It’s a process that involves the assessment of various sources of danger in a planned undertaking (Chapman & Ward, 2007). Besides, the process also evaluates the possibility of incurring a loss or experiencing a misfortune during the lifespan of a project. Studies have established that information technology projects are very risky and require a thorough assessment of any dangers before commencement (Chapman & Ward, 2007). According to experts, risk management in information technology projects helps to reduce the chances of a misfortune occurring. Besides, it helps to establish the degree of impact in case an unprecedented outcome is experienced (Chapman & Ward, 2007). Studies have established that information technology projects that involve high-risk processes such as the installation of software or response systems often take a longer time to complete.

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Project managers should develop effective risk management systems that can identify all threats, quantify them, as well as predict the nature and degree of impacts (Chapman & Ward, 2007). Risk management helps managers to complete their projects on time, within the budget, meet all the objectives, and have a satisfied team (Chapman & Ward, 2007). To achieve effective risk management, managers should ensure that the process is part of the project. Also, it is crucial to ensure that risks are identified and communicated on time. Risks can either be acceptable or unacceptable. Therefore, there is a need to consider threats and opportunities attached to them (Chapman & Ward, 2007).

Summary of the article “The role and the effects of risk management in IT projects success” by Otniel Didraga

Risk management has a huge effect on the success of information technology projects. Successful information technology projects are determined by the nature of the risk management system used by the manager. Risk management is a crucial process in information technology projects. Studies have established that the success rate of information technology projects correlates with risk management related practices and vice versa. Some of the main risk management practices associated with information technology projects include risk detection, scrutiny, scheduling a reaction, as well as retort examination and regulation. The process of risk analysis involves several strategies that managers can incorporate in their projects. First, there is the evaluation approach that focuses on establishing the factors that can cause a project to abort. The approach entails reviewing numerous past projects to establish the possible risks likely to be encountered.

Second, there is a management approach that focuses on the best ways of addressing identified risks to avoid any misfortune. This approach relies a lot on rational decision making, as an effective way of identifying events that can influence the success rate of a project. Lastly, there is a contingency approach that focuses on establishing crucial processes and procedures unique to a particular project. According to experts, success in information technology projects is relative because managers often understand the concept differently. In general risk management should help a project to be successful by delivering on time and within the budget. Other important roles played by risk management in information technology projects include eliminating the need for rework, as well as ensuring a focused team and balanced output that creates a positive work environment for success.

Summary of the article “Risk management and information technology projects” by Nehari Talet

According to experts, information technology companies in the 21st Century have a huge task of managing their resources in a manner that enables them to meet all their project needs. In some companies, this challenge involves a high dependency on external expertise that contributes to the high cost of projects. However, it is important to note that project-related risks and financial risks are different, as they influence organizational success in their unique ways. Numerous pieces of literature on project management relate uncertainty to the risks associated with information technology projects. Risks are defined as identifiable events that expose a planned undertaking to a chance of experiencing a loss or damage. On the other hand, uncertainty is defined as an immeasurable component that creates doubt, thus acting as a source of risk for information technology projects. Concerning the concept of uncertainty, risk management can be defined as elaborate actions and approaches that exploit resources to identify dangers, as well as regulating them to manageable levels. Experts argue that it often applies as one of the strategies used in managing project uncertainties.

Projects are unique, thus cannot use the same risk management systems to achieve the same objective. The process of risk management involves four major elements. The first element is designing a risk management system. This entails establishing all the project requirements, any possible risks, their impacts, and the best management practices. The second element is the implementation of the management system by the project objectives and the identified risks. The third element is monitoring and assessing the management system to ensure that it is working effectively. The fourth element is making any necessary changes in the management system. Evaluation of the system provides managers with an opportunity to identify areas that require improvement.

Summary of the article “The rational choice of not applying project risk management in information technology projects” by Elmar Kutsch and Mark Hall

Risk management is one of the most important elements that influence organizational success in the contemporary world of information technology. Many organizations have integrated information technology into their operations as a way of improving service delivery and performance. Some of the common types of information technology projects include outsourcing, software development, roll out, and implementation of user help desk structures. Risks associated with information technology projects are generally considered as hindrances to the fulfillment of objectives. According to the Project Management Institute, one of the main challenges faced by information technology project managers is working within the budget. This leads many managers to fail due to financial needs associated with risk management. Such decisions often turn fatal, as most projects do not achieve most of their objectives.

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Studies have established that five main challenges can influence a manager not to use a risk management system for their project. These challenges are projected ownership disputes, cost justification, lack of expertise, anxiety, and the problem of hindsight. Effective risk management happens in four major steps, namely planning, identification, analysis, and response. However, it is not clear the reason why some information technology project managers choose not to use project risk management strategies in their planned undertakings. This explains why the challenge of cost justification has remained one of the main causes of aborted information technology projects across the world.

Summary of the article “Risk Management Affecting IS/IT Project Success through Communicative Action” by Karel de Bakker, Albert Boonstra, Hans Wortmann

Effective communication is one of the most important elements of successful information technology projects. Studies have established that timely communication of risks during an assessment process plays a crucial role in ensuring effective management and the overall success of the project. Experts argue that good communication between project stakeholders coupled with creative thinking and collaboration play a crucial role in ensuring the success of information technology planned undertakings. The traditional and contemporary views of the risk management process are very different. Traditionally, risk management was viewed as a rational problem-solving process that relied on instrumental action driven by decisions made from data collected to achieve project objectives. Besides, the traditional view considers project success as objectively measurable elements that are determined by the duration of the project, overall cost, and general requirements.

On the other hand, the contemporary view of risk management takes a broader view that incorporates several risk management related activities aimed at influencing the thought process of project stakeholders. Concerning this broader view, project success is considered the ultimate objective of every project stakeholder about various elements of a project. Project success is a relative element that depends a lot on the way different people define success. Studies have established that some of the commonly used elements regarding defining the success rate of an information technology project include the level of influence, cost, duration, stakeholder satisfaction, cost justification, and impact on the environment. To achieve success with information technology projects, it is important to ensure that all impacts are identified, communicated, and dealt with effectively.

Summary of the article “Managing Risks in Complex Projects” by Hans Thamhain

Risk management can be a challenging task for managers dealing with complex projects. Studies have established that risks often create a lot of uncertainties during the life span of a project, thus affecting the ability to achieve their goals objectively. Some of the main elements of a project affected the most by risks include costs, marketing, strategic objectives, and feasibility. Studies have established that the conditions within which a project environment is developed play a crucial role in determining the complexity of the risks involved. However, it is important to note that eventualities in the project environment have different impacts on the performance levels of a project. Also, experts argue that early detection and communication of eventualities in the project environment plays a crucial role in reducing the chances of a misfortune occurring. Studies have also established that performance-related challenges in every project often rush down in big quantities, mix, and link together in an elaborate way. It is also important to note that technologically complex projects tend to attract more risks, thus the need for managers to use better management systems.

There are numerous classes or types of risks that affect the performance of information technology projects. They include communication issues, technology changes, changing team members, organizational conflict, and environmental quality problems. Others include changing market needs, changing project requirements, changing management commitment, changing contractor relations, and legal issues. According to experts, senior managers and project managers often differ in the way they assess the performance of projects. The main reason for this is that project managers rely a lot on the support of senior management to achieve project objectives. Studies have established that functional collaborations between senior managers and project managers act as an effective catalyst to the effective management of risks within a project environment.

Summary of the article “Does risk matter? Disengagement from risk management practices in information systems projects” by Elmar Kutsch

Over the years, research has established that effective risk management influences the performance of information technology projects. However, some researchers have tried to establish the real value of risks in the lifespan of a project, because some managers opt not to use risk management systems. Managers of information system projects are more prone to disengaging from risk management practices. However, it is important to note that information systems projects are not different from any other information technology projects, as they attract the same type of risks. Studies have established that most organizational leaders promote the need to develop risk management systems, but very few project managers use them in their work.

Experts argue that a feeling of powerlessness by project managers often contributes to their decision of disengaging risk management practices from their projects. Due to the nature of information system projects, project managers often lack the freedom to exercise their flexibility and freedom to make suggestions. This makes it hard for managers to take the necessary risks during the life span of the project. Studies have established that senior organizational managers credit the high rate of failure in information system projects to the inability of project managers to actively involve themselves in risk management. Project reliability is another challenge faced by project managers that contributes a lot to their decision to avoid using risk management systems. The exclusion of risks in information system projects by the managers often creates limitations that influence the success rate.

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Summary of the article “Risk communication management: a case study on Brookhaven National Laboratory” by Yunna Rhee

Effective risk management is a crucial element for the success of projects that requires effective communication between all stakeholders. Studies have established that some of the main organizational elements that influence risk management practices include communication between leaders, good stakeholder relationships, and an inclusive workplace environment. Experts argue that the integration of these factors, along with the organizational culture and project objectives results in better communication of risk management. Employees in every organization play a pivotal role in ensuring that all project risks are identified and communicated on time. Employee participation through strategies such as increased accessibility to organizational programs helps to improve the efficiency of risk management systems used by project managers. Experts argue that such initiatives help to create a positive outlook for an organization through good community relations. Also, the relationships that employees have with community members play a crucial role in helping their organizations communicating risks. A good example is the Brookhaven National Laboratory. The company had a project in 1997 that experienced misfortune and led to outrage from the neighboring community.

However, the company managed to embark on a redemption program that involved reopening their closed factory and developing a clear communication structure that would educate the public about their projects. Risk communication is one of the crucial roles played by project managers, as they have a responsibility to ensure that senior management provides them with the necessary support. The commitment that an organization shows towards its stakeholders helps to create positive relationships that are crucial in risk communication. Organizations should create programs that allow community members to interact with their employees and learn a few things about their projects. This helps to improve the efficiency of their risk communication strategies.

Summary of the article “Security Risk Management in Healthcare: A Case Study” by Humayun Zafar

Health care organizations also have numerous projects related to information systems that require effective risk management. Studies have established that both large and small health care institutions require security risk management programs due to the nature of their operations. In the contemporary world where most health care organizations have integrated technology in their operations, project managers need to ensure that they achieve timely detection, communication, and management of all risks. According to experts, security risk management plays a pivotal role in boosting the financial performance of health care organizations because it helps to eliminate unnecessary costs associated with information technology systems. Studies have established that technology is a high-risk element of the contemporary world, thus the need for organizations to secure the information stored in their databases from illegal access.

Experts argue that organizations should be in a position to manage their information professionally. Studies have established that some organizational factors are essential in ensuring the success of project managers. Some of these factors include the level of communication, employee involvement, employee empowerment, and corporate security strategy among others. According to experts, creating an inclusive workplace environment encourages employees to communicate openly, thus helping health care organizations to achieve effective security risk management. Disclosure of health care information is often considered a crime because of its highly sensitive nature. The reason for this is that such actions often compromise the privacy and safety of patients. Even health care workers are prohibited from sharing patient information with third parties without their consent.


Chapman, C., & Ward, S. (2007). Project Risk Management: Process, Techniques and Insights. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

De Bakker, K., Boonstra, A., & Wortmann, H. (2011). Risk management affecting IS/IT project success through communicative action. Project Management Journal, 42(3), 75-90. Web.

DIDRAGA, O. (2013). The role and the effects of risk management in IT projects success. Informatica Economica, 17(1/2013), 86-98. Web.

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Kutsch, E., Denyer, D., Hall, M., & Lee-Kelley, E. (. (2013). Does risk matter? Disengagement from risk management practices in information systems projects. European Journal of Information Systems, 22(6), 637-649. Web.

Kutsch, E., & Hall, M. (2009). The rational choice of not applying project risk management in information technology projects. Project Management Journal, 40(3), 72-81. Web.

Nehari Talet, A. (2014). Risk management and information technology projects. International Journal of Digital Information and Wireless Communications, 4(1), 1-9. Web.

Rhee, Y. (2008). Risk communication management: A case study on Brookhaven national laboratory. Journal of Communication Management, 12(3), 224-242. Web.

Thamhain, H. (2013). Managing risks in complex projects. Project Management Journal, 44(2), 20-35. Web.

Zafar, H., Ko, M. S., & Clark, J. G. (2014). Security risk management in healthcare: A case study. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 34. Web.

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