risk categories

Risk Categories

Consider some of the risks faced by people in different careers. A firefighter, for instance, faces a very different set of risks than someone who works in an office environment. What risks or uncertainties have you personally encountered in your career? How were these risks connected to the field or industry in which you work or worked? The nature of the product or service that an organization offers will also influence the categories of risk it may incur. What are some categories of risk that you think might affect many different types of organizations? What are some types of risks that are industry-specific? Your ability to categorize risks and to understand how particular organizations generate particular risks will be the basis of this week’s Discussion.

Some risks are quantitative (objective), while others are more qualitative (subjective) in nature. Although quantifiable risks are often preferred as they provide certain data to support their impact, frequently leaders must accept qualitative data as risk, by definition, describes uncertainty.

Another discussion where you get to utilize your experience in your industry. Although all projects are managed using the same framework (as defined by PMI in the PMBOK Guide, 5th edition), every industry has its own project life cycle that is unique to that industry.

Software development life cycle (SDLC) is a common phrase due to the expanse of technological projects, but construction, healthcare, research, manufacturing, aerospace, defense, etc. all have their own lifecycles that their projects typically follow. Likewise, each industry has its own set of industry-specific risks that are unique, or at least more prevalent, within that industry.

As an example, healthcare has patient safety risks that are unique to what they do – they treat patients. They also have compliance risks surrounding the regulatory bodies that regulate the healthcare industry, 3rd party payer risks concerning reimbursement contracts with insurance companies, uninsurance risks due to EMTALA (which requires hospitals to treat all patients in an emergency, regardless of ability to pay), and government payer risks due to the downward financial pressure the US federal government is putting on Medicaid and Medicare reimbursements, just to name a few.

Although other industries may have some risk categories that are similar to healthcare, they would differ more than they would be the same. So how does healthcare approach risk management? Most healthcare providers have multiple layers of risk protection, including insurance for medical mishaps and catastrophes, internal risk management departments, strict policies involving patient care, clearly defined protocols for the delivery of care, tightly controlled medication administration (and storage), probing background checks on new hires, licensing requirements for all clinicians, internal and external auditors to verify compliance with policies and protocols, strict conflict of interest rules, mandatory annual training for all staff, etc.

These are all ways in which we improve quality and reduce risks within the healthcare industries, and they all cost money to implement but hopefully improve patient care and reduce costs long term.

The above is not example of what your post would look, as it should discuss how your industry approaches risk management differently due to the risk categories that most affect your industry. I simply listed out some ways that healthcare providers manage risk, and I did not go into any detail on the approach that we use. That detail may include workflows, processes, and step-by-step descriptions of how healthcare would go about managing risks, and not just a listing of things that we do.

For this Discussion, consider the various risk categories (financial, operational, hazard, regulatory, technical/engineering, etc.) as well as any that are industry-specific.

I work for the School Construction as a project manager

Answer the following:

  • Briefly describe an organization where you currently work or one with which you are familiar.
  • Describe the risk categories that you believe most affect that industry or business.
  • Discuss whether the risk categories that you described lend themselves better toward using qualitative risk analysis (PMBOK, section 11.3) or quantitative risk analysis (PMBOK, section 11.4).


Project Management Institute. (2017). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). Sixth edition. Newtown Square, PA: Author.

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