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IT Risk Management for Technical Project Managers

Risk management is a major responsibility for project managers. This process involves pinpointing issues that might derail a technical project and ensuring backup plans in case of project disruptions.

The velocity of technical innovation drives organizations into a near-constant state of upgrading, updating and upscaling their digital processes. As a result, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employers will add over 68,000 project-management roles annually through 2032.

Business professionals seeking entry into the high-demand field gain expertise and insights through advanced information technology (IT) project management degree programs. For example, graduates of the online Master of Science Management Information Systems with a Concentration in IT Project Management program from the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) understand the complexities of IT risk management and its significance in achieving project goals and objectives in the rapidly evolving IT landscape.

The program covers identifying, assessing and mitigating risks related to technology infrastructure, data security and project deliverables, skills that are in high demand among businesses in various industries.

What Is Risk in IT Project Management?

Risk is the possibility that events or circumstances affecting the project will negatively impact the progress or completion of project objectives. Internal risks include technical challenges, scheduling mistakes, insufficient budgeting and shifting priorities. These risks could occur during project initiation or throughout the project.

The risk manager’s task is to know the answer to the question, “What could possibly go wrong?” In an article for, Daniel Raymond ranks failed risk management among the top 10 reasons for project failure. Some of those risks include:

  • Scope creep can result in delays, budget overruns and compromised quality.
  • Technology risks, including hardware or software failure, integration challenges and incompatible team skills, can jeopardize system performance.
  • Resource constraints resulting from inadequate cost estimating, insufficiently skilled team members and lack of access to SMEs can reduce productivity and threaten timelines.
  • Security concerns arise from digital security breaches and unauthorized access to sensitive data, with consequences ranging from reputation damage to legal action.
  • Stakeholder misalignment regarding objectives, priorities and expectations can create confusion, delay decision-making and put the project in peril.

“Every project comes with its own set of risks, and not having a strategy to manage them can lead to unexpected problems,” Raymond warns.

What Are the Best Practices in Risk Management?

Writing for Asana, Julia Martins states that “a good project risk management plan isn’t reactive — it’s proactive,” and “instead of being caught unaware, you’ll have your eye on those risks in case they do become troublesome.”

To avoid potential risks, Asana recommends the following risk management strategies:

  • Identify potential problem spots, verify assumptions and develop matrices to organize issues by probability and severity.
  • Compile contingency and recovery plans prioritized by the probability/severity matrices.
  • Monitor progress toward project milestones and completion goals.
  • Respond when risk turns into reality by executing the prepared contingency plan.

“Project risk management is the practice of preparing for risks and having a great plan in place so you aren’t caught flatfooted,” Martins concludes.

Why Is Project Management a Good Career Field?

In addition to leadership roles in IT project risk management, the UIS online MS in MIS – IT Project Management program prepares graduates for positions ranging from IT consultant and systems analyst to business intelligence analyst and software developer.

All companies must adapt to keep pace with the future of work. The online MS in MIS – IT Project Management program from UIS gives students the in-demand skills and knowledge to keep their organizations competitive, excel in project management roles and earn more opportunities for career advancement.

Learn more about UIS’s online Master of Science Management Information Systems with a Concentration in IT Project Management program.

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