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By Phil Sabelhaus

Risk identification is an ongoing activity that takes place during the routine project workflow. Project activities such as programmatic and technical meetings, telecons, reviews, and other forms of communication often bring to light project risks. When this occurs, we record and analyze the risk on a Risk Information Sheet. The process outlined below helps the project team identify and cope with project risks throughout the life of the project.


  1. Team identifies list of potential risk items. Not all items identified are accepted. Risks can be current problems or potential future problems.
  2. Risk Mitigation plan with action items and due dates is developed for each accepted risk item.
  3. Team meets regularly (every 2 weeks for us) to assess risks and add new risk items, if necessary. See Status section on Risk Information Sheet below.
  4. Risks are closed when all the actions to close the risk have been taken. Some risk items are closed quickly; others are open for a long time. Some are considered watch items and the action plan doesn’t kick in until certain negative events happen.
  5. Action plans include second sources of some items, requirements redirection, different technologies, etc.
  6. Closed risks remain in the base for future learning.


Example of a Risk Information Sheet (PDF)

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About the Author

 Phil Sabelhaus Phil Sabelhaus is the Deputy Director of Flight Programs and Projects for Earth Sciences. He has also served as Project Manager for several Goddard projects, including TOMS, Landsat-7, EOS Aura , ESSPVCL and EOS Aqua.

About the Author

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