How to Minimize Risk, Control Uncertainty, and Increase Opportunity

This advanced course is designed for graduates of the Strategic Project Leadership course. Using the concepts of SPL, it is bringing traditional risk management to the next level by integrating project risk together with the project’s uncertainty, as well as challenge and opportunity. It is also dealing with the subproject level to identify challenges of completing specific critical work packages.

Traditional well-established risk management techniques are insufficient to deal with today’s complexities and challenges in projects. In spite of extensive risk management planning, many projects still fail to deliver on time or for the right business. Common risk management is aimed at identifying “what can go wrong” and prepare for it. But quite often the problem is in assessing the degree of project uncertainties and balancing them with the potential opportunity. The real question is not just “What can go wrong?” but, “How long will it take to get it right, and is it worth it?

The course will present and practice the techniques of traditional project risk management using the company’s real projects. It will then expand and show how to balance risk with the degree of challenge and opportunity. The course will establish quantitative measures for risk, challenge and opportunity both at the project as well as the subproject level, and will show how to compare different project proposals and plans. The last section of the course will be dedicated to calculating the project’s opportunity and compare it to alternating and competing solutions. The goal is to balance risk, challenge, and opportunity in the most effective way, and to adapt their project plans and resources to each specific project.

20 PDUs
PMI Talent Triangle Share of PDUs:
Business Leadership Technical
10 2 18

Course Objectives – What Will You Learn?

  • Understand the fundamental principles of traditional project risk management and learn how to apply them to project planning
  • Identify the pitfalls and gaps in traditional risk management and their impact on project success
  • Understand the difference between project risk project uncertainty, and project challenge, and learn to identify the expected levels of challenge in your project
  • Establish a model for challenge analysis and challenge control, as well as opportunity
  • Learn to plan your project resources based on the right balance between risk, challenge, and opportunity at the project and subproject level
  • Practice these techniques on real company projects

Course Delivery Style


The program is highly interactive. It combines the theory and techniques of risk and challenge management and practices them on given case studies as well as real company projects. The program uses discussions, team exercises, and simulations of situations.

Course Outline


1. Introduction – Defining Risk, Uncertainty, Challenge, and Opportunity

  • Traditional risk management defined and described
  • Why many projects still don’t make it – Cases: Airbus, Boeing 787, Sageway
  • What’s still missing
  • Defining project uncertainty, challenge, and opportunity

 2. Mastering Traditional Risk Management

  • What is risk management
  • The insurance policy analogy
  • Identifying project risks and program risks
  • Assessing individual risk probability and impact
  • Calculating expected risk levels
  • Risk mitigation planning techniques
  • Integrating risk management into project plans

 3. The Challenge Analysis Framework

  • How is challenge different than risk
  • The sources of project challenge
  • The Diamond model for challenge assessment
  • Additional elements and constraints that create challenge
  • Calculating the level of project challenge
  • Distinguishing work package and entire project levels
  • Adapting project management to challenge
  • Selecting the best organization and process per challenge
  • Calculating project contingencies based on risk and challenge

 4. The Subproject Level – Dealing with Critical Components

  • One size does not fit all elements
  • Distinguishing difficulty from importance
  • Uncertainty, constraint, functionality, and value
  • Identifying the criticality of work packages
  • How to adapt management to different levels of critical components

 5. Integrating Risk, Challenge, and Opportunity

  • The business focus opportunity
  • The strategic approach to competitive advantage
  • Calculating the project’s opportunity
  • Comparing opportunities and competitive advantage across projects
  • An integrated approach to risk, challenge, and opportunity
  • Applying the integrated approach to company projects