Nine types of risks to list in your proposal

When you are writing in response to a Request for Proposal (RFP), you are often asked to address the risk of the program and/or of your solution.

Example of risk assessment: A NASA model showing areas at high risk from impact for the International Space Station. By National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA):NASA Johnson Space CenterOrbital Debris Program Office – Orbital Debris Education Package, Public Domain,

And even if you’re NOT asked to address risk, it’s a good idea to do so. Claiming that your solution implementation has NO risk shows that you don’t know what you’re talking about.

But what types of risks do you find in a project?

In this case, the government IS here to help.

In a presentation to the APMP Chesapeake Chapter today, Dwayne Baptist of Lohfeld Consulting Group pointed the attendees to a particular portion of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) that discusses risk.

FAR 39.102 addresses “Management of risk” for federal projects, and helpfully includes a list of nine types of risk:

 (b) Types of risk may include schedule risk, risk of technical obsolescence, cost risk, risk implicit in a particular contract type, technical feasibility, dependencies between a new project and other projects or systems, the number of simultaneous high risk projects to be monitored, funding availability, and program management risk.

From 39.102 Management of risk. | Acquisition.GOV

If it’s easier to read this way, here is a numbered list of the nine types of risk cataloged in FAR 39.102(b).

  1. schedule risk
  2. risk of technical obsolescence
  3. cost risk
  4. risk implicit in a particular contract type
  5. technical feasibility
  6. dependencies between a new project and other projects or systems
  7. the number of simultaneous high risk projects to be monitored
  8. funding availability
  9. program management risk

So if you’re uncertain of the types of risks that your project may encounter, you can use the list in FAR 39.102(b) as a starting point.

You can use this list even if you’re not responding to a federal procurement…or even if you’re not responding to any procurement at all and just want to identify the types of risks in your project.

Of course, identifying the risks is only the beginning. You have to mitigate the risks, and you have to communicate how you are mitigating the risks. Baptist addressed those topics also.

You should have been there.

But even if you weren’t there, Baptist has written an article entitled “How to Win with Risk” that you may find helpful.

(And if you attended the meeting, you will see that Baptist repurposed parts of his article in today’s presentation. Repurposing is good.)