PMP Certification: Plan Risk Responses (based on PMBOK® Guide, 6th Edition)


  • WHAT Plan Risk Responses Is. Plan Risk Response implies determining the most appropriate responses to each top threat and opportunity and assigning an accountable person to manage each risk.
  • WHY Plan Risk Responses Is Important. The Plan Risk Response process creates a plan with specific proactive responses for each risk in the risk register, assigned to specific team members.
  • WHEN Plan Risk Responses Is Executed. Like Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis and Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis, Plan Risk Responses is a planning process with iterative nature and it does not end with the start of project execution. New risks arise throughout the entire project life cycle and a project manager needs to plan and review response strategies accordingly.
  • HOW Plan Risk Responses Operates.
pmp 2018 plan risk responses pmbok guide 6th edition tipsographic main

Plan Risk Responses 101

What Does Plan Risk Responses Involve and When Do You Perform It in a Project Life Cycle?


  • WHAT Plan Risk Responses Is. Plan Risk Response implies determining the most appropriate responses to each top threat and opportunity and assigning an accountable person to manage each risk.
  • WHY Plan Risk Responses Is Important. The Plan Risk Response process creates a plan with specific proactive responses for each risk in the risk register, assigned to specific team members.
  • WHEN Plan Risk Responses Is Executed. Like Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis and Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis, Plan Risk Responses is a planning process with iterative nature and it does not end with the start of project execution. New risks arise throughout the entire project life cycle and a project manager needs to plan and review response strategies accordingly.
  • HOW Plan Risk Responses Operates.
InputsTools and techniquesOutputs
  1. Project management plan
    • Resource management plan
    • Risk management plan
    • Cost baseline
  2. Project documents
    • Lessons learned register
    • Project schedule
    • Project team assignments
    • Resource calendars
    • Risk register
    • Risk report
    • Stakeholder register
  3. Enterprise environmental factors
  4. Organizational process assets
  1. Expert judgment
  2. Data gathering
    • Interviews
  3. Interpersonal and team skills
    • Facilitation
  4. Strategies for threats
  5. Strategies for opportunities
  6. Contingent response strategies
  7. Strategies for overall project risk
  8. Data analysis
    • Alternatives analysis
    • Cost-benefit analysis
  9. Decision making
    • Multicriteria decision analysis
  1. Change requests
  2. Project management plan updates
    • Schedule management plan
    • Cost management plan
    • Quality management plan
    • Resource management plan
    • Procurement management plan
    • Scope baseline
    • Schedule baseline
    • Cost baseline
  3. Project documents updates
    • Assumption log
    • Cost forecasts
    • Lessons learned register
    • Project schedule
    • Project team assignments
    • Risk register
    • Risk report

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 6th ed., Chapter 11, section 11.5, p. 437.

Plan Risk Responses Key Terms

What Are the Key Terms to Fully Understand the Process of Planning Risk Responses?


  • Accept. A risk response strategy for either positive or negative risks that does nothing and accepts the consequences of a risk occurring.
  • Avoid. A risk response strategy that eradicates a particular negative risk by eliminating its cause.
  • Contingency Plans. Plans that describe the specific alternatives to deal with certain opportunity or threat, should they occur.
  • Contingency. The reserve for time and cost developed for “known unknowns”.
  • Enhance. A risk response strategy that increases the probability or impact of a particular positive risk.
  • Exploit. A risk response strategy that adds work or change to project to ensure that a particular positive risk occurs.
  • Fallback Plans. Back-up plans for identified risks accepted actively which include an alternative set of actions and tasks, available in the event the primary contingency plan does not work.
  • Mitigate. A risk response strategy that minimizes the probability and impact of a particular negative risk.
  • Residual Risk. A risk that remains after risk response planning.
  • Secondary Risk. A risk that results from implementing a response to another threat or opportunity.
  • Share. A risk response strategy that assigns ownership or partial ownership of a particular positive risk to a third party.
  • Transfer. A risk response strategy that makes a third-party responsible for a particular negative risk.
  • Workaround. Unplanned solutions to unidentified risks accepted passively that occur during project execution.

Plan Risk Responses Tips

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What Are the Best Tips to Answer Correctly the PMP Certification Exam Questions on Plan Risk Responses Process?


  • Active Acceptance Vs. Passive Acceptance. Active acceptance develops risk responses to be implemented in case of risk occurrence – contingency plans –  and allocates a buffer time and/or budget to the project – contingency reserves. Passive acceptance does nothing and deals with the risk only if it arises –workarounds.
  • Avoid and Mitigate Vs. Transfer and Accept. High-priority, high impact risks require avoidance and mitigation as risk response strategies. Low-priority, low-impact risks call for transference and acceptance.
  • Contingency Reserves Vs. Management Reserves. Contingency reserves target “known unknowns” identified in risk management. Management reserves deal with “unknown unknowns” a project manager did not or could not identify in risk management.
  • Situational Questions on Major Risks. On the PMP exam, you should choose the answer that implements a contingency plan over the option that presents possible solutions after the problem has occurred.

Click here for a detailed analysis of each project management process group and knowledge area.

SOURCES: Project Management Institute (2017). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). 6th ed. Newtown Square: Project Management Institute.

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