Change Risk Assessment Playbook

Ensure you have clear change risks identified with 

associated mitigation plans agreed.

45 min

5+ People

What you’ll need


Video conferencing with screen sharing

Digital collaboration tool (Zoom, Hangout)




Post-it notes


Instructions for running this Playbook

1. Prep


The whole project team including key business stakeholders should all participate in this session, so make sure you book the session well in advance.


This session may be a part of the overall project risk assessment process or a stand-alone session. This is important for agile teams that the whole team is contributing to the outcome of the risk assessment. The session designed outlined here is for a separate stand-alone session.

Typically the change risk assessment is carried out during the project planning process. The key difference between agile and traditional methods is that for agile teams the risk assessment is integrated as a way of working through the project lifecycle and not just done at the beginning of the project.

Make sure you have a change risk assessment form (in Powerpoint or Word) so that you can use this to capture the output.  Refer to the bottom of the page as an example.



Make sure sufficient home-work is done prior to the session to understand typical unforeseen or foreseen risks from previous projects. Risks identified should factor in historical data and not just based on individual opinions.

2. Identify stakeholders


The whole project team. If there is a Risk Partner you may want to engage the risk partner to help facilitate this session. It is important to include technical team members in this session as well since there can be cross-implications between change risks and technical delivery, and vice versa. The business owner, project manager and business representative(s) should definitely participate as well.

Risk sessions are not always the most popular sessions, however they are critical and you may need the support of your sponsor and project manager to ensure full attendance.


3. Run the session

Introduction – 5 min

Introduce participants, the overall session design and flow. Run through outcome desired and emphasise the importance of the session. Tie-in any risk management objectives of the organisation and the project as required.



Set the scene – 5 min

Explain what change risks are and how they are different from other project risks. Provide ample examples so that your stakeholders are crystal clear. There are 3 key change risk categories.

Strategic: The risk that the organisational benefits from the change is not realised or sustained

Business: Risks that impact the organisation’s operations, productivity, or their readiness for the change.

Project: Risks related to the delivery of project change management activities.




Discussion – 30 min

To kick-off the discussion provide a real example from a previous project to warm-up the team and get the thinking juices going. Then, based on your research of previous example of change risks from other projects go through some of these and ask the group if these are relevant risk for this project.

After this, facilitate the group to come up with other change risks relevant to this project. The objective is not to brainstorm as many as possible. It is to leverage different functional perspective of the team to derive a realistic list of key change risks. Talk through any project assumptions that may be approved false and implications of these.

Populate the Assessment form capturing key ideas (you can word-smith later).


Wrap up – 5 min

At the end of the session run through the form and check with the team that everything has been captured accurately.


What to do with the output?

Write up the output as a formal Change Risk Assessment.

The output should be submitted as part of the Change Register for the project.  It should be referenced constantly and actions should be assigned to each mitigations and reported during team meetings. 

The output may also be presented and shared with various business stakeholders including Risk Partners.


If you have a Risk Partner for your part of the organisation or a project risk partner it will be a good idea to leverage him/her to plan and run the session.

This will enable you to participate fully and drive the conversations as needed.  

If you do not have a Risk Partner that will also work fine.  Just make sure you leverage your team to cover key change risk areas outlined.


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