PMP Risk Assessment Matrix: How to Create Probability and Impact Matrix in Project Management

Risk Probability, Impact Assessment, Prob & Impact Matrix

Yad Senapathy, PMP August 2, 2023

In the fast-paced and ever-changing landscape of project management, risks are an inevitable part of any undertaking. Identifying and managing these risks are essential to ensuring the successful completion of projects. Risk probability and impact assessment, along with the probability and impact matrix, are powerful tools that enable project managers to understand, prioritize, and mitigate potential threats effectively. We will delve into the concepts of risk probability, impact assessment, and the probability and impact matrix in this blog.

Understanding Risk Probability

What is Risk Probability?

In the realm of project management, risk probability refers to the likelihood of a specific risk event occurring during the course of a project. As no project is entirely free from uncertainties, accurately assessing the probability of risks is crucial for focusing on the most relevant and potentially harmful ones. You must learn risk probability from a Project Risk Management Course to equip yourself.

Factors Influencing Risk Probability

Several factors influence the assessment of risk probability. These include historical data and trends from similar projects, expert judgment from experienced team members, the complexity of the project itself, and external factors such as economic conditions, political stability, and environmental impacts.

Quantitative vs. Qualitative Probability Assessment

There are two main approaches to assessing risk probability. The first is a quantitative assessment, which involves assigning numerical probabilities to risks based on historical data and statistical analysis. The second is a qualitative assessment, where risks are categorized as low, medium, or high probability based on expert judgment and subjective evaluation.

Impact Assessment of Risks

What is Risk Impact?

Risk impact refers to the potential consequences or effects that may result from the occurrence of a specific risk event. Understanding the potential impacts is critical for effective risk mitigation and resource allocation.

Evaluating Risk Impact

To comprehensively assess risk impact, project managers must consider various dimensions, including:

  • Financial impact

The potential costs and financial losses associated with a risk event.

  • Schedule impact

The potential time delays and disruptions to the project timeline.

  • Reputational impact

The effect on the project"s reputation and the organization"s brand.

  • Safety and environmental impact

The potential harm to employees, stakeholders, or the environment.

  • Stakeholder impact

The effect on key stakeholders and their interests.

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Measuring Quantitative Impact

Quantitative impact assessment involves assigning monetary values to potential impacts or calculating the potential time delays caused by specific risk events. Additionally, project managers can quantify reputational or stakeholder impacts by conducting surveys or assessments to gauge perceptions and sentiment.

Creating a Probability and Impact Matrix

What is a Probability and Impact Matrix?

A Probability and Impact Matrix, also known as a Risk Matrix or Risk Assessment Matrix, is a visual tool that aids project managers in prioritizing risks based on their likelihood of occurrence and potential impact. The matrix facilitates a structured and data-driven approach to risk management.

Constructing the Matrix

risk matrix

To create a Probability and Impact Matrix, project managers follow these steps:

  • Divide risk probability and impact into categories (e.g., low, medium, high) to establish a clear scale.

  • Create a grid with probability on one axis and impact on the other, resulting in a matrix layout.

  • Assign risk ratings to cells based on the intersection of probability and impact categories.

Using the Probability and Impact Matrix

Risk Prioritization

The Probability and Impact Matrix enables project managers to prioritize risks effectively:

  • High-risk areas (high probability and high impact) require immediate attention and detailed risk response plans.

  • Moderate-risk areas (medium probability and impact) warrant proactive planning and risk mitigation strategies.

  • Low-risk areas (low probability and impact) can be monitored with less urgency but should not be disregarded entirely.

Mitigation Strategies

To effectively manage identified risks, project managers must develop appropriate risk responses for each risk, including preventive measures to reduce probability and mitigative actions to minimize impact. Adequate resource allocation and clearly defined responsibilities are crucial for successful risk management.

Updating the Matrix

Dynamic Nature of Risks

Projects evolve over time, and risks may emerge or change throughout the project lifecycle. It is essential to recognize the dynamic nature of risks and anticipate potential alterations in the risk landscape.

Regular Review and Reassessment

To ensure the Probability and Impact Matrix remains accurate and relevant, project teams must schedule periodic risk reviews. Incorporating new data, feedback from stakeholders, and lessons learned from previous projects will contribute to effective risk management.


Risk probability, impact assessment, and the probability and impact matrix are indispensable tools for project managers seeking to enhance project success and minimize potential threats. By accurately understanding the likelihood and consequences of risks, project teams can make informed decisions and implement appropriate mitigation strategies.

Article by

yad senapathy
Yad Senapathy, PMP

Yad is not just the leader of the Project Management Training Institute (PMTI). He helped to write significant portions of the project management standards worldwide. He is helping PMI right now in reviewing, directing, and leading the development of the 7th edition of the PMBOK® Guide to incorporate the most monumental changes to project management standards in 35 years. He shares his wisdom with readers via the PMTI blog.

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