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Risk Matrix Template for Excel

Use this free Risk Matrix Template for Excel to manage your projects better.

Projects are risky, but risks can be managed. You can identify risk, prioritize it and assign a team member to own that risk and be responsible for resolving it. Not too complicated—but you can easily become disorganized.

That’s why you need ProjectManager’s free risk matrix template for Excel. With it, you can take any potential issue and determine how much of a risk it is and what impact it could have on the project. Download ProjectManager’s free risk matrix template for Excel and start managing your project’s risks.

What Is Project Risk?

Risk represents uncertainty. It’s an event or condition that might occur in your project and, if it does, will create either a negative or positive impact.

ProjectManager's free risk matrix template
ProjectManager’s free risk matrix template for Excel.

Yes, there is such a thing as positive risk! It can take the form of an unexpected event, like an economic situation that causes the raw materials you need for your project to drop lower in price.

Typically though, when we think of risk, we’re expecting something bad. And risk can indeed have very bad consequences. There might be a labor dispute that results in your workforce stepping off the job. There could be a natural disaster, global unrest or just mechanical difficulties that impact the triple constraint of your project—time, cost and scope.

What Is a Risk Matrix?

A risk matrix is a project management chart that’s used to plot risk against the likelihood of it happening and the severity of the impact on your project.

The risk matrix is a grid. The left side has a scale representing the likelihood of the risk occurring, from rare to almost certain. The top of the grid addresses the severity of the risk, from insignificant to severe. By plotting the risk on the risk matrix, you get a better idea of how much attention should be paid to it.

Why You Need a Risk Matrix Template

Risk is inherent in any project. The best thing you can do is develop a risk management process to identify and correct issues before they become problems. That’s why you need this risk matrix template for Excel.

A risk matrix can be a communication tool, too. You can use it to let the project team know the risks that might occur during a project. This way, they can keep their eye out for them and alert others if a risk becomes an issue. This awareness means that risk will undoubtedly have less impact on a project.

Manage risk better than a risk matrix with ProjectManager. Our cloud-based software delivers a real-time risk matrix and lets you view risks in a live project menu. Our powerful, updateable list can sort, drag and drop, filter and more. Create tasks devoted to only risks that can then be assigned to team members, with dates, priority, tags and more. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

Risk matrix image

When to Use a Risk Matrix Template for Excel

The best time to utilize this risk matrix template is during the planning phase of a project. It’s part of a risk management plan of identifying risks and coming up with methods to address and resolve them.

However, ProjectManager’s risk matrix template can be used throughout the life cycle of the project as well. After planning comes execution, and during this phase, new risks might arise. Therefore, the risk matrix template must be constantly reviewed and revised to keep it up-to-date.

Who Updates the Risk Matrix Template?

The risk matrix is usually the responsibility of the project manager. They are the ones making the plan, working closely with stakeholders and conducting research to better understand the details of the work.

Once a risk has appeared as an issue, however, the owner of that risk is responsible for leading the effort to resolve it. The project manager or whoever on the project team is responsible for maintaining the risk matrix, will update it as needed. This means reviewing the document and updating it as the time, cost and scope of the project change.

How to Use ProjectManager’s Risk Matrix Template for Excel

  1. Download ProjectManager’s free risk matrix template for Excel to start safeguarding your project.
  2. When you do, fill in identifying info for the project at the top of the page.
  3. Fill out the date. The date shows when the risk matrix was last revised, so you know you’re working off the most current version.
  4. Then we come to the meat of the meal, the risk matrix. This grid is laid out with the top row indicating the severity of the risk. The range is from insignificant to severe.
  5. Up the left-hand side is the likelihood that the event will occur in the project. This range is from rare to almost certain.
  6. Plot the risk and determine the priority. Green indicates a low priority, yellow is medium priority, orange is high and red is very high.

Managing Risk With ProjectManager

Now you have your risks identified and plotted on the risk matrix template, but next comes the hard part. How do you manage the risks that appear in the project and address them before they derail all your hard work? ProjectManager is an online tool that helps you do just that.

Make an Online Risk Tracker

Manage risks alongside your project in ProjectManager. Make an online risk tracker with our Risk View, enabling you to log risks, submit a resolution, mark likelihood and impact—even use a dynamic risk matrix. It’s easy to manage risks with your team.

Risk register with risk matrix in ProjectManager

Track Risk on Live Dashboards

There are more features to monitor and track risk. Our live dashboard gives a high-level view of the project that captures real-time data so you can make insightful decisions. It collects data and automatically calculates progress and performance, which is then displayed in easy-to-read graphs and charts.

dashboard showing project metrics in real-time

Create Project Plans from Start to Finish

Start by setting up your plans in our online Gantt chart view, which can organize tasks, link dependencies, set milestones and assign work to the risk owner. Filter the critical path and then set baselines to help track your actual progress against the plan and make sure you’re staying on track.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart


Other Templates to Help Manage Risk

The free risk matrix template for Excel is only one of the dozens of project management templates you can download. Some templates open up in ProjectManager for a free trial or stay in the always-free version of the tool. For once, there’s no risk with these templates.

IT Risk Assessment Template

While this free template is designed for an IT environment it can be used for managing any project risk. It gives you a place to collect all the risks, name them and the actions necessary to mitigate the risk.

Risk Register Template

Another free template, this one a risk register, which allows you to describe the risk, note the impact it could have on the project as well as detail the response if it does show up. You have a column in which to note the priority of the risk, who owns it and more.

Action Plan Template

ProjectManager’s free action plan template allows you to lay out the response to the risk when and if it shows up in your project. It lists the steps needed to resolve the issue, who owns it, the priority, tasks and more. There’s a timeline and a list of the needed resources, too.

Related Content

If you’re still curious about risk and how to manage and mitigate it in your project, ProjectManager has tons of free blogs, tutorial videos and guides for you to explore. ProjectManager has evolved into a project management hub. Here are a few links to get you started.

You can download free templates and learn about all aspects of project management on the site. We recommend you give ProjectManager a try, though, as it helps you through every phase of a project, even mitigating risk, and improves efficiency and productivity. Try ProjectManager today for free.