Il est bien plus beau de savoir quelque chose de tout que de savoir tout d'une chose. [Blaise Pascal]

Managing risks and issues with Project Server 2013 (or Project Online)

As part of your projects’ management, you will most probably have to manage risks and issues.
The goal of this article is to show how risks and issues (but also documents or deliverables) can be managed within Project Server 2013 (or Project Online) and linked with Projects, Tasks or any other assets.
Before we start, let see how the Project Management Institute (PMI) defines issue and risk:
Issue: A point or matter in question or in dispute, or a point or matter that is not settled and is under discussion or over which there are opposing views or disagreements.
Risk: An uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on one or more project objectives.
Project Management Institute. (2013). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK® guide) – Fifth Edition.

In fewer words, risks might occur and we need to manage this eventuality, where issues are events that are already happening and we need to manage consequences.

My project
For the demo, we will use a simple project called [Related items project], that has the following schedule.

By default, when a project is created, a SharePoint site is provissioned (what is called Project site).

On the home page of the Project Site, you have links to Documents, Deliverables, Risks and Issues
If you click on the Issue link, you can access the issue list. The issue list is a SharePoint based custom list with a pre-defined structure (and modify of course).

Same for the list of risks.

I have created some issues and risks and added documents. Back to project center, I notice following icons on the Indicators column.

If the project is based on an Enterprise Project Type
If the project is based on a SharePoint tasks list
Issues are associated with the project
Risks are associated with the project
Documents are associated with the project

Assign risk, issue, deliverable or document to a task
I have created risks, issues, and documents on the Project site. By default, these assets are assign to the project.
If I would like to attach one of them to a specific task, here is the procedure:
On the Schedule page, select the task you want items to be attached to, then select the Options tab and click Related Items.

This opens [Task 1] detail page.
It is important here to notice that the task detail page, from the Project Site Tasks list, is displayed and not the task within the schedule as such. List of tasks from the Project Site, which we can see as a proxy of the schedule’s tasks, are populated or updated on publish.

Important #2: If your project has more than 5000 tasks you will face the throttling issues publishing the tasks to the list and there will be nothing to link to.

Click on ADD RELATED ITEM (capital letters, tentative of nice design?).
On the Select an Asset pop up window, you can navigate to your project site, and select the asset to link. I select Risks and chose [Risk #2: Risk assigned to me]. Location (URL) is updated with /OGMS/Related items project/Lists/Risks/2_.000

Click Insert. The pop up closes and the task detail page refreshes with the related item.

From a task, you can insert related risk, issue, deliverable, document or any other site assets (such as list’s item or calendar event).
The opposite is also possible, from a risk or issue, you can add related tasks.

Back to the Schedule page, the icons appear on the Indicators column for each impacted tasks.

View Issues and Risks that are assigned to me
On the Quick Launch (left navigation), you have a link to Issues and Risks, that displays issues and risks assigned to you (assigned to you and not owned by you).

Links within Microsoft Project (client)
From Microsoft Project Pro (or Pro for Office 365), clicking on the File tab, Info menu, you can access related items using the links on the page.


  1. Very nice post! Thank you for sharing Jeremy. What is your take on Risk management and time phased information? I would like to know how a risk progresses through time.

  2. Hi Erik,
    Thanks for your message, and great open question. For me there are 2 aspects on managing risks (and opportunities):
    1) Ensure good follow up of your risks, depending on the impact, it could be weekly or monthly. In this domain, Microsoft Project can help you booking recurrent meeting for risks review and preparing those meetings, with clear and up to date report(s) (Risks, status, assignees, tasks, impacts…)
    2) Second element is the risk response plan. I will soon write an article on how to manage risk response plans within Microsoft Project. Risk response plans are the list of tasks and costs that are needed in order to implement mitigation, avoidance, sharing or transfer actions of your risk (same apply for opportunities, with exploit, share, enhance or accept)
    Hope this comment provides you some inputs on this domain

  3. Another aspect of Risk Management is ranking the risks by Priority, no? I suppose you can put this in the response plan, which we await. Thx!

  4. Risk is ranked by impact (priority somehow) yes. Now the response plan is not really related to priority as such. The project manager decides to activate the response plan, and it could be based on impact (or not)

  5. Hi Jeremy

    The post is quite informative.
    But there is mixing of RISK and Uncertainty.

    Risk are some unforeseen event during the course of project execution which can only be mitigate by taking some action like fire policy other calamities

    Uncertainty is what we are not able to control but this is part of the projects and multi projects scenarios. How MSP 2013 is tackling this?

  6. Hi Harish,
    Thanks for your comment. For me risks are foreseen event, you have a set of objectives are your risks are those events that can prevent you from delivering. So you can manage those in advance and analyse possible impact and the probability of them.
    If, during the course of your project an unforeseen event occurs (the word "occurs" is important), in this case this is not a risk anymore it's an issue. And in MSP13 you can manage issues the same way as risks.
    Hope this answer your question

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