After the potential risks have been identified, the project team then evaluates each risk based on the probability that a risk event will occur and the potential loss associated with it. Not all risks are equal. Some risk events are more likely to happen than others, and the cost of risk can vary greatly. Evaluating the risk for the probability of occurrence and the severity of the potential loss to the project is the next step in the risk management process.
Having criteria to determine high-impact risks can help narrow the focus on a few critical risks that require mitigation. For example, suppose high-impact risks are those that could increase the project costs by 5% of the conceptual budget or 2% of the detailed budget. Only a few potential risk events meet these criteria. These are the critical few potential risk events that the project management team should focus on when developing a project risk mitigation or management plan. Risk evaluation is about developing an understanding of which potential risks have the greatest possibility of occurring and can have the greatest negative impact on the project (Figure 16.3). These become the critical few.