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October 23, 2023

#BigTip: Keep an eye on project risks with risk cards

Risk Management

In project management, you’ll encounter risks – those unexpected hurdles you have to tackle. They’re the wild cards in your project, but they’re part of the game. Your job is to keep an eye on them, to track and control these risks. 

BigPicture’s risk cards simplify this process. Today, you’ll learn the essentials of using risk cards for risk monitoring.

What is project risk monitoring?

Risk monitoring is a continuous process that kicks off as soon as you identify and assess your project risks, and decide how to deal with them. Throughout this process, you keep an eye on the risk response plans, review and update identified risks, and watch out for new ones. It’s also about evaluating how well your risk management strategy is working and how effectively it deals with known risks.

The goal is two-fold: first, to keep your organization aware of its current risk exposure,  and second, to find the best ways to deal with those risks.

Since evaluating and tracking risks is so crucial, you’ll want an accessible way to do it. This is where BigPicture’s risk cards step in. Let’s explore what the risk cards are and how they make your job easier.

What is a risk card in BigPicture?

A risk card is  a type of Jira card designed for visualizing project risks. Think of them as card-like rectangles that resemble task cards you’d find on an Agile board. But unlike the task cards, risk cards live on the risk matrix.

A Risk matrix with six color-coded risk cards of different risk ratings.

 

You have the flexibility to move your risk cards around the matrix, changing their position on the Consequence and Probability scales. You can also inline edit their properties, like summary, dates, priorities, and other fields, based on your card configuration. The colors are determined by the heatmap mode, which signifies the risk rating.

You can use risk cards in two ways: to represent an issue at risk or as a standalone risk.

Project issues at risk

You can use risk cards to represent any issue type in your project, (e.g., a user story, milestone, and epic — but excluding basic tasks). So, if a specific task or project phase is at risk, you can add it directly to the risk matrix. 

This approach visualizes existing work items(in your product backlog or WBS) without creating anything new. However, it may not readily show which risk is associated with a specific issue. (However, you can customize your risk card to display that information. Read on to find out how.)

Standalone risks

Alternatively, you can create standalone risks from scratch that don’t exist elsewhere in your project. These represent new Jira issues specifically describing the risk, rather than work items in your project. While more informative, they may lack information about the project item they relate to (which can be remedied with proper risk card customization.)

Here, risk card QA-8 is a project issue (user story) and QA-142 is a standalone risk. As a consequence, both of them display different pieces of information on their cards.

How to Create a new risk card

Creating a risk card is straightforward and quick, but the process differs for new Jira issues (standalone risks) and existing project issues at risk.

Create and add a new risk card to your risk matrix

  • Go to the Risks module and hover over a quadrant on the risk matrix where you want to add a risk card. 
  • Click on the “+” (plus) sign. 
  • Choose to add an existing Jira issue from your project or create a new Jira issue
You can add a new Jira issue or an existing task to the risk matrix to visualize it as a risk.


Whether creating a risk card from scratch or using an existing issue, remember to adjust
the “Risk probability” and “Risk consequence” fields for the issue/risk card. The app automatically defines these values based on the quadrant you’ve clicked. So, if you select a random quadrant, you’ll need to adjust these values while adding the risk card.

Enabling key risk information with risk card views

In BigPicture, you can create and customize cards using the Card View Creator. A new (or customized) card view allows you to display the specific information you need, making your risk monitoring more efficient.

#1. Access Card View Creator

The easiest way to access the Card View Creator is from the Card View option in the upper menu. Click on it and select Manage card views

Alternatively, go through the “BigPicture” link in the top blue Jira menu > Administration > Box type > choose the Box type you want to edit > “Risks (or Board”) > “Card Views.”

There are two routes that lead to the Card View Creator. But the fastest one starts with the “Card View” option.


On the next page, you can perform various actions, such as cloning, editing, and deleting card views, including the default ones. But right now you want to create a brand new card. To do that, just click the big blue “Add new Card View” button in the top-right corner to start the Jira card creation process from scratch. 

When the “New Card View” window appears, simply name your new card ( like “Detailed view”) and, if you like,  provide a brief description. Here, you also set the Visibility status which determines whether your new view will be visible only to you (“Private”) or to others as well (“Public”).

Name your new risk card view, set its visibility, and (optionally) provide a description of this view.

 

While the description is optional, you can skip it, especially if this view is just  for your eyes. If it’s meant to be seen by others, a few words of description can help them understand its purpose.

#2. Configure your new Jira card

Now it’s time to shape  your Card View according to your needs. Imagine it as a blank canvas that you can populate with as many fields as you need. Initially, you’ll find the “Icon,” “Key,” “Status,” “Description,” and the “Assignee” fields preloaded, which are highly recommended but can be removed if necessary. Your next step  is to decide which fields you want to add to your card, their size, and positioning.

Here’s what you need to do:

First, add a new field with the plus button. Then, drag and drop the fields you want on your card. You can also resize them or change their positions if required.

 

You’ll notice that some cost-related fields provide additional options, but not all fields have these.  The gear icon will indicate whether a field offers customization choices, which can vary based on field type.

Once you’re done with building your new Jira card, make sure to save your work. Your new card view will appear under the “View” section which you can enable whenever you like. (Click the star if you want to add a view to your favorites.)

Your new risk card view is ready! Click on it to switch to it or star it to add it to your favorites.

Handling risk card information overload

While there’s no strict limit to the number of fields you can add to your risk card, adding too much data can make the card large. It will also slow down the app and limit the number of cards visible in a single column on the risk matrix.

To avoid this, create multiple risk card views to display information efficiently. You can distribute the data across these views, switching between each view with just a couple of clicks. 

If you have numerous risk cards or they’ve become large, enable the “Compact mode” in the view settings to show only the essential “top information layer” on the card.

The “Compact mode” displays only the top Jira fields on your risk cards. Here, they are the default Icon, Key, Status, and Assignee fields.

Sign up to try BigPicture for free

BigPicture helps you plan, build, and manage complex projects and portfolios. One of its key features is project risk visualization with risk cards. You can use risk cards on the risk matrix to track all your project risks as part of your risk monitoring process. The cards are highly customizable and allow you to view important details about work items or risks alone at a glance. You can add a new risk in seconds and move the existing ones across the matrix to change their probability and consequence ranks.

Sign up for a 30-day free trial and discover how BigPicture can help you build and execute projects more easily — no matter how big, complex, or unique they are. We also encourage you to join our live demo webinar. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see for yourself why more than 20,000 PPMs and their teams trust our software to build their amazing products.