Risk Management

A critical link in Project Success



By Hareshchandra M. Thakur, PMP

Associate Vice President
Project Management, Energy Business
Wärtsilä India Pvt. Ltd.

Mumbai, India




Today, the global boundaries are fast diffusing and one cannot operate in isolation. Fast-paced changes brought about by the disruptive technologies have also contributed to the risks. The dynamic environment clubbed with the uncertainty in the global economy has forced us to look beyond the conventional methods to stay in control and prevent risks from adversely impacting the projects. We all need to accept the fact that the business activities today are no longer mutually exclusive but intertwined and interdependent. Above all, the activities and the tasks, we perform, are associated with higher risks than ever before.

The paper is based on the observations and discussions with the Project Managers (PMs) and other Stakeholders. It attempts to highlight the risks associated with the projects and aims to help the Project Management Fraternity to relate with these factors, generate higher awareness and enhance their success rate.  To promote better understanding by co-relating with the risks associated with the construction projects, the paper dwells with the major risks one encounters while setting up a Power Project. The basic objective of the paper is to help Project teams in staying focused and initiate timely corrective steps to prevent an adverse impact on the project.

Key Words:  Risks, Project Success, Stakeholders, Owners, Contractors, Project Teams


Organizations often have strong and high performing project teams delivering results and achieving project objectives. Such organizations have a success rate of over 95% and yet, failure of the one-off project completely sets-off these margins. This is intriguing and forces us to probe as to WHY the project failed and HOW do we prevent such project failure which not only nullifies the efforts by the other project teams but also erodes the profitability of the entire organization.

Most of the studies have pointed out that often, the project failure is not attributed to lack of competences and skills but relates to a lack of application of the Risk Management. We may have the best processes and plans in place, but at times, even the most experienced project team members tend to underrate the prudence of Risk Management. To add to the foes, the fast-paced technological innovations have created higher awareness and resulted in higher expectations and ever-changing taste of the stakeholders.

Accept the RISKS and be ready for the Rewards!!!


Normal mindset associated with the word “Risk” is that we tend to look at the downside and 99% of the time, we usually perceive Risk as something dreadful, something bad is going to happen, dangerous etc. We need to remember that at times, the opportunities come disguised in the form of the risks.  Moreover, Storms are known to produce good sailors, here too risky projects are known to mold and shape the Project Managers as good professionals.

The Project teams are often driven by project pressures to complete the projects within the triple constraints of Cost, Quality & Time and the team members tend to overlook the associated risks during the project phases. Most pertinent questions which help us to reach the root cause of the project failure are enlisted below.

Based on our experience, although, we may have covered key Risks in the article below, the Risks highlighted below should serve as food for thought and is not a checklist. Also, as mentioned above, the overall aim is to help project teams to clearly identify the key factors and/or combination of the factors that lead to project failure. The factors can be broadly categorized into five areas –


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How to cite this article: Thakur, H.M. (2019).  Risk Management – A critical link in Project Success, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue X, November. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/pmwj87-Nov2019-Thakur-risk-management-a-critical-link-in-project-success.pdf



About the Author

Hareshchandra M Thakur

Mumbai, India




Hareshchandra M Thakur is a professional in the Power Sector with over 35 years’ experience in setting up of multiple Power Plants in Nuclear, Oil & Gas sectors in India and abroad. Presently, he is working as Associate Vice President, Project Management, Energy Business with Wartsila India Pvt. Ltd. Hareshchandra has held various positions in Financial Management and Project Management with Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd., Wartsila Finland Oy and Wartsila India Pvt. Ltd.

He has closely worked with cross functional and cross cultural teams and has vast international exposure in key areas – Project Management, Strategic Financial Management, Contract Management and Resource Management, Competence building, Formulation of Business Strategies and Establishing way of working for Indian & global projects. He is a Certified NLP Practitioner and has been visiting various Engineering and Management institutions as a guest lecturer. He has made presentations at IPMA World Congress at Helsinki, Istanbul & Crete and Global Symposiums on Project Management in New Delhi.

He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from College of Engineering, University of Poona and a Master’s degree in Financial Management from Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management, University of Mumbai. He obtained PMP Certification in April 2002. He lives in Mumbai, India and can be contacted at hareshthakur@yahoo.com.