Modern Project Management

(ISSN: 2317-3963)

Improving Risk Matrix Design Using Heatmaps and Accessible Colors

Martin Entacher
RiskConsult Austria
Philip Sander
RiskConsult Austria


Risk management is an integrated part of project management to identify, assess, evaluate and mitigate threats or opportunities that aid or endanger the goals of a project. Risk Matrices are one of the most popular tools to execute a proper risk management process. However, they suffer from shortcomings that can lead to non-meaningful results and oversimplified classification. Cox (2008a) and other researchers have described these shortcomings, Thomas et al.(2013) even proposed to avoid risk matrices in general. This paper presents adaptions that will prevent oversimplified classification, e.g. continuous coloring schemes and viewing risk probability and risk consequence as independent variables. Furthermore, the typical green-yellow-red color scheme is questioned due to its lack of perceptual uniformity and inaccessibility for people with color vision deficiencies. It is proposed that these changes will shaft the area of application from standalone risk analysis tools to supporting tools for quantitative risk analysis which will develop to be the state of the art in project risk management.

Keywords: Project Risk Management, Risk Matrix, Quantitative Risk Analysis, Heatmap, Color Vision Deficiency, accessible colors.



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