Risk assessment is becoming an industry standard. Unfortunately, at this point that is the only standard part of the process. Unlike, say, the field of medicine, you don’t need a license to be a risk practitioner in project management. However, there are a few certifications in the industry that, at the very least, will guarantee a baseline of knowledge and experience.

The Project Management Institute grants a credential called the Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP). In order to qualify to sit for the exam, a professional must have completed at least 3,000 hours of risk practice. Then they must pass the exam, which is quite comprehensive, in order to get the credential.

In order to maintain the credential, the professional must participate in ongoing education.

AACE International offers a Decision Risk Management Professional designation, which is well regarded in the industry.

To be a truly great risk consultant, you need to have highly developed abilities in four separate cognates, which are often not all present in one individual. When interviewing potential consultants, I’d suggest focusing on these four areas to increase the likelihood of a successful engagement.

Facilitator/ModeratorAs the risk professional leads stakeholders through the process of identifying and categorizing risks, these skills will, in large part, determine the quality of the input, which in turn will determine the quality of the risk assessment. While the practitioner must have soft skills, they also must possess a certain professional gravitas and be able to control the session. Industry knowledgeWhile it is not necessary for the risk professional to be an expert in the type of project being assessed, it is critical that they have a framework or baseline from which they can make judgments about the information they are receiving from stakeholders.
StatisticsAnyone can enter information into a software tool and get nice graphs and charts from the data. However, if the practitioner does not have a solid grounding in statistics, then they cannot properly judge the value of the output. PresentationA risk professional should be able to give a compelling presentation of the results from the risk assessment. Without management buy-in, the risk assessment is just an exercise to be placed on the shelf. This won’t help the project, and is a waste of time and money.