The benefits of using bow-tie diagrams for risk management have been realized by organizations world-wide across a variety of business sectors. Also known as barrier diagrams, they provide a readily understandable visualization of the relationships between the causes of business upsets, the escalation of such events to a range of possible outcomes, the controls preventing the event from occurring and the preparedness measures in place to limit the consequences.

More importantly, the preventive and mitigating measures are linked to tasks, procedures, responsible individuals and competencies. This demonstrates the crucial connection between risk controls (whether hardware or human intervention) and the management system for assuring their ongoing effectiveness.

This paper draws on Risktec's unparalleled experience in applying the bow-tie methodology and is intended to be of interest to those who are new to the technique and experienced users alike. It summarizes the history of the bow-tie method, gives an overview of how to apply it and describes in detail its practical uses and benefits as well as potential pitfalls and guidelines for success.

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