Managing attrition rates and completion times of higher degree research students are key considerations for Universities as they are directly tied to future funding for research places. Even where higher degree research students are focused within a single discipline there are a number of risks that can impact on completion. However, there is also evidence of an increase in cross-disciplinary research within Australia. The nature of cross-disciplinary research raises further issues concerning the supervision and progression of PhD candidates and the examination of their works. We discuss a number of issues from a case study of the authors' own PhD experience, which spanned the computing and business disciplines. We conclude by drawing on some experiences in project management from the software engineering community and finally recommend that all participants in higher degree research consider a strategy of preventive risk management.