User related issues have long been broadly discussed in the information system development (ISD) project research area. In this study, we focus on user risk and identify two risk countering approaches to demonstrate how to deal with user risk and its negative impact on ISD projects. We hypothesize that (1) user risk has a negative impact on project performance, (2) users' bond with the project and the development team can help reduce user risk, and (3) developers' task knowledge and vertical coordination can ease the negative impact of user risk and increase project performance. A quantitative approach with survey data collected from 240 practitioners confirmed our hypotheses. In addition, we interviewed seven developers and three user representatives to complete our understanding of this issue. Implications for academia and practitioners are discussed at the end of this paper. Suggestions for future research directions are also provided. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.