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Project Evaluation and Details

"This phase squeezes more information into what is known or assumed about each risk in the assessment list. You want to further identify the risks that are above an acceptable level based on our discussions with the project sponsors."

"As a starting point, each risk needs to be augmented with the information in the list that follows. Notice that predefined descriptors are used to qualify the information about the risk. Any consistent legend will do, but we prefer a mnemonic format that provides information at a glance. An alternative numeric scale can be more precise in describing a risk, but it is not always clear what it means (for example, is 1 or 10 good) at a glance:

  • Risk impact  Use descriptors such as Catastrophic, High, Medium, Low, Annoying.
  • Risk probability  Use descriptors such as Very High, High, Medium, Low, Very Low.
  • Impact details  Determine who is impacted by the risk and what will be the financial or business impact if the risk is realized. This information is important for getting buy-in from the project owners and sponsors to invest in mitigation strategies."

"The risk should be compared to every outstanding task in the project plan to determine the true impact, cost, and mitigation strategies. Too often, the impact is deduced by dead-reckoning as opposed to factual diligence. A good place to look is in the estimating model of the project plan. We like using the 'most likely case,' 'best case', and 'worst case' weighted average method. If you look at the tasks that have a greater standard deviation (that is, a greater unknown,) you probably have a high impact risk associated with it."


The above is an excerpt from a book written by Sanjiv Purba and Joseph Zucchero, published by McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2100 Powell Street, 10th Floor, Emeryville, California 94608 U.S.A. Sanjiv has over 20 years of experience managing large projects and many years engaged in rescuing ailing projects.