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Schedule Risk Assessment

Location:  PMKI > Project Controls and Scheduling > Schedule Risk Assessment. 

Every estimate about a future outcome is uncertain! This subject looks at the effect of uncertainty on schedule predictions and the tools and techniques available to manage the consequences of uncertainty and improve the accuracy of projected completion dates.

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Schedule Risk Assessment & Management

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Every estimate included is a schedule has a degree of risk (ie, uncertainty that matters) associated with the estimate. It is impossible to predict the future with complete certainty - recognising and managing this risk leads to far better project outcomes than attempting to avoid the risk through contracts or simply ignoring the issue. For more on managing risk, visit our advanced risk management page.

Tools to help assess schedule risk include:
  • Acumen Risk™ - an integrated cost/schedule risk analysis tool combining true cost and schedule risk analysis against a native project plan together with identified risk events from a project risk register. It is the first truly integrated and easy-to-use cost/schedule risk analysis and risk register software that helps you effectively account for and proactively reduce project risk exposure. Acumen Risk’s Uncertainty Factor is a simple-to-use sliding scale that project teams can relate to, to develop a truly integrated means of linking schedule risk to cost risk so that you can determine the impact of schedule delays on your project cost estimate.
  • Barbecana’s Full Monte is schedule risk analysis software that integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Project 2007 through to 2016. Full Monte for Oracle Primavera P6 is a standalone application working directly against the P6 database, so requires no import or export. Full Monte utilizes the Monte Carlo simulation method, and is fast and easy-to-use. Some of the features include:
    • Probability distributions for task durations, resource cost rates, and calendars.
    • Correlations between durations, cost rates.
    • Autocorrelation and seasonality in calendars.
    • Full results for every task.
    • Sophisticated sensitivity analysis.
    • User-defined reports.
  • SCRAM:  The Schedule Compliance Risk Assessment Methodology (SCRAM) is an approach for identifying risks to compliance with the program schedule, it is the result of a collaborative effort between Adrian Pitman from the Australian Department of Defence, Angela Tuffley of RedBay Consulting in Australia, and Betsy Clark and Brad Clark of Software Metrics Inc. in the United States. 
    SCRAM focuses on schedule feasibility and root causes for slippage. It makes no judgment about whether or not a project is technically feasible. SCRAM can be used:
    • By organisations to construct a schedule that maximizes the likelihood of schedule compliance.
    • To ensure common risks are addressed before the project schedule is baselined at the commencement of a project.
    • To monitor project status, performed either ad hoc or to support appropriate milestone reviews
    • To evaluate challenged projects, to assess the likelihood of schedule compliance, root cause of schedule slippage and recommend remediation of project issues
    For more information and free resources see:

  • Schedule Risk & Uncertainty: Monte Carlo, PERT and managing schedule risk.
    • PP: Why Critical Path Scheduling (CPM) is Wildly Optimistic. The factors that drive CPM towards an optimistic initial assessment including psychological biases, single point estimates and limitations of the CPM modelling process are defined and quantified.   
    • WP: Understanding PERT PERT is the oldest and arguable the least effective / least accurate way to model uncertainty. This paper traces the origins of PERT and the reasons for its limitations.      
    • Art: Predicting project completion.  The use of Earned Schedule and the 'P-Factor in determining a realistic completion date are defined.   
    • Blg: Predicting Completion. The requirement to finish a 'project' on time with associated penalties for late completion hs been around for 3000 years. The question asked in this post is when did predictive tools start to emerge to give the contractor some insight into the consequences of current performance rates?  
    • Art: Standard Deviation for Project Managers.  The concepts behind Standard Deviation and how it is used.      
    • Art: Predicting Future Project Outcomes - The power of uncertainty Monte Carlo, Latin Hypercube and Sampling.       

Useful external web-links

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