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Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis

Process: Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis

Process Group: Planning

Knowledge Area: Risk Management

The Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis process involves numerically analyzing the probability and impact (the amount at stake or the consequences) of risks moved forward from qualitative risk analysis. Quantitative risk analysis also looks at how risks could affect the objectives of the project. The purpose of quantitative risk analysis is to:

• Determine which risk events warrant a response.

• Determine overall project risk (risk exposure).

• Determine the quantified probability of meeting project objectives (e.g., “We only have an 80 percent chance of completing the project within the six months required by the customer,” or “We only have a 75 percent chance of completing the project within the $80,000 budget”).

• Determine cost and schedule reserves.

• Identify risks requiring the most attention.

• Create realistic and achievable cost, schedule, or scope targets.

Many people get confused between qualitative and quantitative risk analysis. Remember that qualitative risk analysis is a subjective evaluation, even though numbers are used for the rating. In contrast, quantitative risk analysis is a more objective or numerical evaluation; the rating of each risk is based on an attempt to measure the actual probability and amount at stake (impact). Therefore, while the rating for a risk in qualitative risk analysis might be a 5, it might be stated as a $40,000 cost impact in quantitative risk analysis.

As a project manager, you should always do qualitative risk analysis, but quantitative risk analysis is not required for all projects and may be skipped in favor of moving on to risk response planning. You should proceed with quantitative risk analysis only if it is worth the time and money on your project. For some projects, you may have a subset of risks identified that require further quantitative analysis. But why spend time quantitatively assessing risks for a low-priority or short-term project or when the effort will provide minimal return?

The Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis process can include a lot of calculation and analysis. Luckily, the details of these efforts are not a focus of the exam. You need to know the following actions are part of quantitative risk analysis but not how to do them beyond what is explained in this chapter:

• Further investigate the highest rated risks on the project.

• Perform sensitivity analysis to determine which risks have the most impact on the project.

• Determine how much quantified risk the project has through expected monetary value analysis or Monte Carlo analysis (described later in this section).

Determining Quantitative Probability and Impact

Quantitative probability and impact can be determined in various ways, including the following:

• Interviewing

• Cost and time estimating

• Delphi technique

• Use of historical records from previous projects

• Expert judgment

• Sensitivity analysis (described next)

• Expected monetary value analysis (described later in this section)

• Monte Carlo analysis (described later in this section)

• Decision trees (described later in this section)

Sensitivity Analysis

Sensitivity analysis is a technique to analyze and compare the potential impacts of identified risks. A tornado diagram9 may be used to graphically depict the results of that analysis.

Process: Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis

Process Group: Planning

Knowledge Area: Risk Management

The Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis process involves numerically analyzing the probability and impact (the amount at stake or the consequences) of risks moved forward from qualitative risk analysis. Quantitative risk analysis also looks at how risks could affect the objectives of the project. The purpose of quantitative risk analysis is to:

• Determine which risk events warrant a response.

• Determine overall project risk (risk exposure).

• Determine the quantified probability of meeting project objectives (e.g., “We only have an 80 percent chance of completing the project within the six months required by the customer,” or “We only have a 75 percent chance of completing the project within the $80,000 budget”).

• Determine cost and schedule reserves.

• Identify risks requiring the most attention.

• Create realistic and achievable cost, schedule, or scope targets.

Many people get confused between qualitative and quantitative risk analysis. Remember that qualitative risk analysis is a subjective evaluation, even though numbers are used for the rating. In contrast, quantitative risk analysis is a more objective or numerical evaluation; the rating of each risk is based on an attempt to measure the actual probability and amount at stake (impact). Therefore, while the rating for a risk in qualitative risk analysis might be a 5, it might be stated as a $40,000 cost impact in quantitative risk analysis.

As a project manager, you should always do qualitative risk analysis, but quantitative risk analysis is not required for all projects and may be skipped in favor of moving on to risk response planning. You should proceed with quantitative risk analysis only if it is worth the time and money on your project. For some projects, you may have a subset of risks identified that require further quantitative analysis. But why spend time quantitatively assessing risks for a low-priority or short-term project or when the effort will provide minimal return?

The Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis process can include a lot of calculation and analysis. Luckily, the details of these efforts are not a focus of the exam. You need to know the following actions are part of quantitative risk analysis but not how to do them beyond what is explained in this chapter:

• Further investigate the highest rated risks on the project.

• Perform sensitivity analysis to determine which risks have the most impact on the project.

• Determine how much quantified risk the project has through expected monetary value analysis or Monte Carlo analysis (described later in this section).

Determining Quantitative Probability and Impact

Quantitative probability and impact can be determined in various ways, including the following:

• Interviewing

• Cost and time estimating

• Delphi technique

• Use of historical records from previous projects

• Expert judgment

• Sensitivity analysis (described next)

• Expected monetary value analysis (described later in this section)

• Monte Carlo analysis (described later in this section)

• Decision trees (described later in this section)

Sensitivity Analysis

Sensitivity analysis is a technique to analyze and compare the potential impacts of identified risks. A tornado diagram9 may be used to graphically depict the results of that analysis.

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