6th Edition PMBOK® Guide: Process 11.4 Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis: Tools and Techniques (1)


This is a very complex process and there are two types of tools and techniques used with it:   what I term the “generic” tools and techniques which are used with many planning processes, not just this one.   And then there are the data analysis techniques (simulation, sensitivity analysis, decision tree analysis, influence diagrams) that are used specifically with this particular process.

I am going to split up the tools and techniques and describe the generic ones in this post, and save the ones that are specific to this process for the next post.

11.4.2  Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis:  Tools and Techniques

11.4.2.1  Expert Judgment

Expertise should be considered form those people who have specialized knowledge regarding the quantitative analysis of risks.   In particular, those who know about:

  • Translating the information on individual project risks in terms of probability and impact into numeric inputs for the quantitative risk analysis model using a tool called Earned Monetary Value.
  • Selecting the most appropriate representation of uncertainty to model particular risks.   You are familiar with the triangular and beta distributions from the concept of three-point estimates.   There are other distributions that are possible and an expert will know what is the most appropriate for the project at hand and know how to work with them.
  • Which of the modeling techniques are most suitable for use on the project (simulation, sensitivity analysis, decision tree analysis, and/or influence diagrams).
  • Interpreting the outputs of quantitative risk analysis and preparing them for inclusion in the risk register and risk report.

11.4.2.2  Data Gathering

Interviews are the main form of technique used to gather data from the experts mentioned above.

11.4.2.3  Interpersonal and Team Skills

Although individual interviews with experts are helpful, with a complex topic like risk analysis it is often extremely beneficial to have a dedicated risk workshop, and this is where the skill of facilitation of such a workshop comes into play.   A facilitator needs to help do the following:

  • Establish a clear understanding of the purpose of the workshop
  • Build consensus among participants
  • Ensure continued focus on the task, especially if someone talks about something which is not in the scope of the workshop
  • Use creative approaches to deal with interpersonal conflict or to uncover sources of bias.

The next post will cover the other two sets of tools and techniques:   representations of uncertainty and data analysis.

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