By: Felix Soto Morales

Schedule risks are both threats and opportunities that affects in any way the project success.  Threats jeopardize the meeting of goals in projects, meanwhile the opportunities enhance the probability of achieve these same goals.

So, risks can have good or bad impacts to our project, but what kind of risk could we have in our project schedules?

There are mainly two, and i say “mainly” because some specialists mention  more, although these could be consider part of this.  These are DURATION UNCERTAINTY and RISK EVENTS.

In several risk management workshops I use to mention the following example to remark and understand the difference between uncertainty and events.  As it works, I proceed to give it to you.

If I ask you, how much time do you take to go from your home to the office, what would you answer? Let´s say 45 minutes is your answer.  You take that time almost all the times every day.  But almost is not always.  Sometimes you take 40 minutes maybe because you drove a little faster, other days you get it in 50 minutes just because you made a little stop to say hi to a friend, of course there are days in those you take just 45 minutes.  There is uncertainty in your “45 minute” response.  You just threw your best estimate.  Some called it “average”, although it is not.

Now let´s introduce something else, suppose that one day there is a car accident over the route and the route is closed.  You get stuck in the road.  You have to take another way to get to the office, this one is longer.  That day you took two hours to arrive. This time, an event has happened, and it made you arrive late for 1 hr and 15 minutes.  Out of any forecast.

The same thing happens to our scheduled activities, we give our best duration estimates but these are subject to uncertainty and events that could impact the schedule duration in a positive or negative way.

Modeling our schedule with this type of risk produce more realistic schedules

The treatment for each kind of these types of risk is different; uncertainty is treated with Montecarlo simulation which runs a large number of iterations based on the spread and the boundaries of the duration estimates, so that many combinations of durations are used.

Events may occur or not during your Project, the best way to model events is put them into a register, addressing the activities that impact, its probability of existence and the magnitude of its impact in the activities.  After this, you can run what- if scenarios with the risk events that have the most risk exposure (probability x impact) adding fragments to your Schedule and see the results.  If the event could really impact your project, it will be necessary to mitigate it in any way to reduce the risk.  Of course, this will cost you money.

Please read my post about creation of probabilistic schedules called “Probabilistic vs. Deterministic” to  get deep into the subject.  You can find it at our article section in our website.

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Pokemon Go

By: Felix Soto Morales

This is not a Pokemon story

Poke_BallMy daughter Alejandra is a huge Pokemon fan.  Such she is, that when we were in Tokyo for the very first time, one of the first places to visit was the Pokemon Center Mega, the biggest themed store about this game in Tokyo and the whole world.  I am not a Pokemon fan, actually this subject bores me a lot.  Nevertheless, I have to say that being surrounded by many fans from many different countries, made me introduce myself —for a moment— into that world, and I learned in this game you must fight with other people called “trainers” and to have greater chances of success you must have your best Pokemon on hand.

As well as in that fictional world you must have your best exponents in order to win, in my professional life I also need to have my aces under the sleeve, to allow me to be better at my job.  If you had read my posts before, you should know that I am focused in project control, mainly in engineering and construction.

So, which “Pokemon” am I going to face the project control world with?  Of course I have decided already my weapons, those that probably makes me become a better consultant and why not, even better paid!

Below, I show you my three “Pokemon” for 2016, with a short description:

1) Project Control Expo:  It’s a convention of “Pokemon trainers” taking place in London since 2011.  Its purpose is to bring together many gurus on project controls and also the best software used into this field.  This year it will be held on November 16, at the famous soccer club stadium Arsenal.  It is been a long time since I wanted to go and after five years of growth, I will be there this time to nourish myself with invaluable knowledge.  I think this Expo is worth to train, learn whatever the other side of the world is making regarding project controls and stay at the forefront.

2) Asta Powerproject: This Pokemon’s home is also England.  However, the software has already spread throughout Asia, Europe and has recently been seen in North America.  Asta Powerproject is a software as versatile as MS Project, but complies every requirements Primavera P6 brings.  I am positive that in the years to come it will arrive to South America.  And if we say the software can also make Building Information Modeling, as well as work trains programming, in an overwhelmingly easy way, then we just have to wait quite a few to hold it into our hands.

3) Safran Risk: This PokeCharizardmon is my “greatest weapon”, something like a “Charizard” or a “Mewtwo”, two of the strongest Pokemon in the original saga, which everyone wants to fight with because of their great power.  Safran Risk comes from Noruega and it aims to be the new standard for schedules quantitative risk management.  It comes to defeat the supremacy of Primavera Risk Analysis, so to speak.  How are they going to do it?  Nothing less than its simplicity.  You just need to follow the steps one by one in order to do your quantitative risk analysis.  You will not need more experts to work with so complex softwares.

Well, those are my Pokemon for this year and in the next three posts I will describe them in more detail.  Which are yours?

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