With excerpts from my Project Management Novel, I will illustrate the many processes of the PMBOK. Here is the twentieth one: Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis. Use this map to see how this process fits into the scheme of processes.
During the Sext service, Gwilym checked on the progress of Fred and Bleddyn. Bleddyn had used his carpenter’s ruler to mark out a precise table for the Risk Register. Fred was reading the risks and Bleddyn was writing them down in the second column, using the first column to number them.
Fred asked Gwilym, “What do we do with some of these risks? They’re a single word, like ‘Rain’ or ‘Injury’. They don’t explain what could happen.”
Gwilym thought for a moment. “You’re right Fred. What we need to do is have a format for writing risks. Something along the lines of: ‘If something happens the result will be this.’ That way we can rewrite the ‘Rain’ risk to ‘If it rains for more than two weeks straight, the project will be delayed day for day for any additional rain.’”
“But what about rain while we’re digging the foundation, Da?”
“That’s right son. We should make another risk along those lines. ‘Any heavy rain that falls during the digging and building of the foundation will delay that activity and cause rework of digging done to date.’”
Fred and Bleddyn nodded and went back to rewriting all the risks onto the Risk Register.
They met the monks after Vespers and showed them the Risk Register. Father Drew and Abbot Crawford looked impressed. Fred had nailed the two scales into the wall, showing the meanings of 1 – 10 on probability and severity.
Gwilym started the session by telling the gathered monks, “We are going to qualify the risks. That means that we will determine which risks are the biggest and which the smallest.” Then he introduced the first risk.
“In the category of weather related risks, here is the first: ‘If it rains for more than two weeks straight, the project will be delayed day for day for any additional rain.’ What is the probability of this risk occurring?”
The men all laughed and said things along the lines of, “Pretty good around here.”
“Then we’ll rank the probability a 10,” said Gwilym. “What is the severity of this kind of weather on schedule and cost?”
The monks settled on a delay of two weeks for a severity of 5.
“Good. So we multiply these two numbers together and get a Risk Total of 50. Now we move to the next risk. ‘Any heavy rain that falls during the digging and building of the foundation will delay that activity and cause rework of digging done to date.’ We’ll be digging the foundations starting tomorrow. What’s the chance of heavy rain in the next two weeks?”
The monks discussed this for a while and replied that it was about a 1/10 with a probability score of 8.
“And the severity?”
More discussion ensued with the consensus being that summer rains were short so the delay wouldn’t be long. Worst case was if it rained just when they had finished the digging. They would have to empty the water from the hole and dig it out again for a delay of about four days and extra cost of eight gold.
“We’ll score this one a 6 and multiply it by the probability to give it a Risk Total of 48.”
One of the monks spoke up. “We could reduce the severity of this risk by assembling a pavilion over the digging so that the rain wouldn’t fall in the foundation hole.”
Another one added, “And trenches around it to drain the water away from the hole.” Others chimed in with ideas until Gwilym raised his hands.
“Great ideas brothers! Fred has noted them. But right now I’d like to keep us focused on qualifying the risks so that we can focus on the worst risks first and work our way down to the risks that are not worth worrying about.”
They worked their way through the rest of the identified risks, qualifying them all. Meanwhile, they added many others that they thought of while discussing the identified risks and qualified all these.