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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Qualitative Risk Analysis - Inputs

In the previous chapter, we saw an overview of the Qualitative Risk Analysis process. As with any process, this one too takes some inputs, applies some tools & techniques and generates an output. As a first step, in this chapter, we are going to take a detailed look at all the inputs that this Qualitative Risk Analysis process uses.

To start off – Inputs here refers to all the documents and other sources of information that we will need to conduct an effective Qualitative Analysis. This process uses a total of 4 inputs. They are:

1. Risk Register
2. Risk Management Plan
3. Project Scope Statement
4. Organizational Process Assets

Let us take a detailed look at each of these input items.

Risk Register:

Remember the Risk Register we created just a couple of sections ago? This register is going to contain the most up-to-date information reg. all the risks that might affect our project. As of now this document is going to contain:
a. List of identified risks including their impact, consequences, root causes etc.
b. List of potential responses. This may not be available for all the risks but could be present for a few

The Risk Register is one of the key inputs to this process. Let’s face it, what kind of risk analysis can anyone do when they don’t have the list of risks that they have to analyze?

As suggested in the chapter titled Contents of the Risk Register the Risk Register is created as the output of the Identify risks process and is passed on as input to the next process in the risk management cycle for further updates. This qualitative analysis process if the first step after risk identification and the risk register will be updated in this process.

Risk Management Plan:

The Risk Management plan as you might have seen contains a truckload of information that will be useful in risk management & especially risk analysis. If you do not remember all of the contents then I suggest you revisit the chapter titled “Contents of the Risk Management Plan” to refresh your memory.

Of all the items that are present in a risk management plan, the qualitative risk analysis process uses the following:
a. Roles & Responsibilities
b. Budgeting Information
c. Timing Information
d. Risk Categories
e. Definition of Risk Probability & Impact
f. Risk Probability and Impact matrix
g. Stakeholder Risk Tolerance

As you might have noticed in the chapter titled “Contents of the Risk Management Plan” the risk management plan contains a lot more information than what is listed above. This is because we have listed down only those elements in the risk management plan that will be useful for us from the qualitative risk analysis process perspective.

The Risk Management Plan is yet another key input to this qualitative analysis process. Without details like who is going to do what, how much budget we have for this task, how much time we have for this task, the definition of risk impact & probability as per the project, the stakeholder risk tolerance etc. there is no way we can conduct an efficient analysis.

Project Scope Statement:

The project scope statement is another critical input component to this qualitative analysis process. This document is going to contain details about the projects deliverables and explains as to what the project is going to accomplish along with details like the project constraints, assumptions and acceptance criteria.

It also suggests if this project is going to create something new. Typically a project that is creating something new or is using something new (like a new technology) is more prone to risk as the same has never been done before in your organization. If what we are doing in our project is similar to any of the previous project executed by the project manager or the organization, things are a lot easier and the chances/number of risks come down too.

Organizational Process Assets

Organizational process assets refer to any and all process related assets like plans, policies, procedures and guidelines. Any document created by the organization for the benefit of the others in the same organization can be considered an Organizational Process Asset.

For this Qualitative Risk Analysis process the assets we can use are:
a. Lessons Learned document from previous similar projects
b. Risk Registers & sample response plans from previous similar projects

By taking into consideration how previous projects handled their risks, we can get a fair idea of how risks need to be handled in our project in the best possible way.

Prev: Introduction to Qualitative Risk Analysis

Next: Tools and techniques used in Qualitative analysis - an overview

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