Why We Love Schedule Risk Analysis (And You Should Too)

Posted by Tom Polen on August 9, 2016

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Early in my career, I viewed the development of a schedule as the same thing as the development of the overall project plan. But what I failed to realize then (and am thrilled to know now!), is that developing a schedule is only one component of the broader project plan. To ensure successful execution, the project plan must also include things like risk and schedule optimization – with each playing an equally important role.

But why is risk so important you might ask? I could go on and on, but here are three key reasons:

  1. Not every project follows its plan.This might sound like a no-brainer, but more often than not, a project won’t follow its plan to a tee….and we need our schedule to account for that. What’s the best way to create a more accurate, realistic schedule? Account for risk and uncertainty. 
  2. People won’t buy in to overly optimistic schedules. You can only work with a project team so many times with an overly optimistic schedule before they start ignoring it completely because they know it is unrealistic. By risk adjusting your schedule early on, you can create a more realistic picture and ultimately gain, and keep, better team buy-in.  
  3. Risk adjusted schedules are more accurate and lead to more consistent execution. It’s as simple as that.

Seeing the value that risk plays in the overall project plan is step one. Step two is putting schedule risk analysis into action.

In our brand new podcast series, Project Planning Uncensored, I tackle this very topic – sharing my love for schedule risk analysis and the reasons you should too. I encourage you to listen in (the podcast goes live on August 10 at 11am ET) and then sign up for a live Q&A featuring yours truly and Lorrie Tietze, Founder & Manager of Interface Consulting on September 8 at 11am. We’ll be answering any and all of your project-related questions – no matter how tough.

I look forward to “seeing” you there!