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Newsletter April 2016

Welcome to the April 2016 issue of “RiskIntegral” - an occasional newsletter about the analysis and management of risk, mainly in projects, by Risk Integration Management Pty Ltd (RIMPL). This issue provides Requirements for Effective SRA & IRA Software Tools.

It includes views about selected Monte Carlo (MC) simulation tools in a Survey of Schedule-based Risk Analysis Tools. . (The information is based on some of the material submitted at the end of 2015 to the Risk Engineering Society of Engineers Australia for a proposed RES Contingency Guideline).

This issue also includes a link to a forthcoming Webinar by one of the leading contenders for SRA and IRA usage. Please note that we do not recommend this product over others, but believe it is worth serious consideration.

As usual, the newsletter concludes with some news of our activities.

Requirements for Effective SRA & IRA Software Tools

The following characteristics are desirable to be able to produce realistic modelling of projects, especially large or complex projects. Previous issues of RiskIntegral have discussed model requirements - see RIMPL website Newsletters and especially the July 2013 article “Balancing Accuracy and Credibility in Schedule Risk Analysis” and the April 2014 article “Integration of Project Cost & Schedule Risk Analyses”. This article focuses on desirable software functionality to meet those modelling requirements.


Software for IRA must be fast to simulate, being able to handle resource-loaded schedules of several thousand tasks and run simulations of 1,000 to 5,000 iterations in minutes rather than hours.

Full Planning Capabilities

The software should have good planning capabilities, as complex models take significant time to build. Thus, changes to schedule logic should be able to be done by the software to the treated risk-mapped and cost-loaded schedule model, not require complete re-building of the model from an external planning tool.

Full suite of risk modelling capabilities

The software should have a comprehensive range of uncertainty and risk modelling capabilities, including:

• Task existence (percentage probability of existence), correlatable with the existence of other tasks

• Probabilistic branching and probabilistic links

• Percentage lags (where the lag in a lagged dependency because a percentage of the duration of the predecessor or successor, or both, depending on the nature of the dependency)

• Resource and duration uncertainty with a wide range of distribution types

• Ability to chain multiple threats and opportunities together to a parent task

Correlation Capabilities

The software should be able to have sophisticated correlation models applied to the IRA model, both duration and cost and preferably multi-level. The assignment of correlation should be able to be performed using coding and not be restricted to individual assignment at the task level.

Correlation should also enable Risk Events to be correlated with each other and to other project parameters such as task existence.

Correlation must be statistically reliable.

Risk Factors

The software should be capable of building time and/or cost impact risk factors, with families of risk factors able to be correlated to each other, such as for productivity of different disciplines.

Weather modelling

It should be possible to assign probabilistic weather calendars to weather-exposed tasks. The weather distributions should preferably be able to be built as discrete distributions based on historical weather data.

Application Programming Interface

The software should preferably include an Application Programming Interface (API) that enables the user to add analysis and reporting functionality to the software and to incorporate decision-making within iterations, preferably without slowing the iterations unacceptably.

Survey of Schedule-based Risk Analysis Tools

Oracle’s Primavera Risk Analysis (OPRA)

This product was previously known as Pertmaster Risk Expert. It has long been the standard setter, but with no significant enhancements since around 2008, it will be overtaken. Still the best planning tool of all MCM schedule simulators.

Booz Allen Hamilton’s Polaris

This is the fastest simulator by far. Lags in other areas such as planning functionality, but includes Dr David Hulett’s favourite feature of progressively stripping out the next most dominant schedule driver to whatever level of subsidiary critical paths and drivers is desired. Polaris has a very smart and responsive young development team.

Safran Risk

SR has been designed by the developers of Pertmaster and is rapidly building its functionality. SR includes sophisticated Weather modelling and correlation capabilities and is built on an existing planning tool Safran Project.

Deltek’s Acumen Risk

AR was developed by Dr Dan Patterson, former VP North America for Pertmaster and developer of Acumen Fuse. This is the sexiest looking product but does it do rigorous correlation on schedule and cost? Worth serious consideration if you want to focus on SRA.

Barbecana’s Full Monte

This has been developed by Tony Welsh, who built Welcom Software (now owned by Deltek). It uses an MS Project interface, but added a P6 interface more recently. It could be worth evaluating.

Risky Project by Intaver

This is a budget priced MC simulator built with an MS Project interface.

Safran Risk Webinar

Safran Risk

Register for a live and interactive webinar on Schedule Risk Analysis by Safran Software Solutions and Australasian Project Planning, featuring Safran Risk 7.0, to be held on Thursday 21Apr16, 3.00 and 4.00pm Australian Eastern Time.

Register here


Quantitative Risk Analyses

Since our last RIMPL Newsletter in late-2015 we have been involved in the following:

• Conducting a series of Schedule Risk Analyses for a major metropolitan train sets tender for the Victorian Government involving design, procurement, local manufacture and construction of a major training and maintenance facility.

• Schedule risk analysis of a food manufacturing project.

Project Controls Services

We have also been continuing to provide project planning services for manufacturing projects:

• Ongoing provision of planning services for multiple Australian food manufacturing facility projects.

Chapter for an edited book on Advances in Project Risk Management

RIMPL’s Managing Director has been invited to contribute a chapter to a book featuring a series of articles on advances in project risk management, planned for release later in 2016. 29 contributions have been chosen, including by successful published authors, academics and practitioners.


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