George Mason University


Information Technology
Project Management


Project Risk Assessment

This lecture reviews procedures for assessing project's risk of failure. 


  1. Define project success and failure
  2. Assess risks of project failure
  3. Take corrective action to reduce risk of project failure

Assigned Reading

  1. Developing and Testing a Model to Predict Outcomes of Organizational Change David H Gustafson, Francois Sainfort, Mary Eichler, Laura Adams, Maureen Bisognano, and Harold Steudel Health Serv Res. 2003 April; 38(2): 751–776. doi: 10.1111/1475-6773.00143.  More
  2. Management matters.  Technology succeeds when management innovates. Frontiers of Health Services Management 2000 Fall; 17(1): 17-30  More


  1. Lecture on how technology projects demand process change (29 minutes).  Slides Listen► SWF► Arabic 1►  Arabic 2►  Arabic 3►

What you know?

Advanced learners like you, often need different ways of understanding a topic. Reading is just one way of understanding. Another way is through writing about what you have read.  The enclosed assessment is designed to get you to think more about the concepts taught in this session. 

  1. Think through a specific project that you are planning or that you have seen others plan and complete a risk analysis for the project using the tool developed in the reading.   Include in your report answers to the questions for the risk analysis tool.  Interpret the meaning of the statistics produced by the tool for your project.  Make recommendations regarding what you can do now to improve the chances of success.  Discuss whether risk assessment process is helpful in managing the project you were planning or that others have planned.  More  
  2. List the processes that need to be changed according to the article by Alemi before a virtual managed care organization can become a successful business.  In each instance, state whether you agree that this business process must change before online management of patients is successful.
  3. Search the Internet for a project dashboard.  Compare the measures used to track the project to the measures suggested in the reading on Project Execution and Control.
  4. What is the most common type of dependency among activities within your project plans?  Finish to start, Start to finish, Start to start, Finish to finish
  5. What is a network diagramming method that can be used to predict project's end?
  6. What is the purpose of each of the following methods:  PERT, Gantt chart, CPM, Estimate Talk Estimate, WBS, ABC

Please send an email to your instructor with your responses to the above questions.    Make sure that the email subject line includes the course number, topic name and your name, otherwise it will not get to the right place.  If you wish to receive a receipt that the instructor has received your email, you may request the receipt from your email program.  Please respond to all of the questions within the same email.  Do not attach any files.  Keep a copy of all your emails to the instructor till the end of the semester.  Email►


Rapid Analysis

1.  Given the following table of activities and precedents, calculate rate of performance and the budget/schedule overrun at end of the project.  To obtain planned project duration, please use your software for Project Management, put in the tasks, put in the duration of tasks, put in the precedence for each task and note when the project ends.  Keep in mind that sufficient information may not be available to answer all portions of this question. Video►   You Tube►


of Activity

Immediate Precedence Planned
A Obtain list of patients   2 weeks 4 weeks $1000
B Sample patients A 1 week 2 weeks $500
C Print survey tool   3 weeks 3 weeks $13,000
D Mail survey tool B, C 4 weeks   $2,000
E Collect early responses D 1 week   $3,000
F Collect late responses E 3 weeks   $9,000
G Analyze data E 2 weeks   $2,000
H Report findings F, G 1 week   $1,000

2.  Calculate rate of performance and visually show progress made in the following project:  Here is a just in time advice on how to solve this problem.  Video SWF  You Tube►

WBS code

of Activity

Pessimistic Realistic Optimistic Start
1 Strategic plan phase   9 months 8 months 6 months 1/1 6/1/
2 Project initiation phase 1 Depends on duration of sub-tasks    
2.1.    Team formation   3 months 2 months 1 month 7/1 11/1
2.2.    Master facility plan 2.1 8 months 7 months 6 months 11/2 12/30
2.3.    Space programming Finish with 2.2 9 months 7 months 6 months    
2.4.    Land acquisition analysis 2.2 6 months 4 months 3 months    
2.5.    Project budget & schedule 2.2 5 months 2 months 1 months    
2.6.    Joint venture analysis 2.1 5 months 2 months 1 months    
3 Building design 1, 2 Depends on duration of sub-tasks    
3.1.    Facility design   9 months 7 months 6 months    
3.2.    Equipment planning 3.1 6 months 4 months 3 months    
3.3.    Regulatory approvals 3.2 4 months 2 months 1 month    
4 Construction phase 3 9 months 6 months 5 months    
5 Occupancy 4 3 months 2 months 1 month    


  • Report of a Computer project failure at Mount Sinai Hospital  More►

This page is part of the course on Project Management.   This page was last edited on 01/31/17 by Farrokh Alemi, Ph.D ©Copyright protected.