Project Complexity and Risk Assessment

3.1 Project Characteristics (18 Questions)

Knowledge Area Question Clarifications Departmental Boiler Plate Notes Options Scores Documentation/ Notes
Cost 1. What is the total project cost estimate?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase with the size of the project.
  • Complexity normally increases when more money is being managed and the impact of realized risks increases.
  • The total project cost estimate is to be either an indicative cost estimate or a substantive cost estimate.
 
1
1  
2. What percentage of the total project cost estimate is for procurement?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase with more procurement.
  • When more of the project is being procured rather than supplied internally, the initiative is considered more complex.
 
2
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Investment portfolio management 3. Relative to the average project in your organization, which of the following adjectives describes the total project cost estimate?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the size of the total project cost estimate relative to the average cost of the organization's projects is large.
  • This comparison can be done by referring to the investment plan and reviewing the overall portfolio of projects. Based on this portfolio of planned projects, the organization may group its projects according to the categories of small, medium and large. Each project can then be referred to within their respective project size category.
 
3
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Human resources 4. How many people (part-time or full-time on the project, including Government of Canada employees and individual contractors) are required to complete this project at its peak activity?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase as the size of the project increases from a human resources perspective.
  • When planning a project, a department may wish to verify that the personnel required are available in sufficient number and with the needed skills. When projecting the number of people required at the peak activity for the project, one should ideally consider the availability of these resources internally and what can be acquired from outside the department, normally contracted personnel.
  • Human resources engaged directly by a vendor for any components of the project (e.g. produce a good or service) are not included in this figure. This is captured by question 2.
 
4
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Time 5. From project definition to project close-out, what is the expected duration of the project?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase with the length of the project.
  • For example, the longer the project timeframe, the more management resources are required and the greater the likelihood that external factors affecting the project requirements, project objectives, and the project baseline will change.
 
5
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Scope 6. How many sponsoring or funding departments or agencies are involved?
  • The inherent level of complexity and risk may increase as the number of sponsoring or funding departments or agencies increase.
  • Include only the departments or agencies that will co-sponsor or jointly fund the project, which should involve mutually agreed upon collaboration between Government of Canada organizations, provincial governments or private sector organizations that would include their active participation, direction, and/or funding. The names of collaborating organizations are to be included in the question textbox.
  • Common service providers such as Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), Shared Services Canada, or central agencies should not be included.
 
6
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Communications 7. How will the outcome of this project change or directly affect business processes, sectors, branches and other departments and agencies?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase the greater the project reach.
 
7
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Project integration management

8. The proposed or established project governance structure demonstrates adequate support for how many of the following project factors?

  1. appropriate representation of stakeholders and executive management;
  2. documented decision-making processes;
  3. documented roles, responsibilities, and authorities within the governance structure; and
  4. documented information requirements.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the governance structure for the project is not appropriate, clearly established and documented.
  • An appropriate representation of stakeholders and executive management is based on the judgement of the organization.
 
8
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Cost

9. In supporting the achievement of the expected outcomes, how many of the following criteria apply to the total project cost estimate (either indicative cost estimate or substantive cost estimate)?

  1. Cost estimates are generated at the work package level.
  2. Cost estimates are based on historical data or industry benchmarks.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if project cost estimates are not well defined.
 
9
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10. In supporting the achievement of the expected outcomes, how many of the following criteria apply to the costing model?

  1. The source of funds has been identified within departmental reference levels.
  2. The funds have been internally committed.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there is no identified source of funds and if the funds have not yet been committed.
 
10
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Time

11. Is the project susceptible to time delays? Time delays can have a number of causes, such as the following:

  1. Changes in technology;
  2. Requirements of participating organizations;
  3. Seasonal considerations;
  4. The need for policy approvals; and
  5. External influences.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if it is susceptible to factors that can increase the potential for time delays.
 
11
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12. Do geographical considerations influence the manner in which the project is conducted? Consider the following statements:

  1. Project activities or team members are distributed across a wide geographical area.
  2. The project will be conducted in a remote or difficult location.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project is geographically distributed or is conducted in a challenging location.
  • A remote or difficult location may be one that requires extensive travel time, has limited or restricted access, does not have readily available services or may be distant from other locations that may be important to the project.
 
12
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13. Do environmental considerations influence the manner in which the project is conducted?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there are environmental considerations.
  • Environmental considerations may take account of contaminated sites or carbon off-sets, and environmental tools may include environmental impact assessments.
 
13
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14. Are there any socio-economic considerations that must be taken into account?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there are socio-economic issues to be considered and/or managed as part of the project.
  • Considerations may include industrial regional benefits, Aboriginal peoples, green procurement, relocation of staff, loss of employment, managing designated heritage assets, etc.
 
14
   
15. Consider how the availability of facilities will influence the manner in which the project is conducted:
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if facilities for the project team are inadequate.
  • Facilities refers to the availability of a space for the project team, such as office complexes, laboratories, convention centres, etc
 
15
   
16. Does public perception influence the manner in which the project is conducted?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project is influenced by public opinion.
 
16
   
17. Do considerations relating to Aboriginal people (including land claims and Aboriginal consultation obligations) influence the manner in which the project is conducted?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if Aboriginal people are to be involved throughout the delivery of the project.
 
17
   
18. Do health and safety requirements add significant complexity to the requirements for this project?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there are health and safety factors to be considered and managed.
 
18
   
        Total 1  

End of PCRA section 3.1 Project Characteristics

Number of questions answered: 1

Total number of questions: 18

3.2 Strategic Management Risks (6 Questions)

Knowledge Area Question Clarifications Departmental Boiler Plate Notes Options Scores Documentation/ Notes
Investment portfolio management 19. How well and how clearly does the project align with the organization's mandate and strategic outcomes?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project is not closely aligned with the mandate and strategic objectives of the organization
 
19
5  
20. What level of priority is the project to the organization?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project is of lesser priority to the organization.
  • Lower priority projects may be more likely to face resource allocation issues than those that are considered to be critical priorities.
 
20
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Project integration management 21. How thoroughly does the project business case demonstrate the value of the project to the organization?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there is not a strong business case that links investments with program results and, ultimately, with the strategic outcomes of the organization.
  • A business case (when it is required) is defined by the operational requirements of the organization. The requirement for a business case is determined by an organization.
  • TBS has developed a business case guide and template.
 
21
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Communications 22. To what degree is the organization's management and relevant stakeholders aware of the project?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project has not been clearly communicated to management and if there has been a lack of management engagement.
 
22
   
23. Does the project have a communications plan?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project does not have a plan to communicate with internal and external stakeholders.
  • The requirement for a communications plan is determined by the organization. Guidelines of when a communications plan is required should be defined and documented by the organization.
  • The plan for communications can be a standalone document or part of another project document.
 
23
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Project integration management

24. How extensive is the commitment of the organization's senior executive management, stakeholders, partners, and project sponsors to the timely and successful completion of this project? Consider the following criteria:

  1. A senior project sponsor or management champion is engaged.
  2. Stakeholders and partners are willing to reallocate resources if necessary.
  3. Senior executive management oversight is in place.
  4. Commitment from all stakeholders is confirmed.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project does not have adequate commitment.
  • Criteria a, b, and c are indicators of commitment. Criteria d can be documented with the noted participation of stakeholders in key project meetings.
 
24
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        Total 5  

End of PCRA section 3.2 Strategic Management Risks

Number of questions answered: 0

Total number of questions: 6

3.3 Procurement Risks (9 Questions)

If you answered "1"for question 2 of the first section, answer "1" for all of the questions in this section.

Knowledge Area Question Clarifications Departmental Boiler Plate Notes Options Scores Documentation/ Notes
Procurement 25. The documented project procurement strategy:
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if an appropriate procurement strategy is not in place.
 
25
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26. What is the supplier availability and willingness?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there is only a small pool of qualified suppliers in the market.
 
26
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27. Will the appropriate products, goods, or services be supplied in a timely manner (according to specified contract delivery dates or required delivery dates) within the expected cost envelope by a qualified supplier?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the supplier's ability to deliver the planned products, goods, or services is constrained.
  • Products, goods or services that do not meet requested specifications are to be considered 'inappropriate' and hence rated as a '5'.
  • Products, goods or services that cannot be adequately delivered as the supplier is, to some significant degree, unable or unqualified to provide the products, goods or services are also to be rated as a '5'.
 
27
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28. How many of the following statements are true?

  1. The personnel involved in the project's procurement component have expertise in writing specifications or contracts.
  2. The personnel involved in the project's procurement component have subject-matter expertise in the goods or services being procured.
  3. There is a robust review process for contract award.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project does not have strong contracting capabilities and/or controls.
  • Consider all personnel undertaking activities within the scope of the project work.
 
28
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29. How many separate contracts associated with key deliverables are planned for this project?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there are several contracts as part of the project.
  • Contracts exclude MOUs and partnership agreements between co-sponsors that jointly fund the project.
 
29
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30. How many of the following statements are true?

  1. The firm or individual obtaining the contract will subcontract to other companies.
  2. Contracts are subject to trade agreements.
  3. The results of the contract are dependent on the results of another contract.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the contract characteristics are complicated.
  • Only count the statement as true if it is true for all contracts related to the project as per Question 29.
 
30
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31. Based on the contract, consider the degree of control over supplier selection and anticipated contract style.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there is limited control over the selection of a qualified supplier.
  • This question refers to control over the selection of a qualified bidder. Whereas the actual complexities introduced with the method of procurement itself are considered in Question 26.
  • If more than one method of supply is involved, select the method with the highest score.
 
31
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32. How many of the following statements pertaining to contract management are true?

  1. The personnel who wrote the contract are involved in the management of the contract.
  2. There is a standardized acceptance process for the review of the completion of contracts (e.g. peer reviewing or review of the completion of deliverables).
  3. The lines of communication between the contract authority and the contractor are well-defined and regularized.
  4. There is a standardized process for reporting progress (e.g. punctual evaluation or regular meetings).
  5. There is a mechanism in place to address any contractual disagreements between parties regarding the completion of a contract.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if effective mechanisms for managing the contracts associated with the project are not in place.
 
32
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33. Has PWGSC/PSPC or a delegated contracting authority been formally engaged through a service agreement to provide adequate support for the procurement process?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the delegated contracting authority has not been formally engaged and service expectations defined.
 
33
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        Total 0  

End of PCRA section 3.3 Procurement Risks

Number of questions answered: 0

Total number of questions: 9

3.4 Human Resources Risks (5 Questions)

End of PCRA section 3.4 Human Resources Risks

Number of questions answered: 0

Total number of questions: 5

Knowledge Area Question Clarifications Departmental Boiler Plate Notes Options Scores Documentation/ Notes
Human resources 34. Does the organization anticipate a shortage of available personnel with appropriate skills during a significant period of the project?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there is a shortage of appropriate skills.
  • Consider the organization's staffing plan to address any skill gaps. If no plan exists then the response should be 'yes'.
 
34
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35. What is the predicted stability of the project team? Consider the following criteria:

  1. The project team has worked together previously.
  2. A low rate of turnover is expected.
  3. It is expected that a suitable replacement will be readily available.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project team is unstable.
  • Consider common service providers (PWGSC/PSPC, SSC) as project team members. Discussions with the specific organization may be necessary before answering this question.
 
35
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36. What percentage of the project team is assigned full-time to the project?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the commitment of project team members is low.
  • Consider common service providers (PWGSC/PSPC, SSC) as project team members.
 
36
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37. Consider the following criteria regarding knowledge and experience:

  1. The project will use a proven approach.
  2. This type of project has been done before in the Government of Canada.
  3. The project will use resources that have been applied to this type of project before.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project is untried, unique, and/or leading edge.
  • If a third party is delivering the project, then the question is to be answered from their perspective. For example, consider whether the third party will be using a proven approach.
 
37
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38. Has the assigned project manager worked on a project of this size and complexity before?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project manager does not have the knowledge and experience to deliver the project.
 
38
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        Total 0  

3.5 Business Risks (5 Questions)

Knowledge Area Question Clarifications Departmental Boiler Plate Notes Options Scores Documentation/ Notes
Human resources, Communications 39. Describe the overall effect of this project on the organization:
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project necessitates change to the current organizational structures.
 
39
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40. Does the project have a change management plan?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there is no change management plan.
  • Change management is a structured approach to transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state. In other words, change management is about helping the people affected by an initiative move to a new situation.
  • The requirement for a change management plan is determined by the organization. Guidelines on when a change management plan is required should be defined in writing by the organization.
 
40
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41. What is the level of public involvement required to achieve expected outcomes?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there is a high degree of public (including Aboriginal people) involvement and support required.
  • The level of involvement is expressed in the number of people, length of time, or number of groups involved.
 
41
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42. What level of legal risk will be introduced by this project through the addition of new liabilities, regulatory requirements, and legislative changes?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there are legislative or regulatory changes needed to complete the project or implemented the project.
  • To answer this question find the answer that best represents the situation for the initiative. Not all the conditions in each answer need apply.
 
42
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43. Are there expected challenges to ensure that this project complies with relevant Treasury Board policy requirements, such as those regarding security, accessibility, common look and feel standards for the Internet, and management of government information?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there are challenges in meeting policy requirements and/or exemptions are required.
  • Organizations are to document which policies apply to their project. For instance, if personal information is part of the project then a Privacy Impact Assessment is required and should be noted in the PCRA response.
 
43
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        Total 0  

End of PCRA section 3.5 Business Risks

Number of questions answered: 0

Total number of questions: 5

3.6 Project Management Integration Risks (6 Questions)

Knowledge Area Question Clarifications Departmental Boiler Plate Notes Options Scores Documentation/ Notes
Project integration management

44. How many of the following elements are defined in the project management plan?

  1. scope
  2. costs
  3. schedule
  4. project controls
  5. risks
  6. deliverables
  7. team or skills
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project has not been well-defined.
 
44
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Human resources, Project integration management

45. To indicate the extent of the project teams being appropriately organized to undertake a project of this scope, how many of these criteria are met?

  1. Project team composition, resource levels, and roles and responsibilities are defined and documented.
  2. Resources are dedicated (i.e. available when required).
  3. Responsibilities and required authorities for managers and leads within the project team are defined and documented.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project team is not well organized.
  • The extent to which a project team is organized and structured is to be commensurate with the scope of the project.
 
45
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Project integration management 46. Has a project reporting and control process appropriate for the project been documented?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project reporting and control processes have not been documented.
 
46
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Project integration management, Quality risk

47. How many of the following disciplines will or does the project employ?

  1. quality assurance
  2. risk management
  3. outcome management
  4. issue management
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if best practices are not followed.
 
47
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Risk

48. Has a risk management plan been completed, and to what degree have appropriate contingency plans been included which respond to the risks as identified in the plan? Consider the following criteria:

  1. Identified risks have been assessed and prioritized.
  2. Appropriate controls and mitigations are in place for all significant residual risks.
  3. A risk management plan has been integrated into the project management plan.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if project risks are not managed.
  • An organizational risk management group should be involved.
 
48
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Communications 49. Is an appropriate information management process planned or in place to collect, distribute, and protect relevant and important project information, such as designs, project plans, baseline, and registers?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if project information is not appropriately managed.
 
49
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        Total 0  

End of PCRA section 3.6 Project Management Integration Risks

Number of questions answered: 0

Total number of questions: 6

3.7 Project Requirements Risks (15 Questions)

Knowledge Area Question Clarifications Departmental Boiler Plate Notes Options Scores Documentation/ Notes
Scope

50. How many of the following statements are true?

  1. The project solution requires a high degree (greater than normal) of availability.
  2. The project solution requires customization beyond normal configuration.
  3. The project solution requires a high degree of performance quality.
  4. The project solution requires a high degree of reliability.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project solution (the major output that the project will deliver) has intricate requirements. The higher the number of specific requirements, the more risk and complexity is inherent.
  • Availability refers to the amount of time an asset must be available for use. For instance, a computer system with high availability might be on 99.9% of the time. A building may be in use 24/7. High availability drives different and more complex requirements than low availability. Down time or maintenance time is generally very limited.
  • A high degree of performance quality means that a solution must produce very accurate, repeatable and complete results or outputs. This may mean that the solution requires very detailed requirements. Moreover, there may be little room for change in the solution during the delivery of the project due to the quality requirements.
  • Reliability refers to how robust an asset is or refers to its resistance to failure. Assets in high use need to be more reliable and; therefore, drive requirements that are more complex.
 
50
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51. In defining project requirements, how many of the following statements are true?

  1. The requirements can be defined with very few people.
  2. The requirements can be defined in a short period of time.
  3. There are a small number of individual requirements to define.
  4. The requirements do not require a high degree of detail.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if project requirements are difficult to fully document.
  • More requirements, details, people and/or stakeholders is generally indicative of higher complexity.
 
51
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52. To what extent have available sources/methods been employed and verified to provide information for this project as applicable (e.g. research, consultations, workshops, surveys, and existing documentation)?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if information for planning, integration, and development has not been sought and verified.
  • Identify and document the steps followed to gather high quality information to support the development of the requirements.
  • Ideally, an organization is to use organizational practices other than the business case to develop requirements.
 
52
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53. Have the business requirements been validated with users with an appropriate technique, such as walk-throughs, workshops, and independent verification and validation?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if requirements have not been appropriately validated.
  • Consider whether the end-users have been involved in the development of the requirements.
  • End-users are individuals who will be directly required to interact, use or support the project's output (e.g. new business process, information management system, equipment). This practice is undertaken to avoid situations in which those most directly impacted by a project are not consulted or engaged when developing requirements.
 
53
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54. Have feasibility studies been conducted and documented, and is there confidence in the assumptions made in the feasibility studies?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if reliable feasibility studies have not been completed.
  • Feasibility can also include options analysis activities or recommendations. Prototypes or proof of concept exercises are included as feasibility activities.
 
54
1  
55. What percentage of tasks cannot be fully defined until the completion of previous tasks? These are tasks that may be understood but cannot be documented in detail due to dependency on results from a previous task.
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there are indefinable requirements (known unknowns).
 
55
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56. To what extent are the project's requirements clear, completed, and communicated?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there are uncertain requirements or are accepted requirements that are not included in the specifications.
  • If at the outset all requirements can be defined, then the entire project is to be used as the basis for the response. However, if it is not possible to define all requirements at the time of assessment then the current or upcoming phase of the project is to be used as the basis of the response.
 
56
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57. How many of the following project characteristics are expected to remain stable?

  1. quality
  2. functionality
  3. schedule
  4. integration
  5. design
  6. testing
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there are unstable project requirements. Project characteristics should be expected to remain stable if the project requirements are stable.
  • Consider how well the current information represents the project requirements. If some of the project characteristics are expected to change due to incomplete or uncertain information then the project requirements are to be considered unstable.
 
57
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Investment portfolio management 58. Are any other projects dependent on outputs or outcomes of this project?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if other projects are dependent on this project.
 
58
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59. Are outcomes of this project dependent on the outputs and/or outcomes of any other projects?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if this project is dependent on other projects.
 
59
1  
Scope 60. What degree of integration with externalities, such as other projects, systems, infrastructure, or organizations, is required?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there is a high degree of integration with external elements.
  • Consider and identify the answer that best represents the situation for the initiative. Not all the conditions in each answer need apply.
 
60
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61. What degree of integration is required within the project?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if there is a high degree of integration with internal elements.
 
61
1  
62. Relative to the average (typical) project in your organization, which of the following adjectives describes the number of tasks, elements, or deliverables in the work breakdown structure?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project scope relative to the organization's average project scope is large.
  • This question qualifies the materiality (refer to question 1) of the project considering the number of project tasks relative to the organizational average. This comparison can be done by referring to the investment plan and reviewing the overall portfolio of projects.
  • Based on the portfolio review, the organization should be in a position to define the average number of tasks is for the portfolio of projects. Each project can then be compared to the average range to answer and support the question.
 
62
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63. Does the project schedule accommodate the critical path of the project, including appropriate contingencies?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the project schedule does not include contingencies for dependent tasks (critical path).
 
63
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64. What is the effect on the project of the requirement for scarce resources or resources that are in very high demand?
  • The inherent complexity and risk of the project may increase if the resources needed for the project are scarce or in high demand.
  • Resources can be internal or external to the government and can be physical such as materials or human (i.e. people with rare skills). If a resource is scarce internally but available externally, then the resource is not considered scarce.
 
64
3  
        Total 0  

End of PCRA section 3.7 Project Requirements Risks

Number of questions answered: 4

Total number of questions: 15

Results Summary

Section Category Score Number of Questions Rating
3.1 Project Characteristics 1 18 1%
3.2 Strategic Management Risks 5 6 17%
3.3 Procurement Risks 0 9 0%
3.4 Human Resources Risks 0 5 0%
3.5 Business Risks 0 5 0%
3.6 Project Management Integration Risks 0 6 0%
3.7 Project Requirements Risks 0 15 0%
TOTAL   6 64 3%

Number of questions ANSWERED: 5/64

Total of the PCRA Assessment: 7

SCORE Inc.

This is a level - Project Version: 1.4, March 2013