Project complexity and risk assessment tool

Archived Content

The National Project Management System has been replaced by Project Navigator effective October 15, 2021. Therefore, this page has been archived and will be taken down in 2024.

The Excel version of the Project complexity and risk assessment (PCRA) tool is available on the Real Property National Project Management System related documents page (available on Government of Canada network only), or by contacting



The PCRA Tool is a 64 question assessment that determines the risk and complexity of a project.

The questions are each given an equal percentage in the overall score. Because the PCRA score evaluates a wide range of inherent risks, it is unlikely that a single project would be susceptible to all of the potential risks. The worst case scenario would be that 70% of the inherent risks would be present in any one project. Therefore the actual raw score of the assessment is divided by 70 to determine how the project compares to the worst case. This tool is presented in an excel file that will tabulate the score automatically and is supported by the PCRA User Guide.

Excel version of the tool

The Excel version of the PCRA tool is intended to be used by project teams as a working or rough copy during the early stages of the assessment while information is being gathered. To complete the submission of the assessment, the information gathered in the Excel tool version should be sent to the designated branch contact to be transcribed to Treasury Board's online version of the assessment tool by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC)'s Office of Investment Planning to notify Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) of PCRA scores for planned projects.

This excel document consists of two tabs:

  1. Instructions - (this page) which provides information on the tool itself
  2. PCRA—this tab contains the questions for the assessment tool

Completing the assessment

  • To complete the assessment, answer the 64 questions in the PCRA tab (all answers must be entered for results to be valid)
  • To answer an individual question 'click' the appropriate cell in the "Options" column and the coresponding score will apear in the score column
  • Ensure that the project's ancillary data has been entered. The information is entered by clicking on the downward arrow in the grey box and selecting the appropriate option
  • If you are sure a question does not apply to your project then answer with the lowest score "1" for that question
  • If the answer to a question is unknown then answer the highest score "5" for that question
  • An answer can be deleted by pressing the "reset answer" option
  • The score will be tabulated at the end each section

Question colour scheme

When the score box has gone green it indicates that the question has been answered. The orange score box will turn green once one of the answer options has been selected.
When the score box is orange and a '--' indicator is visible it indicates that a question has been missed or remains unanswered.

Additional instructions

Additional Information:
Additional information on the purpose of each section or the significance of a particular rating can be found within User Guide which is posted at the on-line web version of the assessment tool site. (See the reference documents section)
Definition of Terms:
For definition of terms, please refer to the glossary of terms at end of the User Guide. (See the reference documents section). Some of the terms in the assessment tool may not be a best fit for your organization. Please consult with your reviewer or departmental/agency lead on how the terms are to be applied in your organization.
Future updates:
All future updated versions of the assessment tool will be posted on the on-line Web site for the assessment tool site. (See the reference documents section)
Interpreting the results:
For a description on interpreting the results of the assessment, please see the User Guide, which is posted at the on-line web version of the assessment tool site. (See the reference documents section)

Trouble shooting

Macro Settings:
This application uses macros, for these macros to work correctly, Security Settings on your computer must be set to 'Low'.

(To set the Security Settings to Low, select: Tools—Macro—Security—Low)

Reference documents

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