What-If Scenario Analysis

Posted on April 8, 2009 by

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Thinking through potential outcomes, the What-If Scenario Analysis is a tool and technique of the Develop Schedule process and the Control Schedule process, both described in the fourth edition PMBOK®. This technique is used to estimate impacts to the project schedule if potential scenarios occur. This technique simply repeatedly asks “what if” a certain event should happen. It is useful to have more than one person’s perspective and ideas for this analysis. For example, Katy has two hours to bake three dozen cookies. She and her family are doing a What-If Scenario Analysis for this cookie baking project. “What if you burn the first batch?” asks her husband. They estimate that will extend the schedule an hour. “What if Dad is eating the cookies as fast as you can make them?” asks her daughter. They estimate that he’ll become full at a certain point, so it’ll extend the schedule half an hour. In summary, What-If Scenario Analysis simply estimates the effect that potential events may have.