What-If Scenario Analysis in Project Management

What if scenario analysis helps you to understand what’s going to happen to your project if the critical success factors do not come into play or underperform. It can help you to make better decisions in your day-to-day project management duties and in the overall scope of the entire project.

Once you've created your project schedule using the develop schedule process, the What-if Scenario Analysis can help you test different scenarios and see what would happen if there was a delay in completing one or more of the tasks in your schedule. 

The What-if Scenario Analysis process can help you determine how critical tasks are to your project’s success by showing the effect their delays will have on achieving project objectives. This process can also help you anticipate schedule problems that might arise due to unknown risks, such as possible issues with obtaining key resources or permits.

What-if Scenario Analysis Definition

The what-if scenario analysis is a project management technique that evaluates different scenarios to predict their effects – both positive and negative – on the project objectives. This is one of the techniques used in develop schedule process. The what-if analysis identifies possible project outcomes and helps you make informed decisions on how to best manage your project when under uncertainty. 

By identifying different versions of future events and knowing what they mean for your project, you can identify likely risks and take steps to avert them as well as opportunities that may arise. A what-if model will help you understand which uncertain situations have no impact on your project and which ones could lead to major setbacks or missed deadlines.

A good what-if model should do more than just look at two or three discrete scenarios. To be useful, it should be able to demonstrate a range of potential responses across several areas: overall cost, schedule duration, resource requirements, and risk exposure.

What-if Scenario Analysis is a project management artifact recommended to be used in;

Why it is important?

What-if scenario analysis is an analysis technique used in project management. It allows investigating how well a project meets its objective by investigating two or more possible outcomes of decisions that will be made by you or external factors.

It is important for managers to understand what could happen under different circumstances on projects so they can choose among several alternatives based on their calculated probabilities of occurrence. 

See also:

Trend Analysis

Assumptions and Constraints Analysis

Decision Tree Analysis

Alternatives Analysis

Root Cause Analysis