for Project Management
@RISK for Project Management
“If the project starts a week late, how will that impact our total profits?”
“What are the chances of completing this project on time and under budget?”
“How much contingency should we allocate?”
@RISK® is used to answer these and many other project management questions every day. An important application of @RISK is the analysis of risks in cost estimation and project scheduling. @RISK for Excel integrates with Microsoft Project, allowing you to perform all your risk modeling from the more flexible Excel environment. @RISK imports your Project schedules into Excel so that you can use all of Excel’s formulas, and @RISK’s features, on your Project models. Excel becomes a front-end for your Microsoft Project schedule, linking directly to the underlying .MPP(X) file. Changes made in either Project or Excel are reflected in the other. When it’s time to run your Monte Carlo simulation, Microsoft Project’s scheduling engine is used for the calculations, ensuring accuracy. The bottom line for project managers is an integrated toolset that – finally – brings together cost, schedule, and financial risk modeling in a single, accessible environment.
A “New View” of Your Project
A communication layer connects Excel and Project, allowing live updating of schedules in Project when changes are made in Excel. This makes @RISK truly a cross-platform tool, enabling risk modeling of your Microsoft Project schedules using the same @RISK you use for modeling in Excel! You get the best of both worlds: Excel formulas, functions, and graphs combined with the Microsoft Project scheduling engine.
The time scale report displays the range of total cumulative costs, time, or other factor of a particular project.
How Does @RISK Work with Project?
First, open your .MPP(X) file in Excel using the Open command on the Project menu in @RISK for Excel. The Project schedule, Gantt chart, and values are imported into Excel. Once the schedule is displayed in Excel, the new workbook can be saved on its own. When the workbook is opened later, the associated .MPP(X) file is automatically opened and linked to the workbook. You can still build your schedules in Project, and then use @RISK for Excel to perform your risk analysis.
Use @RISK for Excel to enter distributions, simulate, fit distributions to data, define correlations, sensitivity analysis, optimize your schedule, and more. Formulas can be used in schedules to link to other calculations in Excel and perform calculations that are very difficult to do in Project. In addition, @RISK includes modeling tools that support project-specific functions (see below).
During a simulation, Project takes the values sampled in @RISK for Excel or calculated with Excel formulas. Values are sent to Project and the schedule is recalculated using those values. The recalculated schedule results go back to @RISK for Excel. Thus, all schedule calculations during simulations are done in Project. This ensures that results are calculated just as an add-in to Project would do. @RISK does not re-create its own scheduling engine to replace Project’s.The project box plot shows the range of cumulative cost or time in box plot format.
There are many benefits to project managers of working with @RISK in the Excel environment.
|INTEGRATED COST AND SCHEDULE RISK MODELING|
|Schedule and cost data are typically stored and modeled in separate environments. This makes it difficult or impossible to accurately assess the impacts of changes in one on the other. Cost data, typically modeled in Excel, can now be easily linked with formulas to the Excel view of the project schedule. You can now see the impacts that changing costs has on your schedule, and vice versa. It’s easy to model the impact of potential risks of any kind on your bottom line.|
|Build risk registers in Excel, and easily link them to your project schedules. Use “RiskProject” functions to add delays or costs in your project models as risk events occur (see below).|
|Standardize on @RISK for Excel to meet the needs of your project managers, cost estimators, finance analysts – everyone who deals with risk in your company. One interface for everyone means shorter learning curves for users.|
|Access to Excel formulas, charts, function and more give project managers more modeling options than ever before possible.|
|COMBINE WITH OTHER DECISIONTOOLS PRODUCTS|
|You can combine @RISK with other DecisionTools Suite products – such as optimizers – to further enhance your project analyses. For example, you can apply sophisticated optimization techniques to determine the best order to perform tasks or phases of your project, or the best allocation of limited resources to minimize costs.|
In addition to the tremendous flexibility benefits of working in Excel, @RISK provides a number of other specific features for project managers.
FOR SETTING UP A SIMULATION MODEL
|@RISK for Excel includes project-specific functions that can be included in Excel formulas to make changes to a project schedule during a simulation. They are especially useful when formulas calculated in Excel, such as those in a risk register, need to be linked to the logic of a schedule in Microsoft Project to model the effects of risk events occurring. This “RiskProject” function set includes functions to add delays or costs at certain points in a project, remove tasks or resources, add resources, or changes the units used of a resource.|
|Allows a project to branch from one task to any number of other tasks during a simulation. Each of the task groups that could be branched to has a probability value.|
|Allow you to enter non-working probabilities in calendars to be used in a simulation. This accounts for events that may affect the outcome of your project, such as weather conditions during certain seasons.|
|Allow distributions to be quickly assigned to a field for groups of tasks or resources in a project. You can quickly apply a min-max range for all estimates for a field in a set of tasks in your project and then run a simulation of project outcomes under those assumptions.|
|PARAMETER ENTRY TABLES|
|To ease data entry you may wish to create a table in Excel for entering the possible values for a field for tasks or resources. For example, you could have three columns where you type in the minimum, most likely and maximum possible values for the duration of each task. The Parameter Entry features will create these columns for you and automatically generate the @RISK distribution functions which reference the values entered in these columns.|
|Many errors or omissions in a project schedule can impact the results of a simulation. The Schedule Audit feature checks a project schedule to identify mis-specified or incomplete entries that can affect the results of a risk analysis.|
FOR INTERPRETING SIMULATION RESULTS
|PROBABILISTIC GANTT CHARTS|
|Shows, by default, the earliest, 10th percentile (P10) and expected start date, and expected, 90th percentile (P90) and latest finish dates for project tasks directly on the Gantt chart. In addition, the report gives the Critical Index for each task, or the percentage of time during the simulation that the task fell on the critical path of the project. The critical index gives managers the ability to rate the importance of tasks. The information can be customized to your needs.|
|TIME-SCALED REPORTS AND GRAPHS|
|Many types of time-scaled – such as costs, cumulative costs and work - are available in Microsoft Project. @RISK can collect this data during a simulation. With this, @RISK can generate probability distributions that show a range of possible values for each time period in a project. For example, in addition to a single distribution for the possible Total Cost of a project, you might want to see the distribution for Total Cost in each month or year of a project.|
Earlier Versions of @RISK for Project
@RISK for Excel is compatible with models developed in earlier versions of the @RISK for Project add-in. When a Project model used with an earlier version of @RISK for Project is opened in @RISK for Excel, all distributions are converted to equivalent @RISK for Excel functions. Furthermore, probabilistic branching, if-then conditions, variables, and probabilistic calendars are converted to their Excel equivalents.
COMPATIBILITY: @RISK and DecisionTools Suite software is compatible with all 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows XP through 10, Excel 2007 through 2016, and Project 2007 through 2016.
64-bit technology enables Excel and DecisionTools software to access much more computer memory than ever before. This allows for vastly larger models and greater computational power.