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You are here: Home » Case Studies » Improved risk assessment for major systems projects

Improved risk assessment for major systems projects


  • Organisations are increasingly realising that the management of risks associated with large-scale projects and complex systems needs to be addressed using suitable decision-making techniques
  • Accurate and rational decision-making is critical and can make the difference between the success and failure of projects. Poor decisions can cause significant cost overruns and higher maintenance and support costs. In some cases poor decisions may lead to loss of business, loss of reputation and, if the system is safety critical, even loss of life
  • The most common approach to risk assessment for major projects is the use of risk registers. But risk registers for large projects quickly become unmanageable, and there is a lack of visibility in any relationships between different risk factors
  • Risk registers hide the distinction between notions like triggers, risk events, controls, mitigants, and consequences
  • Risk registers provide no rational quantification of risk
  • Several Agena clients have sought improved approaches to major project risk assessment
  • They need to handle uncertainty and get results from incomplete and often subjective data
  • Their decisions must be repeatable, auditable, and visible
  • They have to communicate their argument easily
  • Their decision-making and risk assessment must provide support for process improvement and "corporate learning"
  • They do not want to rely on expensive statisticians/AI experts and consultants


  • In all cases the companies were able to develop risk maps that "told a story"
  • They did this by identifying the distinct triggers, risk events, controls, mitigants, and consequences
  • This especially included identifying common triggers and controls
  • The resulting risk maps provided quantitative predictions of different consequences (and hence different risks) such as the probability of project overrun compared with the probability of the project delivering an unsatisfactory system
  • In all cases AgenaRisk enables end-users to interface with a simple questionnaire (the risk table) for data entry


  • Meaningless risk registers replaced with meaningful risk map "stories"
  • Improved identification and quantification of the risks for any large-scale project/system at any stage of the project life-cycle
  • In the early phases AgenaRisk can be used for basic resource estimation and "go/no-go" project decisions, while in later phases it can be used for assessing on-going project risks
  • Powerful "what if" analyses to test alternative strategies to reduce overall risk and ways to measure it
  • Uniquely combines quantitative data (e.g. project costs and schedules) and qualitative evidence (e.g. quality of contractors and personnel) in a single, integrated, project risk map
  • Provides quantitative risk assessments for large-scale projects even if incomplete data is entered
  • Integrates self-assessment questionnaires and project/system risk models
  • Enhances process improvement and project risk mitigation throughout the project life-cycle, by identifying the impact of key variables on project/system performance
  • Makes visible and auditable the risk assessments to client/project management team
  • Enhances project management controls by modelling the dependencies between project variables and the changing project risk profile over time
  • Easy to use solution for different classes of end-users