making the right call, Part 2
Although somewhat difficult to master, computer simulations are the best risk assessment tools, offering project managers more detailed and useful project risk information than any other method. This article discusses risk considered as a project variable, and presents an approach to using computer simulations to refine a project's critical path. As opposed to the Critical Path Method's deterministic scheduling, PERT planning methods can be combined with Monte Carlo simulation to yield a range of completion times. Risks can be dealt with by avoidance, mitigation, or retention, producing a range of choices, each with their own tradeoff. Also discussed are the limitations of computer simulation models and the necessity of making intelligent choices with the information derived from simulations.