Project Management Institute

Uncertainty of a research and development project

Research and development (R&D) projects, because these typically require lengthy time commitments and large investments, subject to two types of uncertainty: time uncertainties and technological uncertainties. This article explains these two types of uncertainty and examines a process for implementing R&D projects that increases investor confidence and reduces uncertainty, a process that involves a work breakdown structure (WBS) developed in relation to responsibilities and the confidence levels for each activity. It then details formulas that use confidence levels to calculate the probability of completing project activities; it also describes the condition which determines the probability of a project's completion.
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