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PMP Exam Resources: Uncertainty Glossary

Free PMP Terms and Definitions

Understanding common project management terms can be a challenge for all project managers. To help you understand those terms and definitions Crosswind Project Management has created a free to use glossary to help in your pmp training. In this page you will find the terms and definitions associated within the component areas of framework to get a better understanding of how this process works and relates to project management.

All projects are conducted within a surrounding environment. This environment has different aspects such as technical, social, political, and economic. Any of this can be a source of uncertainty for a project.

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AcceptA strategy for managing positive or negative risks where nothing is done until the risk occurs.
AmbiguityThe state of being unclear; not able to identify the cause of events or having many options to select from.
AssumptionA premise considered to be true without benefit of proof
Assumption LogA project document that tracks assumptions related to the project.
Assumptions and Constraints AnalysisThe evaluation of assumptions and constraints to ensure they are factored into the plan and related documents, and they are applied consistently.
AvoidA risk response plan for negative risks where steps are taken to eliminate the risk so that it cannot occur.
BrainstormingA group creativity session that encourages all members to spontaneously suggest ideas that will lead to a solution to a problem
Business RiskA risk that is typically uninsurable because of doing business that could result in a profit or loss.
ComplexityThe intricate arrangement of many parts or factors into a whole
Confirmation BiasA cognitive bias that validates preexisting ideas, hypothesis, or beliefs.
ContingencyA possible event that could negatively impact the project and is typically neutralized by accessing the time or cost reserve established for that purpose
Contingency Plan A risk response strategy that is pre-established and implemented if the risk occurs.
Contingency ReserveFunds set aside for unforeseen events that can negatively effect the project
Decision Tree AnalysisA technique used to assess possible responses to a threat or opportunity in order to make the best decision; it involves diagramming the options and notating the expected monetary value (EMV) potential of each option
Effect-Based Risk ClassificationAn approach to analyzing bigger project risks that could impact project success. Categories includes scope, schedule, budget, and quality.
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EnhanceA risk response strategy for positive risks or opportunities that takes steps to improve the size or capacity of the risk event.
EscalateA risk response strategy that addresses risks that are bigger than the project manager authority, or outside of the project where the risk is handed off to a person with the appropriate level to address it.
Expected Monetary Value (EMV)A statistical technique, typically applied in decision tree analysis, used to determine the average outcome when contingent scenarios for future project risks must be considered
ExploitA risk response strategy that involves ensuring the success of the project opportunity.
Insurable RiskA risk (threat) where insurance can typically be purchased. Categories could include liability, personnel, and property.
Management ReserveFunds set aside for unanticipated project work and excluded from the performance measurement baseline
MitigateA risk response strategy that takes steps to attempt to minimize the negative impact of the risk.
Monte Carlo SimulationA process that simulates possible project schedule or cost outcomes; often used to estimate required reserves based on the scatter diagram or probability table that is typically the output of the process
OpportunityA risk whose occurrence will result in a positive impact on the project
Overall Project RiskThe impact that uncertainty, including the cumulative effect of individual risks, has on the project; the exposure of stakeholders to the implications of variations in project outcome, both positive and negative.
Probability and Impact MatrixAn array used in qualitative risk management to prioritize risk, typically based on each risk’s probability of occurrence and potential impact
Qualitative Risk AnalysisA technique to establish the probability and impact of project risks.
Quantitative Risk AnalysisThe process of numerically evaluating the impact of identified risks on the project
ReserveFunds set aside for risks to the budget or schedule, for example management reserves or contingency reserves, as provided for in the project management plan
Reserve AnalysisAn analysis technique used to identify the critical features and relationships of components in order to determine the amount of reserves realistically needed for the project with consideration of schedule duration, budget, and cost estimation
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Residual RiskThe remaining risk following the implementation of risk responses
RiskAn unscheduled, but possible, event that may have a positive or negative impact on the project if it occurs
Risk AcceptanceA risk response strategy that involves acknowledgement only of the risk; no planned response is formulated unless the risk occurs
Risk AppetiteThe amount of uncertainty an organization or individual is willing to accept in anticipation of a reward.
Risk AuditsThe evaluation of project risk responses to determine the effectiveness of the utilized approach to risk
Risk AvoidanceA risk response strategy that involves the elimination of the threat or protection of the project from the impact of the threat
Risk Breakdown Structure (RBS)A representation of risks ranked by category
Risk CategorizationThe organization of risks by source or other criteria to increase understanding of overall project risk
Risk Data Quality AssessmentAn evaluation of risk-associated data to determine its quality
Risk EnhancementA risk response strategy that increases the probability of occurrence or impact of an opportunity as a result of deliberate team action.
Risk EscalationA risk response strategy that transfers ownership of the risk from the project team to a higher organizational level for more effectively management.
Risk ExploitingA risk response strategy that ensures the occurrence of an opportunity as a result of deliberate team action.
Risk ExposureThe calculation that determines the impact to the schedule if risks are realized: multiply the probability of each risk occurring, expressed as a percentage, by the impact to the schedule if that risk is realized, expressed in days, and total the results
Risk ImpactWhat is at stake if the risk occurs. This is commonly, but not always, measured in dollars.
Risk Management PlanThe document, part of the project or program management plan, used to describe the manner in which risk management activities will be framed and executed
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Risk MitigationA risk response strategy that involves the reduction of the threat or the probability that the risk will occur
Risk OwnerThe person responsible for the monitoring of a risk and for the determination and implementation of an appropriate risk response strategy.
Risk ProbabilityThe chance that a risk will occur during the project.
Risk RegisterA document that lists each risk along with the results of its analysis and risk response planning
Risk ReportA project document that establishes the progressive development of risk management processes throughout the project, summarizes individual project risk information, and delineates the degree of overall project risk.
Risk ReviewA meeting used to examine and document the effectiveness of risk responses in relation to identified, individual project risks and to overall project risk.
Risk SharingA risk responses strategy that allocates ownership of an opportunity from the project team to a third party who is best able to capture the benefits of that opportunity.
Risk ThresholdThe degree of risk exposure that defines the upper limit of risk acceptance; risks whose level exceed the threshold must be addressed.
Risk ToleranceThe level of risk that an individual or organization is willing to permit; also known as risk utility
Risk TransferenceA risk response strategy that involves shifting the impact of a threat, as well as accountability for the response, to a third party
Risk WorkshopA special meeting to identify project risks. It can include team members and any relevant stakeholders.
Risk-Adjusted BacklogA backlog that can include product work to address any related threats and opportunities.
Risk-aversePossessing a low desire or tolerance for risk
Risk-neutralA middle ground between the risk taken and the benefit received
Secondary RiskA risk that results from a risk response implementation
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Sensitivity Analysis A quantitative risk analysis and modeling technique used to identify those risks that have the greatest effect on the project
ShareA risk response strategy that involves the risk or opportunity being divided across multiple parties.
Source-Based Risk ClassificationAn approach to analyze risks based on their source.
Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis A risk analysis technique that considers the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of the project to facilitate a more knowledgeable risk management analysis
Threat A risk whose occurrence will result in a negative impact to the project
TransferA risk response strategy for negative risks or threats that assigns the risks to a third party.
Trigger Condition An indicator that a risk event could occur
UncertaintyUnknowns associated with tasks, issues, direction, or solutions associated with a project or product.
Uncertainty DomainThe performance domain associated with project risk and uncertainty.
Workaround A response to a risk that was unplanned or that had an ineffective planned response
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