At the final Gantt chart meeting, the project manager begins the explanation of risk analysis. To prepare the action items for the next meeting, each task leader must search out information that determines what the longest time requirement (worst case) for his or her task might be, and what the likelihood of the task overrunning at all might be. (Note that these are two separate items. The worst case may occur very rarely perhaps less than 1 percent of the time a task of this type is undertaken. The likelihood of the task overrunning at all was initially considered when the task times were estimated. It could be up to 40 percent.) The project leader asks team members to reconsider these estimates, state them in terms of percent likelihood of overrun, and confirm or correct them. There is no set number for them to shoot for; they just need to report as accurately as they can on what they determine is realistic. If, upon review, the overrun likelihood runs as high as 30 or even 40 percent, the project manager and the team need to know this now. (Originally, project leaders were asked for "most of the time" task time estimates, and they were asked to considered the probability estimated, not statistical that tasks would overrun, expressing it in a percentage. They are now asked to revisit these considerations. The likelihood of overrun is the difference between the most-of-the-time probability and 100 percent).
Another part of the action items to be prepared for the next meeting is to ask task leaders to consider where there are risks and what they might do to mitigate their impacts. Examples are adding task team members, working overtime, outsourcing task elements, bringing in experts, and authorizing special payments for parts or services to get early delivery. Discussing these risks and their impacts helps the task leader to be prepared to reduce and manage risks if he or she sees task delays creeping into the task. Risk Analysis is explained later in Chapters 8 and 9.
The risk analysis used in IPM plays a very significant role in supporting manager and team confidence that they can finish to specifications, and be on time and within budget. When task leaders learn about the process for the first time, it will need some detailed explanation. Unless the project team is made up of members who are familiar with IPM risk analysis and risk management, it is advisable for the project manager to schedule a special discussion meeting as the next meeting. This meeting the first in the risk analysis sequence should be scheduled as soon as possible after the wrap-up Gantt chart meeting. Note that the task leaders are not required to complete their assigned risk analysis actions for this meeting. In addition, this first risk analysis meeting will not take place before the project manager has completed and distributed the critical path chart.