Sunday, May 20, 2018    
Project Risk Game played as a Group Assignment

Explain that the group play is expected to take approximately 90 minutes. Either allow time in class for the group activity or assign the groups to schedule a time out of class to do the activity.


If this is a college course, it is recommended that you do include the Earned Value activity in the assignment.


Play a demo round of the game in the classroom to help familiarize the students with the game. Answer their questions prior to their going out without you to play the game. As an option, you can provide the students with the Successful Projects contact information and we will gladly answer any questions they may have about playing the game if they want to call us while they are working with their groups.

  • Have the groups report back on their learning and turn in their Status Pad notes and Earned Value sheet.
  • Optionally, have the groups report on the definition of the steps they landed on in the game play.
  • Points or grades may be assessed based upon the team summary and potentially a quiz based on the learning activities.


Quiz Questions for the Basic Game Play


  1. What are the four negative risk strategies? (Mitigate, Avoid, Transfer, and Accept)
  2. What are the four positive risk strategies? (Enhance, Exploit, Share, and Accept)
  3. What is the difference between a risk and an issue? (Issues have already occured. Risks have not yet occurred.)
  4. What are the 4 process phases that follow Initiating? (Planning, Executing, Control & Monitoring, and Closing)
  5. What is another word for a positive risk? (Opportunity)
  6. Which process phase is the most expensive in the Project Risk game, and typically the most expensive also in real projects? (Execution)
  7. In 2-3 sentences, explain why it pays to identify triggers. (Identifying triggers allows the project team to spot the early indicators that the risk event is starting to occur and take further risk reduction actions, such as early implementation of a Plan B.)
  8. The impact score normally comes from a formula of "the assessed project impact" should the risk times what other factor?  (Probability)
  9. Can professional project management guarantee that a project will be completed successfully? (No. Although it greatly increases the probability, luck and external environmental factors can still cause a project to fail.)
  10. Which project game steps is useful in risk identification because it permits a systemic evaluation of the work? (WBS. A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a tool used to define and group a project's discrete work elements (or tasks) in a way that helps organize and define the total work scope of the project. A work breakdown structure element may be a product, data, a service, or any combination. A WBS also provides the necessary framework for detailed cost estimating and control along with providing guidance for schedule development and control. Additionally the WBS is a dynamic tool and can be revised and updated as needed by the project manager.)


  1. Describe the concept of secondary risks and give and example from the game and real life. (Secondary risks are new risks that come into play caused by the actions of our risk management. For example in the game the cost of avoiding a risk may deplete our chip reserve and make us more vulnerable to lose. For example in a real project involving the installation of safety equipment on a new product, the new safety mechanism may itself fail and need replacement or incur problems of its own.)
  2. You are the project manager for an office building and the sponsor has selected a complicated security system that few people in the world have worked with. Your project team has worked with many other security systems in the past. But this one makes you very concerned about unknown problems and potential impact to the cost and schedule. Describe how each of the four negative risk strategies could be used to address this particular type of risk.  (Mitigate could include interviewing experts or getting training. Avoid would mean replacing this specific security system with another one that your team has experience with. Transfer could include hiring out this portion of the project to a vendor with this expertise. And accept would be to take your chances with having your team try it.)
  3. In general do the teams that start out the fastest  (or that are leading in the 6th project reporting period) win  the game in the end? What does your answer teach you in regards to real projects?
Quiz Questions for the Earned Value Activity


  1. On the earned value line chart the planned value line comes from the expected project budget and schedule. What are the other two lines that you fill in through the project reporting periods? (Actual cost and Earned Value)
  2. What does SPI stand for? (Schedule Performance Index)
  3. What does CPI stand for? (Cost Performance Index)
  4. Can your Earned Value line ever decrease (be a lower point in one period compared to the project's previous period), and if so what would that mean? (Yes, in the game it would mean that we have moved backwards on the roadmap. In a real project it would mean that rework was required.)


  1. What is the formula for CPI? (EV/AC)
  2. What is the formula for SPI? (EV/PV)
What are the Learning Outcomes?
  1. How to perform project management in a dynamic and changing scenario, including outside influences, instead of in a static environment.
  2. To be proactive in risk management.
  3. How to negotiate project decisions amongst team members.
  4. To be able to remember and use all of the negative risk strategies (mitigate, avoid, transfer, and accept)
  5. To be able to remember and use all of the opportunities strategies (exploit, enhance, share, and accept)
  6. To value, identify and utilize risk triggers.
  7. To be sensitized to the secondary risks caused by implementing initial strategies.
  8. To build discipline in the risk communication process.
  9. To add discipline to the responsibilities of using project risk logs and project issues logs.
  10. Understand the project management teams responsibilities.
  11. To analyze impact scores and probabilities.
  12. To discuss risk tolerances.
  13. To appreciate strategies that may exist external to the project team (rewarding creative problem solving)

Optionally When You Use the Earned Value Sheet

  • To learn about Earned Value (EV) project reporting
  • To learn EV terminology

Optionally When You Use the Write-On Risk Cards

  • Better preparedness for risk occurance combinations
  • Team building based around your real project

Optionally When you Use the Companion Workbook

  • Be able to define each of the project management steps.
  • How to create a real project management plan.
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