Project risk analysis

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What is Tamara?

Tamara is a project risk analysis software tool unique in its capabilities for analyzing risk, its speed and ease of use. It provides an integrated cost and schedule risk analysis of your project by importing a project plan from either Primavera P6 or Microsoft Project, adding uncertainty and risks to that plan, and then running a Monte Carlo simulation to show the probability distributions of costs and milestone dates and their inter-relationships.

There are many features of Tamara that make it uniquely powerful for understanding your project’s risks:

  • it offers a very wide range of features for adding uncertainty and risk events so that you can precisely describe how a risk may affect your project;
  • it incorporates correlation between task durations and risk events in a unique way that makes it now practical and intuitive to include correlation even for complex projects;
  • it can handle very large project plans – 50,000 tasks or more;
  • it is extremely fast – on a normal PC, Tamara takes a couple of seconds to simulate 5,000 samples on a project plan of 1,000 tasks, for example; it has an internal risk register but can also be connected to a suitable external risk register (like Pelican); the results can be exported to ModelRisk in a special SID format that allows a user to build, for example, a full financial model of the project; and it provides a very feature-rich reporting system that allows you to build custom reports and print updates in a matter of seconds.
  • it has an internal risk register but can also be connected to a suitable external risk register; the results can be exported to ModelRisk in a special SID format that allows a user to build, for example, a full financial model of the project; and it provides a very feature-rich reporting system that allows you to build custom reports and print updates in a matter of seconds.

How Tamara works

To begin, the user imports a Primavera P6 or Microsoft Project model into Tamara. During import, Tamara performs a health check on the model, providing a set of scores on its quality and highlighting any specific issues. Uncertainty about the time and cost of completing each task is then added by considering uncertainty in the task scope and the rate of progress in achieving the work. Risk events can also be added that would delay a task, the whole project, part of a project, require extra work to be done, etc. Tamara stores all this information with a copy of the original project plan in a special file format. No changes are made to the original P6 or Project file, but when the project plan is updated, Tamara can update its own file with a single mouse click and adapt the risk and uncertainty information accordingly.

Clicking the results tab then displays a range of graphs and statistics of cost and time. Tamara simulates so fast there is no need for a ‘run simulation’ button. The user can then view distributions in histogram or cumulative form for the cost, duration, start or finish date of any project component. Tornado charts also show which factors are driving the uncertainty in those measures.

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Key features

Simulation speed

Tamara is the World’s fastest project risk analysis simulation tool. From the beginning of its development, the greatest possible simulation speed was a primary goal so that it became practical to run a risk analysis on very large models, relieving the project team of the necessity of having one model for risk analysis and another for project management.

Rich ability to model risk events and uncertainty

During the developing of Tamara, we worked closely with around a dozen project risk and planning experts. They challenged us with a large set of examples of risks that they were never able to adequately describe in other project risk tools, and we set about creating a product that met these challenges yet remained easy to use.

Solving the correlation problem

A key reason that projects fail to meet their deadline and budget goals, even when a project risk analysis has been performed, is 'correlation', a statistical term that can be summarized as 'when things go wrong in one place, they are more likely to go wrong in other places too'. Historically, 'correlation' has been modeled using correlation matrices, which are both impractical to use for schedules larger than twenty or so tasks, and very unintuitive – which is why correlation has been largely ignored in project risk analysis with the result that the riskiness of projects were grossly underestimated. Tamara fixes that.

Fast, beautifully presented reports

Project management teams often have to produce updated reports very regularly, or at very short notice, which can be very time-consuming, stressful and produce errors. Tamara has a unique report template feature that allows the user to design several reports (for example, an executive summary, a senior management report, and a detailed report for the project manager – click the links for examples) for a project. These reports can then be generated in PDF form in a process that takes perhaps a minute from updating the schedule to sending the reports out.

More features

  • World’s fastest simulation engine
  • Can handle really huge project plans
  • Imports from MS Project and Primavera
  • Integrated cost and schedule risk analysis
  • Richest capability for modeling risk and uncertainty
    • Additional work risk
    • Site shutdown risk
    • Repeatable, in/dependent risk events
    • Replicated risk events
    • Calendar risks
    • Expense uncertainty
    • Cost rate uncertainty
    • Scope uncertainty
    • Productivity risk
  • One click updating against the baseline schedule
  • Suitability testing and scoring for imported schedules
  • Intuitive and easy to use correlation method (no correlation coefficients)
  • Fast uncertainty assignment using grouping and WBS
  • Widest range of graphical reports
  • Advanced, customizable sensitivity analysis
  • Sophisticated tools for creating tailored reports
  • Report templates for instant updates
  • Ability to link to ModelRisk to build financial risk analysis of project
  • Random sampling Gantt chart showing critical path
  • Stochastic Gantt chart showing start and finish ranges
  • In-depth help file and example models with full explanations
  • Control of number of CPUs used, number of samples and generator seed

Highlight feature: Simulation speed

We designed Tamara to be able to work with schedules of essentially any size. It has been tested on real project plans of up to 34,000 tasks. To put that into perspective, a Gantt chart printout of such a schedule would be as tall as a 100-storey building! But being able to load such a huge schedule isn’t enough – it also has to run a simulation in a reasonable time. So the Tamara simulation engine is fast – insanely fast! So fast, that for most schedules (50-300 or so tasks), the results appear in a fraction of a second. Even for a 34,000 task project it returns the results of 5,000 samples in less than ten minutes. Tamara is, for example, 800 times faster than @RISK for Project. Again, to give that number some perspective, a thoroughbred racing horse is about 800 times faster than a slug. If your time is valuable, or if you ever need an update straight away, then Tamara will be a joy and a relief to work with.

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