PMP Certification: Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis (based on PMBOK® Guide, 6th Edition)


  • WHY Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis Is Important. The Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis process helps a project manager to focus on the right risks so that the right resources can be canalized in the right risk areas. Moreover, it is fast and relatively easy to put in place.
  • WHEN Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis Is Executed. The project team repeats qualitative risk analysis iteratively as soon as it detects new risks, throughout the entire life of the project.
  • HOW Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis Operates.
pmp 2018 perform qualitative risk analysis pmbok guide 6th edition tipsographic main

Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis 101

What Does Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis Involve and When Do You Perform It in a Project Life Cycle?


  • WHAT Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis Is. Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis implies taking all identified risks from the risk register and working  together as a project team in order to:
    • determine probability and impact of the risks
    • prioritize and rank the risks, based on the previous probability and impact analysis.
  • WHY Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis Is Important. The Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis process helps a project manager to focus on the right risks so that the right resources can be canalized in the right risk areas. Moreover, it is fast and relatively easy to put in place.
  • WHEN Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis Is Executed. The project team repeats qualitative risk analysis iteratively as soon as it detects new risks, throughout the entire life of the project.
  • HOW Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis Operates.
InputsTools and techniquesOutputs
  1. Project management plan
    • Risk management plan
  2. Project documents
    • Assumption log
    • Risk register
    • Stakeholder register
  3. Enterprise environmental factors
  4. Organizational process assets
  1. Expert judgment
  2. Data gathering
    • Interviews
  3. Data analysis
    • Risk data quality assessment
    • Risk probability and impact assessment
    • Assessment of other risk parameters
  4. Interpersonal and team skills
    • Facilitation
  5. Risk categorization
  6. Data representation
    • Probability and impact matrix
    • Hierarchical charts
  7. Meetings
  1. Project documents updates
    • Assumption log
    • Issue log
    • Risk register
    • Risk report

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 6th ed., Chapter 11, section 11.3, p. 419.

Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis Key Terms

What Are the Key Terms to Fully Understand the Process of Performing Qualitative Risk Analysis?


  • Probability and Impact Matrix. A graphical means of displaying the overall risk rating for every risk in a standardized manner.
  • Risk Categorization. A technique for grouping risks by identified categories, for easy monitoring and reporting.
  • Risk Data Quality Assessment. A technique for PMP examining the quality and certainty of data being used in risk analysis. Poor quality of information leads to poor quality of assessment.
  • Risk Probability and Impact Assessment. A tool for assessing the likelihood that the identified risks will occur and the amount of pain – or gain – they pose to the project objectives.
  • Risk Urgency Assessment. A technique for determining how soon the potential risk events might occur, to focus on those risks that are likely to occur in the short term over those that will occur at a further point in time.
  • Watch List of Low Priority Risks. A list of risks with low probability and impact that a project manager wants to monitor as the project goes on.

Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis Tips

pmp certification 2018 rapid review free online training tipsographic (2)

What Are the Best Tips to Answer Correctly the PMP Certification Exam Questions on Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis Process?


  • Categorizing Risk by Root Cause Vs. by Effects. It is recommended to group identified risks by root cause instead of risks effects.
  • Delphi Technique Vs. Brainstorming. Delphi technique asks experts – team members or not – to give their opinion anonymously, and then the project manager evaluates those opinions. Brainstorming is project manager and project team in a room, thinking about the risks.
  • Priority Vs. Urgency. Priority tells you how important a risk is, while urgency tells you when you need to deal with it.
  • Probability and Impact Values. Defined during the Plan Risk Management process and documented in the risk management plan.
  • Qualitative Risk Analysis Subjectivity. Qualitative Risk Analysis is based on subjective evaluation of the risks included in the risk register.
  • Standard Risk Rating System. In light of the subjective nature of Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis, organizations need a standard risk rating system to promote a common understanding of what each risk rating means and replicate the risk rating process between projects.
  • Urgent Risks. In case of urgent risks, a project manager may skip quantitative risk analysis and move them straight into risk response planning.

Click here for a detailed analysis of each project management process group and knowledge area.

SOURCES: Project Management Institute (2017). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). 6th ed. Newtown Square: Project Management Institute.

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