Project Management

Assumptions Analysis

PMI Charleston, SC Chapter +2

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) defines assumptions as a factor in the planning process that is considered true, real or certain without proof or demonstration. Assumptions analysis looks at these beliefs from the polarized perspective of validity and falsehood, analyzing the projected impact from both reference points to estimate the impact of the valid assumption—as well as the impact of an unverified assumption that later proves to be false.

The impact of validated and unverified assumptions is specifically captured within the project scope statement, which is an output of the Define Scope process in the Project Scope Management Knowledge Area. Project teams iteratively identify, document and validate assumptions throughout the projects lifecycle.

Assumptions analysis is a very effective planning tool that is inferred to be applied within many of the PMBOK® Guide processes, yet it appears only once within its tools and techniques category. It is found in the Identify Risks process, a process in the Project Risk Management Knowledge Area.

In the Identify Risks process, all known risks are assessed via assumptions analysis to ascertain their degree of inaccuracy, instability, inconsistency and incompleteness. The use of these factors of assumptions analysis improves the project team’s ability to determine an …

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"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."

- George Bernard Shaw