Patrick Engineering, a nationwide U.S. engineering, design, and project management firm, provides independent cost estimating, scheduling, and risk analysis services for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). Given the uncertainty of cost and schedule duration estimates, the best way to display them is with probability distributions. Patrick Engineering uses @RISK to assess cost and schedule contingency needs based on project or program risks.
Patrick worked on the Downtown Crossing Vertical Upgrade project recently, part of the MBTA’s program to upgrade elevators and meet accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The first step for the project was risk identification. “To do this, you need to work collaboratively with the client, with the designers, with the project management team, with anyone who will have insight into the project – you want them all involved,” explains Kim Kozak, Sr. Project Manager for Patrick Engineering. The full team for the Downtown Crossing station project included six organizations and approximately 20 team members.
From here, Patrick Engineering holds a Quantitative Risk Workshop with all the players. “We try to get people thinking, to encourage discussion, as even a small detail could lead to a giant risk,” said Kozak. “Similar to the situation with the Titanic – what seems like a minor detail could be enough to sink the entire ship.”
“The final results of Palisade’s @RISK models help us, and our clients, understand where projects could go – not where they will go,” explained Kozak. “And we know that if a risk does occur, we’re well prepared as we’ve already identified it.”