How to Quickly Calculate Your Project’s Risks for Success

Assessing Risk

Countless studies over the last four decades point to similar findings: Approximately 50% of projects you undertake will be late and/or over budget, and approximately 25% will be cancelled. The success of a project depends on people, not on technology or tools. It crosses all industries, from manufacturing to financial services.

The weighted scoring model below is intended to help you perform a quick risk assessment, to determine the probability of success on a current or new project.

How To Use the Weighted Scoring Model for Project Assessment

Answer the questions with 1 for “Yes,” and 0 for “No.” Each question is assigned a “success weight,” which you will use to calculate your percentage for predicted success.

Any result less than 75% suggests that you could be headed for trouble unless you have an action plan to change key “No” answers to “Yes.” You can add your own critical success questions that apply to your project. Be sure to add a corresponding success weight and recalculate.

Weighted Scoring Model for Project Assessment

Figure 1: Weighted Scoring Model for Project Assessment


Now we can take the above model and expand it to look at different weighted scores for multiple projects. Figure 2 shows the comparisons of three new project requests. Most organizations have many new project requests, and not enough money, time, equipment, or resources available to implement all of them. For this reason, they need a consistent selection process to pick the right projects. In the below example, Project 2 would be the obvious choice for selection, because it has the highest weighted score.

Assessment for Three New Project Requests

Figure 2: Assessment for Three New Project Requests

Now let’s look at another possible scenario in Figure 2. Projects 1 and 2 are new requests, and Project 3 is a current project that is 30% completed. If Project 2, with the highest weighted score, adds more value in faster time, then Project 3 could be put on “hold” to be restarted later, or eventually dropped.


A weighted scoring model is a helpful systematic process for selecting projects that have a high chance of being successful. The Weighted Scoring Model for Project Assessment in Figure 1 will need to be periodically reviewed for possible updates over time, to adjust project criteria and the associated success weights.

Do you use a weighted scoring model to assess project success, or will you experiment with ours? Your thoughts in the comment section below are appreciated.

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Written by Ronald Smith

Ronald Smith has over four decades of experience as Senior PM/Program Manager. He retired from IBM having written four books and over four dozen articles (for example, PMI’s PM Network magazine and MPUG) on project management, and the systems development life cycle (SDLC). He’s been a member of PMI since 1998 and evaluates articles submitted to PMI’s Knowledge Shelf Library for potential publication.
From 2011 – 2017, Ronald had been an Adjunct Professor for a Master of Science in Technology and taught PM courses at the University of Houston’s College of Technology. Teaching from his own book, Project Management Tools and Techniques – A Practical Guide, Ronald offers a perspective on project management that reflects his many years of experience. Lastly in the Houston area, he has started up two Toastmasters clubs and does voluntary work at various food banks.

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