Reserve analysis

Duration estimates may include contingency reserves, sometimes referred to as time reserves or buffers, into the project schedule to account for schedule uncertainty. Contingency reserves are the estimated duration within the schedule baseline, which is allocated for identified risks that are accepted and for which contingent or mitigation responses are developed. Contingency reserves are associated with the “known-unknowns,” which may be estimated to account for this unknown amount of rework. The contingency reserve may be a percentage of the estimated activity duration, a fixed number of work periods, or may be developed by using quantitative analysis methods such as Monte Carlo simulation. Contingency reserves may be separated from the individual activities and aggregated into buffers. As more precise information about the project becomes available, the contingency reserve may be used, reduced, or eliminated. Contingency should be clearly identified in schedule documentation. Estimates may also be produced for the amount of management reserve of time for the project. Management reserves are a specified amount of the project duration withheld for management control purposes and are reserved for unforeseen work that is within scope of the project. Management reserves are intended to address the “unknown-unknowns” that can affect a project. Management reserve is not included in the schedule baseline, but it is part of the overall project duration requirements. Depending on contract terms, use of management reserves may require a change to the schedule baseline.
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