Identify risks, T&T

 from  PMP practice makes perfect


The Identify Risks process uses several tools and techniques. Which information gathering technique would be most appropriate if you need to work primarily with subject matter experts to identify the project risks?

  1. Brainstorming
  2. Delphi technique
  3. Interviewing
  4. Root cause analysis





I picked C because of the mention of "subject matter expert" but the correct answer is B.

The PMPBOK says that brainstorming includes expert. Is there a difference between an expert and a subject matter expert? 




Brainstorming sessions generate ideas on potential project risks. Interviewing and root cause analysis can augment the list of project risks that were identified as part of the brainstorming process. Only the Delphi technique, however, helps achieve consensus when dealing with subject matter experts.

Reference: PMBOK® Guide, 4th Ed., pages 286–287

Weird one, I would have picked C, too.


A is correct option

if you are cchoosing c means gap is there

B certainly not

How is A the correct answer? You would brainstrom with your team members, not SMEs.

question key words - need to work with SMEs

Delphi ---- annomously not with

Interviewing - diect feedback from all organizational and experts too



My answer would be C. If I, as a project manager, were to primarily work with SME's, I would chose interviewing technique.

When do you go for SME's ? Typically when you would want specific set of answers pertaining to certain areas of the project. I can Brainstorm along with Team and other experts to chalk out the Internal, External and Management risks in the project. But when it comes to core domain where I would need some specific inputs/help from SME, I would rather prefer to interview them. It takes less time and addreses specific issue. Also from my experience I have seen SME's prefering not be part of Brainstorm since it takes lot of time, and also for the fact many risks are discussed which might not need SME's presence there.

Also the answer given by PMP practice somehow contradicts itself ... it says "interviews helps to Augment,,,,,,, " thatz exactly why you need SME's! they should be able to Augment, enhance, give more specific insight. And thatz why you would need to interview them !


Anand KL, PMP

Exactly my point. Why would you want to get an anonymous feedback from SMEs? You'll obviously try to interview them and get the core, subject matter knowledge.


Actually question is not giving full liberty to you to choose most appropriate technique, because question is posing a condition --- in this condition

  • not involving project participants, or certain stakeholders

  • involving only SMEs

  • is not involving -interviewing

  • is involving working with

  • is not saying taking feedbacks or ideas anonymously

  • is saying just working with

based on this single line input and its interpretation as above and in light of PMBOK definitions of Brainstorming, The Delphi and Interviewing , p286/287---- you decide at your level.

I am not compelling to any one not following other than this.

Mr.Pawar's analysis is more objective, while my analysis is subjective to my experience. I think from exam perspective its always good to be Objective.

When I cross verified, the Glossary of PMBOK gives defintion of BrainStorming as:

"A General Data gathering and creativity technique that can be used to identify risks, ideas, or solutions to issues by using a group of team members or Subject-matter experts".

However, given the situation I still stick to my explanation. Sometimes it might not be easy to align with PMBOK perspective as prejudice comes in the way, and this question is one such example ! :)


Anand KL, PMP