Uncertainty in infrastructure projects, is related to the context in which we are operating and the assumptions we make about the future.


Context is important because it can provide the:

  • objectives that may be affected by uncertainty
  • scale of the change – is it a standalone change, or part of a much larger programme of works – this will affect which process is used to manage the uncertainty
  • complexity of the change – this too can affect the process used to manage uncertainty
  • extent of information required by Decision Makers – this will affect the level and type of analysis used to assess the risk exposure


Assumptions are everywhere, we often replace a lack of knowledge with something that we believe to be a fact or a possibility.

It is important to understand that there are 2 main types of assumptions:

  • Explicit – those we make consciously
  • Implicit – those we are not aware we are making

Assumptions are an important source of risks and drive the context in which risks are assessed, and ultimately whether the risk is a threat or an opportunity.

For example, if we have assumed that a particular event, that has potential to impact project objectives, will (or will not) happen, when the occurrence of that event is different to the assumption, it can represent a risk to the project.

We make assumptions without realising. Sometimes explicit assumptions are built on a raft of unconsciously made implicit assumptions, representing hidden risks to the project.

© 2021 Robinson Consultants Ltd