Handling deep uncertainty in project context analysis: methods and applications


Anton Talantsev, DSV


Ljusk Ola Eriksson, SLU

Main Supervisor:

Aron Larsson, DSV


David Sundgren, DSV



The long-term success or failure of a complex project is largely shaped by its external context. Therefore, assessment of factors influencing fulfilment of long-term outcomes is vital for better project planning.

However, the context of multiple project domains, such as competitive business markets, public policy, healthcare systems, is characterised by deep uncertainty, i.e., it is usually a complex, dynamic, uncertain and multi-stakeholder environment. These characteristics make formalised project assessment challenging.

This thesis adopts approaches within systems, decision and risk analysis to design novel methods facilitating project context assessment. The suggested methods are probed and evaluated in case-studies. These studies revealed that no single tool was capable of comprehensive assessment since context is a multi-faceted concept. Instead, a set of specialised but complementary tools is required to adequately represent and evaluate both the different aspects of the context and the various levels of uncertainty associated with the use-case.