Rigor Test Calculator

Rigor Testing is the means by which organizations, when planning an initiative, ensure they identify critical risks and interdependencies, assign leading KPIs for the financial and operational impact of the initiative, and link these to underlying milestones and objectives.

The formal Rigor Test consists of a 30-60 minute discussion, around 22 questions, among key stakeholders— the initiative sponsor, Roadmap owner (the person accountable for implementing the roadmap), two or three of his or her key team members, the program management office, and often representatives from finance, HR, and IT. The discussion consists of a set of seemingly obvious questions, clustered into three groups:

  • Is the Roadmap clearly defined, logically structured, and readily implementable?
  • Have we clearly identified the target impacts, their sources, timing, and leading indicators?
  • Are critical interdependencies, risks and concerns clearly identified and addressed?

Essentially, the Rigor Test significantly strengthens communication and subjects the Roadmap to more upfront scrutiny. It’s a systematic way to make sure the organization is looking at all aspects of a plan and anticipating how it will flag potential issues.

This website has simplified the formal Rigor Test into 12 key questions to assess your Roadmap. These questions will provide your initiative plan with a strong approximation of success. To Rigor Test your initiative, please use the assessment below. (Note: the outcome of a Rigor Test factors in both the complexity of the Roadmap and the answers for each of the 12 statements.)

  • Little to no complexity in initiative delivery
  • Organization has successfully delivered initiatives with similar scope in the past
  • Initiative will be a challenge to implement
  • Organization has tackled initiatives with similar scope in the past with varying degrees of success
  • Initiative has multiple interfaces to manage and potentially difficult risks to navigate during implementation
  • Initiative is key value driver for change program (e.g. initiative is part of the 20% of the portfolio that will deliver 80% of program value)
  • Organization has never tackled an initiative with similar scope before, or has done so and not succeeded
Rigor Test

Part I: Implementable plan

Roadmap is clearly defined, logically structured, and readily implementable Strongly Disagree
Strongly Agree
1 There is a clear owner and sponsor for the Roadmap. The ownership structure ties logically to the content of the project plan.
2 The project plan features ~25 key milestones with logical timing and affording sufficient review of progress.
3 The milestones and impacts are tangible enough to describe how the project plan's objectives will be achieved.
4 The project plan's objective/target clearly contributes to delivering against the overall program objectives
5 The Roadmap addresses building of new skills and capabilities (if needed)

Part II: Quantified impacts

Impacts, their sources, timing, and leading indicators are clearly identified 1 2 3 4 5 N/A
6 The overall Roadmap target/objective is disaggregated into measurable financial and/or operational impacts, and quantified along milestone dates
7 The timing of impacts is consistent with the timing of milestones with which they are associated.
8 Operationally meaningful KPIs  act as lead indicators of subsequent financial impact delivery. Do they test for significant business case assumptions?

Part III: Interdependencies and risks addressed

Interdependencies and other risks/issues are identified and clearly addressed 1 2 3 4 5 N/A
9 A senior leader from another part of the organization is able to read the project plan and clearly understand it and where the major known risks and interdependencies are.
10 The most important risks and interdependencies are exposed and tested for in early milestones with specific, quantified lead indicators attached.
11 For important interdependencies, an explicit conversation with the supplier group has taken place and lead indicators have been assigned to track confidence in delivery of the interdependency
12 The DICE® assessment predicts a favorable outcome for the project
Rigor Test Result

Rigor Test Chart
Very Good
Ways to improve your Rigor Test assessment

Please see below for a few recommendations for addressing the risks in your Roadmap, based on your lowest scores.