Agile Risk Management: Harnessing the Team

Mike Griffiths is a consultant and trainer who help organizations improve performance through shared leadership, agility and (un)common sense. He maintains the blog LeadingAnswers.com.

Last month we looked at how agile methods provide multiple opportunities for embracing proactive risk management. The prioritized backlog, short iterations, frequent inspections and adaptation of process map well to tackling risks early and checking on the effectiveness of our risk management approach.

We want to overcome many of the “correct but not sufficient” aspects of risk management seen too often on projects:

  • Poor engagement – dry, boring, academic, done by PM, does not drive enough change
  • Done once – typically near the start, when we know the least about the project
  • Not revisited enough – often “parked” off to one side and not reviewed again
  • Not integrated into project lifecycle – poor tools for task integration
  • Not engaging, poor visibility – few stakeholders regularly review the project risks

This month’s article extends risk management beyond the project manager role and introduces the benefits of making it more of a collaborative team exercise. (Next month we will walk through the team risk games one by one.)

First of all, why collaborative team games? Just as techniques like Planning Poker and Iteration Planning effectively make estimation and scheduling a team activity and gain the technical insights of engaging people closer to the work, so too do …

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"Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so."

- Douglas Adams

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