Project Management

Disciplined Agile and The Standard for Risk Management

Mike Griffiths is an experienced project manager, author and consultant who works for PMI as a subject matter expert. Before joining PMI, Mike consulted and managed innovation and technology projects throughout Europe, North and South America for 30+ years. He was co-lead for the PMBOK Guideā€”Seventh Edition, lead for the Agile Practice Guide, and contributor to the PMI-ACP and PMP exam content outlines. Outside of PMI, Mike maintains the websites about leading teams and, which teaches project management for visual learners.

Initially, there may not seem like much overlap between Disciplined Agile (DA) and the PMI Standard for Risk Management in Portfolios, Programs, and Projects. After all, DA promotes lightweight, agile-inspired guidance, and risk management information can be prescriptive and documentation-heavy. Yet, they are surprisingly aligned and compatible.

The Switch to Principles
PMI has been transitioning standards from process-driven guides with lots of detailed how-to information to principle-based documents that do not get into the implementation specifics. The Standard for Risk Management in Portfolios, Programs, and Projects (the Standard) is a document that has been through this transition. Its guidance and suggestions apply equally well to predictive and adaptive approaches.

Themes and Principles
The Standard contains a set of themes and principles that map well to DA thinking. A subset of these is paraphrased and expanded on below:


1. Proactively implement preventive actions (typically lower cost) instead of reactions to issues (typically higher cost): It is usually preferable and cheaper to proactively tackle risks early than deal with the consequences of them occurring and turning into issues. This maps well to the DA process goals of Address Risk and Prove Architecture Early.

When the team identifies and actively addresses risks through proof of …

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