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Risk management for the Agile world


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Old-school risk management techniques don't help agile projects. They're just as flawed as waterfall-style Gantt charts that tell you what you'll be doing on a particular day three months hence. And yet if those risks aren't addressed the project will go wrong, despite all the great agile practices in the tech team.

If you're facing a project with a 'risk register', or if you're looking at projects with suspicious-looking business cases, your success is at stake.

Fortunately, in knowing agile you already have the tools you need to tackle this. This presentation will show you how.

Published in: Business
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Risk management for the Agile world

  1. 1. Risk management for the Agile world Nik Silver for Agile Cambridge 2015 @pigsaw
  2. 2. This workshop • What’s in it for me? • A more constructive approach to “risks” • Group exercises • From uncertainties to actions
  3. 3. What’s in it for me?
  4. 4. The risk register A bad thing that might happen
  5. 5. Categories of action Hardware will arrive too late Order hardware in good time
  6. 6. Categories of action Supplier insufficiently skilled Supplier has been selected via rigorous process
  7. 7. Categories of action Loss of intellectual property Contractual constraints
  8. 8. How to look at risks* more constructively * So-called “risks”
  9. 9. Two recent “risks” • Our boss might not like it • Our competitor releases in Germany first
  10. 10. 1. Flip it round • Risk… or opportunity? • Let’s be ready to exploit that • Let’s be open to doing better than planned
  11. 11. 1. Flip it round • Our boss might not like it – …or he might • Our competitor releases in Germany first – …or we might
  12. 12. 2. Find the variability • Look past the “risk event” • There are gradations of badness… and goodness
  13. 13. 2. Find the variability • Our boss might not like it – …or he might slightly dislike it – …and he may change his mind next week • Our competitor releases in Germany first – …by one year, three months, 24 hours…?
  14. 14. 3. Zoom out • It’s not a single, isolated thing • It’s got fuzzy edges • Zoom out to see the larger whole
  15. 15. 3. Zoom out • The unhappy boss – Isn’t this really about… stakeholder engagement? • Our competitor releases in Germany first – What about features, pricing, marketing…? – What about the next time? – Isn’t this really about… time to market?
  16. 16. Warm-up exercise Let’s rethink some so- called risks…
  17. 17. Warm-up exercise “Failure of client to pay fees” US engineering company wants to provide water treatment facilities in China
  18. 18. Warm-up exercise “Regulators decide to regulate VCs but the chosen regulatory approach fails” European Banking Authority document on governance and regulation of virtual currencies (VCs).
  19. 19. Warm-up exercise “The policy design for some aspects of the future organisation is incomplete. [...] So risk that Bill proceeds on the basis of incomplete/flawed design” Leaked document on Andrew Lansley’s 2012 NHS reforms
  20. 20. Exercise • Look at the business case and risks • Turn each “risk” into an uncertainty – Flip it round – Find the variability – Zoom out. Isn’t this really about…?
  21. 21. From uncertainties to actions
  22. 22. The ideal: Change the way we operate • Change the process • Change the environment • Because that “risk” is part of a larger thing • This requires imagination
  23. 23. Changing the way we operate • The unhappy boss – Continuous stakeholder engagement • Our competitor releases in Germany first – Improve time to market, consistently • Customer who might not pay on time – Incentivise early (or advance) payment
  24. 24. Zooming out, finding themes
  25. 25. Summary • “A risk”  Uncertainty • Zoom out • Handle by changing the process • Where next: – Matthew Leitch – Intelligent Internal Control and Risk Management – @pigsaw