Almost all software projects are exposed to certain risks such as Requirements Churn, Incorrect Estimates and Staff Turnover (Waltzing with Bears: Managing Risk on Software Projects - Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister). Agile development helps mitigate these risks, but what about other risks that threaten the success of our projects?
In this hands-on workshop we will explore what we mean by 'Risk' and use techniques to help us discover risks in projects.
Timeline and Duration
This workshop is designed to last 1 hour with a high degree of participation by attendees throughout the session. It is structured in the following way:
- Discussion about Risk and what it means in a software development environment: 15 mins
- Discussion on reasons why Risk is hard to identify: 5 mins
- Explanation of a specific brainstorming technique to find risk: 5 mins
- Actual brainstorming session where participants get to use this technique: 30 mins
- Short discussion into any insights we learnt during the workshop: 5 mins
A Process for Risk Discovery
The technique used for risk discovery is one outlined in the book Walzting With Bears (Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister). It is a stepped process which uses ploys to aid the participant to see things he may oherwise miss. The participants first brainstorm on possible Catastrophic Outcomes of a project then think of Scenarios that can lead to these outcomes. Finally one or more Root Causes are identified for each scenario - these become our risks.
Audience and Benefits
In this workshop, the attendees will learn and experience a technique for risk identification as well as a general appriciation and understanding of Risk Management.
The workshop can be attended by anyone interested in improving the way software projects are run through the practice of risk management. While general knowledge about software development is required, no specialized knowledge in project management, programming or people management is needed.
All equipment needed such as pens and post-it notes will be supplied by workshop organiser.
About James Pullicino
James Pullicino is a software project manager with a special interest in managing risk. He has over ten years experience in the field of software development and has spent the last four years managing projects at the BBC, where he currently works.