and Tim Lister's recommended category breakout as explained in their book Waltzing with Bears": Avoid, Mitigate, Contain, or Evade . Figure 2 shows an example of risks being managed using these categories, which are displayed on a whiteboard. The pink Post-its indicate an identified risk, and the smaller, yellow Post-its indicate some action being taken to mitigate or contain that risk.
Risk Monitoring and Controlling
Risk audits, variance/trend analysis, and technical performance measurements are conducted at the end of each agile iteration as part of the iteration review meeting. This meeting provides a forum for the team to review the burndown chart, team velocity, and any other types of metrics the team may be noting. Risk reassessment occurs during the agile iteration retrospective meeting, where previous risks or concerns are revisited as part of determining changes that need to be made going forward. And finally, risks are monitored on a daily basis by the use of highly visible information radiators, such as task boards and burndown charts, which show the current status (see Figure 3 for an example of this organic risk-monitoring tool). Daily stand-up meetings contribute to the constant monitoring process by exposing potential risk triggers and new obstacles.
The team owns risk management in agile projects. The agile project manager facilitates the process and makes the results visible--whiteboards and flipcharts for collocated teams or in an online information-sharing tool for geographically dispersed teams. Risks are identified in all planning meetings: daily stand-ups, iteration planning meetings, and release planning meetings. Risks are then analyzed and addressed in these same iteration and release planning meetings, with the focus being on qualitative analysis rather than quantitative. Risks are subsequently monitored by the use of high-visibility information radiators, daily stand-ups, and iteration reviews and retrospectives. Risk management in an agile environment is incredibly successful, due to the team's involvement and the agile framework of iterative development that lends itself to active responses to risks and the continuous identification.
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