Thursday, May 29, 2008

Some highlights from Waltzing with Bears part 3

The "meat and potatoes" section of the book. Here we're getting into the details of how TDM and TRL recommended we carry out risk management. There's a lot in here, the majority of the book, and I won't be going through all of it - buy the book if you want it all.

Risk management is about learning to live with uncertainty and having some degree of quantification of this uncertainty. Rather than saying "We'll get there some day", say "There is zero percent chance by next month, but 50% in 3 months, 75% in 5 months". (Putting bounds around uncertainty made me think of having clearly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty, Douglas Adams did some serious damage in my formative years.)

"Yesterday's problem is today's risk" but what if I bothered to do a root cause analysis, and solve the problem once and for all. Ahhhh haha, this is IT there's very little chance of that happening, and greater than 75% chance of coming across the same problem again. (Note the great use of the percentage.)

Use the knowledge of projects in your organisation to work out what the risks will be, and what the chance of these risks occurring is, so don't just make up a number like 75% (damn!).

Calculate budget and schedule reserves for the risks in the project. Spend time to examine the risks and how you will deal with them, how you will know you need to deal with them, can you actually deal with them.

Have a formal risk discovery process. Make sure that talking about risk is acceptable, maybe even admirable. Don't do this once, make it a continuous process.

Finally deliver incrementally. WHAT! It was all leading up to this. The best way to keep you risk under control is to do bits of the project, rather than big bang, one pass, all at once delivery.

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