Risk Management Assessment

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The Risk Management Assessment, created by Cutter Fellows Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister focuses on the five core risks common to all software projects:

  • Scope inflation
  • Innate schedule flaw
  • Personnel turnover
  • Conflict
  • Productivity variation,

plus the risks that are unique to the project being assessed.

A major component of the assessment is a facilitated risk discovery brainstorming session, which harnesses group dynamics to find ways around conventional thinking and to let fresh new thoughts emerge. By framing the questions explicitly in terms of a worst case; switching perspectives and allowing people to describe the best case; examining blame-free, blameworthy, and partial failures, and employing additional techniques, Mr. Lister is able to overcome the hesitation that prevents most people in most companies from articulating many risks they are aware of. Scenario building follows the brainstorming. Probabilities are attached to each scenario and root cause analysis is performed. The direct result of the assessment is a list of relevant key risks, plus an ongoing process for further discovery. The Risk Management Assessment is designed to finesse resistance and has proven repeatedly to be both an extremely effective assessment tool and a morale builder.

Tim Lister on Risk Management: