For most small Agile projects, I haven’t needed to track risks as explicitly, since the standard agile structure with impediments identified daily tends to highlight immediate problem areas. However, for larger projects and for projects working within a more traditional client environment, tracking risk logs and project risk status are very common.
A tool I have been looking at recently is Mike Cohn’s Risk Burndown chart. It brings the same sort of visualization benefits that our standard agile reporting provides, but also allows for providing risk status on the project.
The chart on its own will not be enough in many cases. Most groups that want to track risk also need the details of the risks in order to follow up on them. The burndown chart on its own is great to give a current status, but we need to be ready with the data behind the chart in order to have the group follow up on the risks and mitigate them. The same article by Mike Cohn explains the concept of the Risk Census which drives the burndown chart, but also provides all the details the Scrum Master will need to explain the risks.
Article: Managing Risk on Agile Projects with the Risk Burndown Chart
Author: Mike Cohn
Date: April 8, 2010