Prior to joining Sitecore as a Technical Evangelist, I worked as a consultant on many projects implementing Sitecore in various types of scenarios. The implementation is where things can really start to heat up!
The stakes are high. More than that, implementation projects can also be long, costly, and susceptible to error, even with the best partner. No implementation project is exactly like another, so there is always an element of the unknown as you undertake this new project. Also, just like the selection process, these projects are highly visible to the rest of the business. That means risks need to be identified early and addressed as soon as possible.
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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