Agile Risk Management


This category contains topics associated with risk management in an Agile environment.  There is a common stereotype that an Agile project is totally unplanned and some people may see Agile as completely free-wheeling and unmanaged where there is no concern for risks, but that is not correct.

Some level of management of risks is always important in an Agile environment and Agile actually provides an excellent platform for managing risks as they occur.  Because an Agile approach is inherently flexible and adaptive, it can be much easier to react to risks as they occur without extensive re-planning of the entire project.

In spite of the inherent ability to resolve risks quickly as they occur, Agile does require some planning for risks and choosing an appropriate level of management for risks in an Agile environment is an important skill.

The basic process for managing risks in an Agile environment is the same as any other environment; however, it may not be as rigid and structured.

Is Agile Risk Management an Oxymoron?

Some people might think that Agile Risk Management is an oxymoron:

  • There is a common stereotype that an Agile project is totally unplanned
  • So, why would you take a planned approach to Agile Risk Management if the whole project is unplanned?

There is always some level of planning in an Agile project even though the level of planning may be limited.  The gist of this is that you have to adapt the planning approach to the level of uncertainty in the project.  A similar thing is true regarding risk management:

  • There is no single approach to doing risk management and
  • It’s not a binary choice between zero risk management and a totally rigid and controlled approach to risk management.

You need to fit the risk management approach to the nature of the project:

  • For high risk projects where the customer is very sensitive to risk, it makes sense to take a planned approach to risk management
  • For lower risk projects , a more informal approach to risk management may be appropriate.

Related Articles

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