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records the major project risks, and plans to control them.
For each risk the plan should include:
- Mitigation plan
- Measures you will carry out now,
to reduce the likelihood and/or impact of the risk.
Alternatively, you can decide to accept the risk.
A sign you will monitor to determine if the risk is beginning to have an impact on the project.
- Contingency plan
What you will do if the risk does arise.
You can specify some general contingency plans.
In this case you only need to give a contingency plan
if you have a special one for the particular risk.
The severity of a risk is its likelihood multiplied by its impact.
Risks are classified as minor if they have low likelihood, negligible impact,
or medium likelihood and marginal impact.
TODO: You should update these lists regularly.
They should be reviewed by customers and developers from time to time.
General contingency plans
- Catastrophic risks
- If a catastrophic risk occurs we will make an
honest reassessment of the viability of the project and involve
the relevant project stakeholders.
- If a catastrophic risk occurs we will cancel
the project. We will take away our lessons learned and any
valuable project bi-products.
- We do not recognize any catastrophic risks.
If one occurs we will pretend everything is fine and hope that
none of the stakeholders notice.
- Risks that consume development resources.
- The project has a fixed deadline. The
requirements are prioritized. If we lose time, we will reduce
- The features specified are all essential
If we lose time, we will delay delivery.
- If we lose time, we will make time estimates
for the remaining features, and meet with the customers to
reconsider scope and delivery date.
- OTHER RISK TYPE
- OTHER CONTINGENCY PLAN
||Requirements are only partly known at project start.
Customers may not allocate sufficient resources to exploring requirements.
||Critical to Catastrophic
Requirements will be detailed first for the
top priority goals.
Track the rate at which requirements are discovered.
Contingency: request more customer effort.
||Stakeholders goals may conflict.
||Keep an explicit list of stakeholders goals.
The project manager will report progress to each declared goal.
||Communication problems in development team.
They are dispersed among several sites,
and have not worked together before.
||Use these tools to help communication.
The main indicator of miscommunication will be software defects
detected by our QA activity.
||Customer may accept delivery of the system
although it does not really meet their goals.
||Customers are asked to declare acceptance criteria as each release is planned.
||The total features requested may be beyond
what the development team can deliver in the time available.
||Assign levels of important to the use cases.
Make the first review of project scope after 12 months.
TODO: Review this list regularly,
to decide whether the likelihood or impact of a risk
has increased to make it a "major" risk.
||The development team might not be able to estimate the work time,
preventing customers from deciding priorities effectively.
The development team will gain experience in estimating the work,
and deliver the first estimates after 12 months.
We will compare estimated work to actual work.
||Some developers may leave the project before it is finished.
||Employing locations should provide support for continuing professional development.
The project manager will discuss career goals with each developer,
and try to assign tasks appropriately.
||The system as delivered may have low take-up because of a lack of confidence in its correctness.
||State of the art QA activity.
Contingency: stop development of new facilities until the quality of the existing code
||The system as delivered may have low take-up because of poor usability.
||We will have a UI style guide.
Most of the development of the front end will be in close contact with customers.
We will review usability later in the project.
||UI design lead
||The stated requirements might not match the customers' desires and ambitions for the system.
||Incremental delivery of versions will provide experience of using the system,
which will help the customers to identify the real requirements.
a developer saying "I think they mean ...",
a customer saying "They know what I mean".
Contingency: request customer review of requirements.
||After requirements have been documented and agreed,
development activities begin to based on them,
first design then implementation.
If the requirements change later then effort is wasted.
||A change control procedure is required,
so changes are only made when the cost is worthwhile.
Indicator: compare cost of change to new development.
Contingency: request customer review of requirements.
||Some developers may not cooperate in common standards and processes.
||QA to check conformance, then discussions in development team meetings
to change the standard or the actual practice as appropriate.
||The system as delivered might be hard to maintain.
||We will review the code for maintainability.
||Low | Medium | High
||Negligible | Marginal | Critical | Catastrophic
||Red | Amber | Green
Possible risk status values:
- Active & impacting project
- Active but contained without impact to scope or delivery time.
- not yet active
- Do the plans provide an indicator to detect each of the risks becoming active?
- Yes, if all activies are carried out as planned,
we will know if any of the risks is becoming troublesome.
- No, some risks could creep up on us.
- Are the right "risk owners" assigned to monitor the risks?
- Yes, for each risk the assigned owner can detect
the indicator, can launch the contingency plan, and is the person
who will suffer by the risk.
- No, in some cases the assigned owner may not
notice or care, or does not have sufficient authority.
- Does each risk have a mitigation strategy,
or is the risk acceptable?
- Yes, we have plans to control each risk.
- Yes, we have plans to control some risks, and
have accepted others.
- No, this plan leaves open several risks.
- Does each risk have a contingency plan?
- Yes, most risks cost development time and the
general plan applies, and for each of the others there is a
contingency plan above.
- No, there are some risks we still have to plan for.
- Has this Risk Control Plan been communicated to the development team and
- Yes, this document is being posted to the
project website. It will also be discussed at an early team
meeting, and discussed with the customers before the commit to the
project. Comments are welcome.
- No, our culture does not allow discussion of risks.
- Is there a procedure in place for identifying new risks and
reviewing the existing ones?
- In the light of these risks, is the project worth carrying out?
- Yes, it is a low risk project
- No, other projects can deliver as much value at lower risk.
- Yes. It is an unusually risky project by
commercial standards, but we believe we have adequate plans here,
considering the value that the project could deliver.
- Is there an anonymous reporting channel,
to allow developers to communicate concerns to senior management?
- No, everything depends on the alertness and
strength of character of the project manager.