Risk Identification in Scrum Projects

December 16, 2013

The objective of the Scrum Team members, the Scrum Master should be to minimize the risk involved in attaining the project objectives if not to remove it completely. Therefore, the Scrum Teams and the Scrum Master should spend their time to attempt to identify the potential risks that impact the project. This can be achieved only by looking at the project from different perspectives, using a variety of techniques. The following techniques are commonly used by the Scrum Team and the Scrum Master to identify risks.

Risk Identification Techniques:

1.  Review Lessons Learned from Retrospect Sprint or Retrospect Project Processes

Historical data is used to identify and access the risk involved in similar projects previously by the Scrum Team. Learning from similar projects and earlier Sprints in the same project and exploring the uncertainties that affected those projects and Sprints can be a useful way to identify risks.

2.  Risk Checklists

Risk checklist is a valuable tool to help ensure comprehensive risk identification. This checklist includes key points about the risks involved, steps to be followed in identifying the risks, steps to handle the risk and minimize the impact, etc.

3.  Risk Prompt Lists

There are the tools which are used to stimulate the thought about the sources from which risk may arise in a project or when the risk is encountered by the team. These tools are available freely in the market and Scrum Team members can use them to identify the risk during the course of project completion.

4.  Brainstorming

The project experts, stakeholders, Scrum Master and Scrum Team members involve in discussion and share their ideas openly. Each individual idea is picked up and discussed and a consensus is drawn about the risk that may be encountered by the team.

5.  Risk Breakdown Structure (RBS)

The risks are categorised into grouped on the basis of their characteristics like the financial, operational, physical risk etc.  Then strategies are drawn to minimize the impact of each group of risk.

The above techniques are not the final set to identify the risks involved in a project. There are other tools like individual expertise, Expert opinion, etc. to identify the risk which need to be used by the scrum teams to identify the risks so that they are well prepared in advance to minimize the impact the effect of these on the Scrum Projects.


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