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The Art of Agile Development

Cover of The Art of Agile Development by James Shore... Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
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Risk Management


Project Manager, Whole Team

We make and meet long term commitments.

The following statement is nearly true:

Our team delivers a predictable amount of work every iteration. Because we had a velocity of 14 story points last week, we’ll deliver 14 story points this week, and next week, and the next. By combining our velocity with our release plan, we can commit to a specific release schedule!

Good XP teams do achieve a stable velocity. Unfortunately, velocity only reflects the issues the team normally faces. Life always has some additional curve balls to throw. Team members get sick and take vacations; hard drives crash, and although the backups worked, the restore doesn’t; stakeholders suddenly realize that the software you’ve been showing them for the last two months needs some major tweaks before it’s ready to use.

Despite these uncertainties, your stakeholders need schedule commitments that they can rely upon. Risk management allows you to make and meet these commitments.

A Generic Risk-Management Plan

Every project faces a set of common risks: turnover, new requirements, work disruption, and so forth. These risks act as a multiplier on your estimates, doubling or tripling the amount of time it takes to finish your work.

How much of a multiplier do these risks entail? It depends on your organization. In a perfect world, your organization would have a database of the type shown in Figure 8-6.[34] It would show the chance of completing before various risk multipliers. ...

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