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Understanding And Identifying Risks During Scrum Project Implementation - Avoid Potential Pitfalls

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A risk can be understood as a particular event, which is uncertain in its outcome, and which can affect the results of objectives planned to be achieved from a particular project. Risks can lead to the success or failure of a project. Risks, which can lead to positive results, are interpreted as “opportunities”, while those, which can adversely affect, or create a negative outcome, should be understood as “threats”. It is important to manage the risks associated with a project on a proactive basis. Moreover, active efforts should be made to properly analyze a project for the risks involved, or associated with it. The analysis should be ideally carried out before the project is initiated. Thereafter, the analysis should be carried out on a routine basis, and frequently, until the project is successfully completed. A proper and effective procedure should be followed to identify and analyze the risks. It is imperative to follow a standardized routine which can correctly identify, evaluate, and provide a valid and effectual solution of a possible threat which can adversely affect the project’s outcome.

How risks should www.QuickScrum.com be addressed
First of all, it is important to identify the risks. Once they are correctly identified, they should be classified depending upon how severe they are, and up to what extent they can affect the project’s outcomes. Risks, which are likely to create a greater impact, should be addressed first, followed by those which can create a lesser impact. To determine how risks can affect the results, it is imperative to find the root cause, identify the area of uncertainty, and what kind of potential damage they are likely to cause.

Identifying risks during scrum implementation
Scrum projects too are associated with certain developmental risks. Even though the risks may not be fatal or critical in nature, they may nevertheless result into excessive loss of money in terms of redundant development activities or non-performing projects. As per the “The Scrum Body of Knowledge”, ad definitive guide which deals with the explanation of scrum and how it ought to be ideally implemented, each team member should be able to identify potential risks as and when they are likely to surface during the project implementation. Moreover, risk identification should be an inherent part during the implementation process, and should be carried out on a regular basis. Some suggested techniques might help you identify the risks in scrum:

1. Lesions learnt from sprint retrospectives
Sprint retrospective are specially conducted to identify any pitfalls which might occur during the sprint activity. Generally, problems are detected during the retrospective discussions since product owners and team members discuss various topics in depth and put in efforts to find out how effectively the sprint has progressed, and what kinds of problems are likely to arise during the development activity. They are a great way to identify any potential problems which may affect the project over a period of time, or which are likely to surface in the near future during an ongoing sprint.
2. Risk checklists
The risk checklists include certain key points which are identified as root causes capable of inducing risks during the project implementation. Generally, the list includes those factors which are encountered while the sprint is underway, or when the project is being implemented. Risk checklists contain problematic causes which are often anticipated by the team members capable of causing potential problems.
3. Risk prompt lists
These lists are generally created out of brainstorming sessions. They may not necessary hamper the project, or cause impediments for sure, but they are potential pitfalls which team members should be wary of during the project implementation.
4. Brainstorming sessions
They included in-depth and detailed discussions regarding problems likely to occur during the planned sprint or project implementation. Usually more experienced team members take part in these discussions, and they contribute their suggestions based upon their experience and levels of expertise.
5. Risk breakdown structure
This is an important tool, or technique used to identify potential key risk areas of development which can lead to problematic situations as far as development is concerned. Risks are identified and segregated into groups based upon their potential to cause problems. Risks are typically categorized as those belonging to financial, technical, or safety related nature. It allows the team to prepare for any eventualities, which may arise during the project implementation.


Mrugesh Panchal is a director in Bharti Consulting Services SARL, an ISO 9001-2008 certified IT Service Provider Company having its headquarters in Clichy, France and its operations center in Vadodara, Gujarat - India. Mrugesh is a co-founder of the QuickScrum tool, a powerful, easy to use, and versatile web based scrum tool application centered upon Scrum framework. The tool incorporates scrum methodology into project development, and offers a dynamic scrum management environment. To know more about QuickScrum please visit www.QuickScrum.com

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