Tag Archives: Risk Management

Review: Agile Risk Management and DSDM

riskIn one of my previous posts I wrote about DSDM and UX Design. This is another little book in the same style. And this booklet too can be read as an addendum to DSDM’s Agile Project Management Framework or separately to enlarge your knowledge about risk management in an agile context.

Talking about a little book, in the foreword you can find a reference to the famous episode, The Protégé, of the programme Seinfeld. It’s about a 700 page risk management book. Look for yourself and have fun.

Alan Moran is the author of the book “Agile Risk Management and DSDM“. He did a great job explaining risk management in an agile environment.

Agile risk management considers, like PRINCE2, not only treats (negative risks) but also opportunities (positive risks) and is concerned with the identification, assessment, prioritization, treatment and monitoring of project risks.

As a starting point for risk identification the following generic risk drivers are high lighted: requirements risk, technical risk, schedule risk, project (approach) risk, supplier risk and people risk. These can be highlighted in the enterprise and project risk driver maps.

In a next paragraph the agile risk management process is explained. It starts with the understanding of the project objectives, context and risk environment, risk scoping (identification of risk drivers and appetite), risk tailoring (embedding risk management in agile process), risk management (identify, analyse, manage and monitor) resulting risk optimized agile process.

Agile risk management is founded on three principles: flow (ensure that events do not inhibit or delay progress), balance (deliver the same reward with less risk) and transparancy (make visible and accessible all risk artefacts). In the book you will get a mapping to the eight DSDM principles.

In the following paragraphs you get an explanation who (DSDM role) performs which risk management activities and how you have to make amendments to the practice of DSDM to cover the overall project risks.

The author explains several risk tools: enterprise and project risk driver maps, the risk log (register), risk reward prioritization matrix, the risk rainbow mapping of risk exposure to risk response strategies (when to apply which risk response strategy), risk tagging (identify the agile (DSDM) practice(s) to mitigate the risk), risk modified timebox plan, risk modified team board, risk burndown chart, risk walling (making visible the project risk driver map, risk log, risk modified timebox plan or team board, risk burndown chart). See the attached figure for some examples.

Dia1The final chapter explains the social and cultural aspects. A common typology of risk stances is: risk-averse, risk-seeking, risk-tolerant and risk-neutral. Individuals tend to be influenced by conscious, subconscious and affective factors.

In summary DSDM enables a new perspective on risk management by injecting elements of cadence (e.g. performing risk analysis at the start of each timebox), transparancy (e.g. using risk modified team boards including risk burndown charts) and agility (e.g. by using risk tagging). 

Conclusion. Many people will say we are using agile techniques so no need to have a separate risk management strategy. This book gives a good approach to cope with risk management within an agile environment. You get an overview of risk management and how it can be tailored and used in a DSDM environment and it can be applied within other agile frameworks too.

To order: Agile risk Management and DSDM

This is the second post in a series of three. DSDM and UX design was the first and Agile Project Management and Scrum v2 will follow

Lost in standards

Dia1In the last “projectie, edition 04-2014”, the bi-monthly magazine of ipma-nl, I published a Dutch article about the many methods and frameworks that are available in the field of portfolio, programme and project management. To download: Verdwaald in het standaardenbos IPMA Projectie magazine 04-2014 I created a sort of quick reference card with available standards and frameworks (It’s limited, there are many more). To download: standards-qrc-170129-v1-9

In the middle of the quick reference card you find a generic model with portfolio, programme and project management as horizontal boxes. Behind these boxes you will find vertical boxes with PMO, IT, benefits management, value management and risk management to support project, programme and portfolio management. And as the background I used two triangles representing the people and maturity of project, programme and portfolio management. From this model I made connections with several well-known organizations that develop and own standards. E.g. Axelos as the owner of PRINCE2, MSP, MoP, MoV, MoR, P3M3 and ITIL or PMI as the owner of PMBoK, The standard for Portfolio Management, The standard for Programme Management, OPM3, etc. You will also find AMPG, APM, IPMA and several suppliers of Agile/Scrum as well as some ISO models. dia1 In the Dutch article, I focus on the usage of these standards. It’s not that simple that you only have to select a project management method. Je must be aware that it will not be possible to implement all your ideas and ambitions. You have to select the right initiatives. This will ask for a portfolio management method. To realize your strategic objectives, you need more than only projects. You will run programmes too, asking for a programme management method. Besides temporary project and programme offices you probably need a permanent portfolio office as well as a centre of excellence to communicate, support and train staff to use these standards and best practices.

At a certain moment you want to know were you are from a maturity view, in comparison with others, and based on your own ambition you would like to know the gap you have to bridge. It will be beneficial for an organization if all these models or frameworks are connected to each other. As a rule of thumb, I would advice an organization to choose for either Axelos or PMI as the starting point and combine your choice with the competence baseline from IPMA. If you choose e.g. for PRINCE2, it makes sense to choose for MSP and MoP for your programme and portfolio management. For maturity scans you look at P3M3 because that’s in line with these standards. Your temporary and permanent PMO will be supported by P3O, etc. For supplementary techniques you could make use of the PMBoK from PMI.

Or, when you started with the PMI family, it makes sense to combine this with the project or programme board approaches from PRINCE2 and MSP and the usage of business cases as described in PRINCE2 9789401800068_CoverLR-541x850I am one of the authors of the book Global standards and publications, edition 2014/2015, Van Haren Publishing. You can download a free copy of this book. http://www.vanharen.net/file/PDF/9789401800068.pdf Please let me know if you are aware of new standards that are worthwhile to mention in this QRC.

for a comparison between PRINCE2 and PMBoK see the overview from KnowledgeTrain: Comparison PRINCE2/PMBoK


  • 17/01/29: Added PM2 Project Management Methodology from The European Commission
  • 17/01/29: Added Scrum @ Scale from Srcuminc.com
  • 16/01/23: Added Nexus (Scaled Professional Scrum) from Scrum.org
  • 15/10/04: IPMA ICB3 replaced with ICB4
  • 15/07/07: Added new Axelos framework PRINCE2 Agile
  • 15/05/27: Added Change mgt vertical + CMBoK (Change Management body of Knowledge) + CHAMPS2
  • 15/04/24: Added ISO 21500 project, 21503 programme, 21504 portfolio, 21505 Governance, 21506 Vocabulary
  • 15/02/24: Added CCPM (Goldratt), CMMi, Global Alliance for Project Performance Standards (GAPPS)
  • 14/10/21: Added Exin Agile Scrum from EXIN
  • 14/09/29: Added Agile Programme Management (Agile PgM) from APMG
  • 14/09/29: Added PRiSM™ (Projects integrating Sustainable Methods) from GPM
  • 14/09/29: Added Portfolio, Program & Project Sustainability Model (PSM3) from GPM

Review ABC of PM cards

In line with the ABC of ICT card deck, a new deck was developed by Mark Kouwenhoven, Paul Wilkinson and Douwe Brolsma of ABC@WORK to focus on project management specific Attitude, Behavior and Culture (ABC) aspects. It is the ABC aspects that will determine the success or failure of your project management and subsequently the success of your projects. Successfully addressing ABC will ensure: buy-in, commitment, involvement, ownership, self improvement, continual improvement and more importantly a project management organization that can realize business added value, with satisfied customers and employees.
The card deck contains 13 cards (clubs) about Attitude, 13 cards (diamonds) about Behavior, 13 cards (Spades) about Culture and 13 cards (hearts) about stakeholders.
Each card contains a cartoon and corresponding ‘worst practice’ example of attitude, behavior or culture. The aim is to confront people with ABC worst practices that they recognize within their own projects. The aim is to trigger the thinking process of players and open discussion and dialogue about ABC issues within projects in their organization. To help identify the relevance and impact and help prioritize and select improvement needs.
On each cards you can find a statement related to Attitude, Behavior or Culture. Some examples of the statements on the cards are:
– Three of clubs: Not enough commitment at Executive level (Attitude)
– Queen of Diamonds: The solution the customer sees isn’t the one that the project sees (behavior)
– Jack of Spades: Poor knowledge capturing, no lessons learned (culture)
The cards can be used to look at specific risks in your project or within your organization. e.g.:
– Gather a team of project managers around a table. Take the User or Sponsor stakeholder card from the deck and place it on the table. Split the team into 3 groups. One group will take the Attitude (clubs) cards, one group the Behavior (diamonds) cards and the last group the Culture (spades) cards. If we were to give these cards to the stakeholders on the table, which cards would they think represents your project? Discuss the findings.
– Imagine you give the customer the ABC cards, which three cards would he or she choose that most typically represent the ABC of PM worst practices in tour organization? Discuss the findings.
I had the pleasure to work together with Douwe Brolsma. After a presentation to explain attitude, behavior and culture of project management in relation to risk management, we asked a group of project managers from my organization to answer the following question: “which three cards would you choose that most typically represents the ABC of PM worst practices in our organization. Based on the discussion we ended with a list of best practices to be used in our projects. For me the ultimate prove that using these cards could definitely help you to address ABC issues in your organization.