Risk management is a fundamental element of program management. This presentation suggests a new idea for agile risk management for agile software development programs.


What is the Issue? The principal problem discussed in this presentation is identifying code changes and growth (risk of increasing feature story points) in agile development, and how to predict and adjust feature scope to maintain velocity (manage software change).

The constant incorporation of change and deliveries with agile development may influence programmatic schedule and scope risk differently from other methodologies (i.e. Waterfall, Spiral, etc.) where the release cycles maybe longer in duration and change is less frequent.


What is the Definition of Risk? Let us keep it simple and rely on the ISO standards for risk: Risk is the effect of uncertainty on objectives. It can be expressed in terms of a combination of the consequences of an event (including changes in circumstances) and the associated likelihood of occurrence.


What is the Point? This presentation is based on the presenter's first-year experiences of a current and real-world application of enterprise Agile Development. This is an opportunity to share with the agile community, possible change metrics that may be used to monitor and control risk.

The point is straight-forward,

  1. What level of change tracking provides accurate risk assessment in an agile/lean environment?
  2. What change should be tracked?
  3. How can story point changes in features be extracted from Earned Value Data?


Let us look at the characteristics of the real world program case study:

  • Industry:                                   Government Contractor
  • Size of Program:                        Medium
    1. # of Release Trains:         One(1) Release Train
    2. # of Scrum Teams:          Five (5) Scrum Teams
    3. # of Releases:                 9
    4. # of People:                    ~ 100
    5. # of Months:                   ~ 24
  • Agile Methodology:                     SAFe™ Agile
  • Business Methodology:               Earned Value Management (EVM) is required.
  • Presenter's Role:                        Program Manager
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Outline/structure of the Session

Change and its frequency is a basic principle in the Agile Manifesto where change is embraced.   One of the Agile Manifesto’s principles is to maintain a release cadence (every couple of weeks to a month) while managing constant change in features.

In this presentation, the presenter will share her experiences on a start-up enterprise agile program. 

Attendees will learn:

  1. How developers use an agile tool (i.e. JIRA) to capture change metrics (i.e. story point changes).
  2. How the Release Train Engineer collects and formulates the change metrics from JIRA.
  3. How the Earned Value - Cost Account Managers (CAMs) turn the metrics into quantifiable backup data (QBD) for variance reporting (Schedule and Scope)
  4. How earned value data (QBD) can track feature story point growth
  5. How feature story point growth can be an indicator for release code growth
  6. How release code growth can be an indicator of release risk

Learning Outcome

The conference attendee will walk away with:

  • An understanding of how to extrapolate business data and use it to identify change in features (scope)
  • Visualize release capacity constraints
  • Manage the risk associated with technical debt on the product backlog (from release to release).

Target Audience

• Program Managers • Project Managers • Agile Practitioners • Customers involved in Agile Development • Anyone Interested in Agile Risk Management!

schedule Submitted 3 years ago

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