The software development world is crowded with different practices, metrics, methodologies, tools and techniques.
For example, metrics such as “number of open tickets”, “code coverage” or “release cadence” give us a numerical feel for how things are going, and methodologies such as Scrum, Waterfall and Lean give us different approaches to organising.
But what unites them all?
The Risk-First perspective is that all of these practices and methodologies have at their heart the job of managing different risks. Risk isn’t something that just appears in a report, it actually drives everything we do:
- A story about improving the user login screen can be seen as reducing the risk of users not signing up.
- If we write unit tests, we’re tackling the risk of bugs going to production, but we’re also defending against the risk of future changes breaking our existing functionality.
- A task about improving the health indicators could be seen as addressing the risk of the application failing and no-one reacting to it.
- Implementing a new function in the application is fixing the risk that users are dissatisfied and go elsewhere.
Risk-First makes the case that better understanding the nature of these risks is critical to building software in the complex, interconnected domain we work in.
About The Menagerie:
This book is volume one of the Risk-First series, introducing the case for viewing all of the activities on a software project as attempting to manage risk.
It introduces the menagerie of different risks you’re likely to meet on a software project, naming and classifying them so that we can try to understand them better. The book aims to develop a Pattern Language for understanding software risk, and develop a practical framework for discussing how the activities we take on a project change the balance of the risks we are exposed to.
More information here: https://riskfirst.org
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