Agile Risk Management vs Traditional Risk Management

“Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing” – Warren Buffet

A college called the “Risk Management Institute” arranged a get together for their alumni students. Two close ex-classmates named AGIL and TRADY are meeting years after their graduation. They both are highly skilled RISK MANAGERS. They discuss their families, life, love, society, and stuff. It was good old times.

Trady and Agil are the same in general but with different views and different approaches. Trady is a big fan of traditional methodology while Agil adores Agile Methodology They both approach the environment differently.  When it came to the topic of risk management in their profession, they begin a discussion.

There is a small saying that “a little risk management saves a lot of fan cleaning”.

Agil: I heard about you helping project managers in a big way by logging risks. How is it coming along?

Trady: Thank you. Lately, I have been facing some drawbacks in risk management. It’s getting a little complicated and more difficult. Do you consider risks seriously?

Agil: Actually that is a strange misconception that I don’t consider risks or manage risks seriously. This is in fact, quite false.

Trady:  I heard that you probably don’t have a clear understanding of risks faced in your projects.

Agil: Everyone feels I am some crazy cowboy because I spend very little time doing stuff.

Trady: If you spend so little time doing stuff, how can you manage risks in such a short time? Risk management requires extensive planning and time.

Agil: I don’t require much extensive planning for managing risks. I tend to spend less time on risk management.

Trady: How is that possible?  Risk management kills time. Sometimes the project kickoff is delayed for just this reason.

Agil: Correct. But I help the team members to identify risks in every sprint meeting and I also add to information radiators which are also known as “Big visible chart”.

Trady:  Risk needs to be identified, then reviewed periodically, rated, prioritized and then a risk response plan needs to be prepared. Every risk and assumption has to be logged at the beginning.

Agil: True. But I specifically handle risk management by having short iterations of work, after which the next priorities are taken in.

Trady: Then what is your risk management framework?

Agil:  Risk identification is usually done during meetings. Then we look at risk assessment with the likelihood or impact, and finally risk response by mitigating or avoiding or transferring the risk. Risks are reviewed at retrospective meetings before the next sprint meeting. Tell me yours!

Trady: First I establish the context, then risk identification, risk analysis and finally evaluation. Once this assessment is done, we start the treatment of the risks. Actually, the process for managing risk is little long.

Agil: Can you please brief your process steps for managing risks?

Trady: Sure. I have to spend days talking about risks, analyzing risks, rating and ranking risks, logging it into the risk management system, discussing risks, reporting risks, escalating, re-prioritizing risks and general messing about risks. Which process method do you follow on risks?

Agil: The process which I use is believed to be much more adaptive to when the risk occurred. The risks will be reviewed early and constantly during development. Instead of logging and talking about risks, I spend more time to de-risk the project from the beginning.

Trady: I believe the major difference is in our approaches is that I MANAGE RISK. YOU DE-RISK.

Agil: That is quite correct! And also, the idea is to make goals very flexible and modifiable. Do you believe in flexibility?

Trady: I do not have the practice of having flexibility goals. I am too disciplined and formal as well. I am a one-dimensional assessment.

Agil: I am not always disciplined and formal.

Trady: What about the information for reducing the risks? It usually takes little longer for the next action. Most of the times, the reason for the delay in a project is the late arrival of the information in any project cycle.

Agil: I have come up with a new plan to try to increase the information and reduce the risks from the beginning. I look for alternatives. If I am not able to proceed with one task, I put it on hold, inform the risk/issue and try to take up some other task that can be proceeded. So my team is always working towards the final goal.  That explains why I provide flexibility for my intermediate goals.

Trady: Oh No; I’m late. I am supposed to take my wife shopping. I should get going right now before the risk becomes an issue. It was great meeting you.

Agil: If you need my advice to avoid risk turning into an issue, you should get a couple of roses for your wife on the way to home.

Trady: You are right but I have already predicted this risk yesterday itself and booked a bouquet of flowers online today. I hope the bouquet will reach her on time!

Agil: Way to go! There is a saying that life is more risk management, rather than exclusion of risks.

Trady: Safety is the key. See you soon!

The college director decided to give System Development Life Cycle (SDLC) award to highly skilled risk managers for their development models in various industries. The award goes to :

  1. Trady (For Waterfall Model),
  2. Vimay (For V-Model)
  3. Agil (For Agile Model)
  4. Italo (For Iterative Model)
  5. Spike (For Spiral Model)

Finally the director gives thanksgiving speech to the audience before ending the party with lunch.


Hope you enjoyed the informative conversation on Traditional Risk management and Agile Risk Management.

Thoughts on “Agile Risk Management vs Traditional Risk Management”

  1. Mohamed Sahirullah

    Interested!! Amazing presentation of Agile Vs traditional risk management.

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Arun Ramakrishnan, Lead Quality Assurance Consultant

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