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Copyright 2007 Northrop Grumman Corporation 0 Taking Out the Garbage – How to Get Good Risks into Your Risk Tool INCOSE Advanced Risk Management Seminar.

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Presentation on theme: "Copyright 2007 Northrop Grumman Corporation 0 Taking Out the Garbage – How to Get Good Risks into Your Risk Tool INCOSE Advanced Risk Management Seminar."— Presentation transcript:

1 Copyright 2007 Northrop Grumman Corporation 0 Taking Out the Garbage – How to Get Good Risks into Your Risk Tool INCOSE Advanced Risk Management Seminar Hampton Roads, VA November 9, 2007 Vikki Parker, PMP Northrop Grumman IT-TASC Conference Center Drive Chantilly, VA

2 Copyright 2007 Northrop Grumman Corporation 1 Outline Introduction Benefits of Writing Good Risks The Challenges of Poorly-Written Risks The Solution: The Logic Thread The Four Elements of a Well-Written Risk How to Write a Good Risk Tips Examples

3 Copyright 2007 Northrop Grumman Corporation 2 Introduction Topic Audience Purpose Getting good risks into your organizations database (or, how to write a good risk) Busy systems engineers in large Government organizations and general risk practitioners Introduce a method for identifying and articulating risks that are manageable (e.g., provide a good basis for analysis, can be managed to closure, etc.)

4 Copyright 2007 Northrop Grumman Corporation 3 The Benefits of Writing Good Risks Obtain accountable risk owners that are committed to managing the risks to closure Maximize valuable resources time with focused discussions Improve credibility because the right risks are scored and analyzed Compel leadership to take action

5 Copyright 2007 Northrop Grumman Corporation 4 The Challenges of Poorly-Written Risks Analyses can be performed on bad information just as easily as good information (garbage-in, garbage-out) Plenty of literature on process standards and quantitative analysis, but little literature explaining elements of a well-written risk Numerical scores and statistical analyses are logical, whereas risk discussions can swirl and end up nowhere Signs that indicate you may have poorly-written risks

6 Copyright 2007 Northrop Grumman Corporation 5 The Solution: The Logic Thread A simple checks and balances method for articulating risks that links risk elements into a better description of the risk The context provides the information for the statement (1); the statement provides the information for the closure criterion (2) and the title (3)

7 Copyright 2007 Northrop Grumman Corporation 6 The Four Elements of a Well-Written Risk Context Provide boundaries for the risk discussion Focus on facts Statement Typically written If [state concern], then [state consequence]. Concern cannot be same as closure criterion or you inadvertently lead your reader to only one conclusion and no alternatives can be considered Closure Criterion Ensure your mitigation plan will work toward alleviating your concern Measurable action that becomes the last step in your mitigation plan Title The headline Convey the So What? Weak titles whine If we do not receive funding for project x, then we cannot completed development. Closure Criterion = funding If we cannot complete development of system XYZ due to lack of funding, then the organization will be unable to support Mission QPR. Closure Criterion funding

8 Copyright 2007 Northrop Grumman Corporation 7 How to Write a Good Risk

9 Copyright 2007 Northrop Grumman Corporation 8 Tips for Writing Good Risks Element What the Reader Should KnowTips General The importance of the risk is easily understood and objective Plan time for the trial-and-error effort to getting the wording right Speak to a general audience and limit the jargon Relate risks to an existing requirement or objective Do not blame Title The ultimate so what? Write it like a headline Know your audience Do not sensationalize, but get attention Statement Concern and consequence; typically an If …, then… phrase Concern cannot equal the solution For the consequence, ask so what? five times Context Background (who, what, when, why, where, how?) Only facts Do not introduce new risks here Validate facts, avoid assumptions Cite related requirements and objectives Closure Criterion How the concern will be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level Be specific and measurable Tells you how you will mitigate … your mitigation goal; last step in the mitigation plan

10 Copyright 2007 Northrop Grumman Corporation 9 Example Scenario Scenario Acme Company has a requirement to develop a transporter that is safe for humans and can be used in both civilian and military sectors. Transporter beams will move people and things from place to place in an instant. Persons would be placed on the transporter pad and are dismantled particle by particle by a beam with their atoms being patterned in a computer buffer and converted into a beam that is directed toward the destination, and then reassembled back into their original form. The need for the transporter beam comes from the shortage of fossil fuels and the exponential increase in transportation costs. Acme Company had recent success with a prototype that successfully transported a chicken from Asia to the U.S. For a human to be transported, a machine would have to be built that could pinpoint and analyze the trillions of atoms that make up the human body and have 100% fidelity, which is a measure of how well the quantum state of the second ion after transportation resembles the original quantum state. Acme Company has received a substantial government grant with a fixed deadline to produce the transporter. Because of the fixed deadline, the schedule has been compressed and does not allow time to test on humans before being put into operation. The fictional scenario provides a basis for comparing poorly-written risks to well-written risks. Any resemblance to a real project is purely coincidental. The following risk topics might be chosen for further assessment: - Funding - Requirements - Fixed Deadline - Safety - Compressed Schedule

11 Copyright 2007 Northrop Grumman Corporation 10 Example: Poorly-Written Risk Get fundingClosure Criterion The transporter beam will be the first of its kind and will save billions of dollars for commuters. The energy source is assumed to be safe for humans based on animal tests. Though the Acme company has been successful with most of its innovative products, the transporter beam is at a low level of technology readiness and has not been tested with humans. Also, there may not be enough time to test the transporter beam for effects on humans before its first use. Funding had originally been assigned to the transporter beam team, but Jane Doe agreed to reallocate it to fund her Cone of Silence project (for portable classified communications anywhere). Context If we do not get funding, then we cannot test the ability to correctly digitize the information for transmission via electromagnetic radiation and ensure the quantum state of the second ion after teleportation resembles the original quantum state. Statement Lack of FundingTitle Name game blames Introduced opinion vs. fact Assumptions introduce new risks Circular argument: must get funding to alleviate concern of funding Techno jargon alienates decision makers No funding … so what? This title could not stand alone in a list of risks. Funding doesnt really solve your problem. What does the funding need to accomplish? This risk assessment considered the consequences of the compressed schedule and came to the conclusion that it needed more money in order to extend the schedule to allow for testing.

12 Copyright 2007 Northrop Grumman Corporation 11 Example: Well-Written Risk Validate 100% fidelity of atom transfer using human volunteers.Closure Criterion Adjustments must be made for human transportation (vice chicken) and the fidelity must be checked and double-checked. Development for the fully operational transporter beam is on track. However, prior to the energizing humans in the first transporter beam, there is no plan to test the adjustments for human transportation after successfully transporting the chicken. It is tough to duplicate in human transportation because of the unique human attributes (e.g., use of thumbs and ability to speak). Historically, transporter beam prototypes have demonstrated either poor performance or poor functionality, or both, on the first animal tests. Context If the human safety is not acceptable prior to the first transporter use on humans, then the operation may result in physical deformity or death. Statement Physical Deformity or Death due to Unacceptable Margins of Error in Transporter Safety Title All facts, no bias The concern stated talks to the overall concern, regardless of solution Straightforward; No techno jargon Title should stand out in a list of risks It was determined that the only way to ensure human safety was to test it on a human. Using the same risk topic, compressed schedule, the above example focuses on what will happen without proper testing instead of just going after funding.

13 Copyright 2007 Northrop Grumman Corporation 12 Conclusion Clearly articulating risk information is a critical first step in the risk management process Provides a strong foundation for analysis Ensures better data for better decisions


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