Risk is common to any product development effort. A risk
is the potential inability of achieving product goals and is quantified by the
probability of a failure and the consequences of that failure. Risk management
includes risk identification and assessment, tracking of risks to determine how
risks have changed, and mitigation/reduction of risk impact on the product.
Risk management activities begin at the outset of any
product development effort and continue through all phases. They are important
elements in achieving a producible design. Although the scope and method of
implementation will vary with product scope and complexity, among other things,
common threads of any risk reduction effort are:
- Risk identification: What process improvements are needed to ensure that producibility will be achieved? Do design analysis processes include a producibility assessment? Do trade study activities include producibility as a tradeoff criterion?
- Risk assessment: What consequences will result if identified areas of risk are not dealt with or are only partially addressed? Will the impact affect performance, cost, and/or schedule, and to what degree?
- Risk tracking: Is
an unmitigated risk growing? By when must the risk be itigated?
- Risk mitigation/reduction: What can be done to eliminate the source of the
risk or reduce it to an acceptable level? Are funds available to develop and
conduct the necessary risk mitigation efforts?
Examples of risk management tools include: (1) the
Navy-developed, knowledge-based and process-oriented Technical Risk
Identification and Mitigation System (TRIMS); (2) the commercially available
Schedule/Cost Risk Analysis Module (SCRAM! 3.0), a risk analysis/decision
support tool that adds probabilistic duration, cost, and logic analysis
capabilities to Microsoft (MS) Project; and (3) RiskTrak, a commercially
available, Windows-based, networked software tool that enables an organization
to identify, estimate, analyze, communicate, and report risk throughout the
duration of any product development.
TRIMS, one of several electronic tools comprising the
Navy-developed Program Manager's WorkStation, helps users identify, quantify,
and track program risks as well as document and track mitigation plans
addressing those risks. It was developed as part of the Navy's Best
Manufacturing Practices (BMP) program for addressing manufacturing risk and
can be accessed through the BMP Internet site. TRIMS is based on proven risk
models (such as those from the Software Engineering Institute), on published
practices, and on the Navy's Best Practices templates and is applicable
throughout all phases of both military and commercial programs.