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Saturday, May 19, 2012

What is meant by risk-driven iterative planning?

So many approaches to iterative development and planning have been developed under the context of the agile software development process. Risk based iterative planning is one of such approaches and this is what that has been discussed in this article.

About Iterative Development

- The iterative development is based on the idea of carrying the development further step by step or incremental accomplishing one goal with each step.
- This is different from the normal approaches which take a momentary leap from the problem to the solution. 
- Such small development steps keep the development process on track and moreover it is much easier to test these small steps rather than testing the whole development process in one go.
- These steps are commonly known as the loops and are repeated throughout the development process.
- An iterative process may contain various loops depending on the complexity of the problem.
- Also depending up on the degree of the uncertainty of the problem and the situation, the looping can take various forms. 

What is Risk Based Iterative Planning

Below mentioned are the steps that are included in a typical risk based iterative planning:

1. Problem formulation: This step involves the defining of the following aspects:
(a) Time scope: the yearly programs are linked to their yearly budgets and other multiple time scopes are also defined.
(b)  Situation: the situation is defined and broken down in to smaller partial activities which are not interconnected with each other. A frame work corresponding to the budget of the problem is created.
(c)  Stake holders: the participation of the stake holders is identified and the decision maker is supposed to have full knowledge about the whole development process.
(d)  Risk: all the risks associated with the whole development process as well as the project are identified and the iterative plan is developed based on it.

     2. Information gathering: The information to be gathered regarding the project includes:
     (a) Strengths
     (b) Weaknesses
     (c) Opportunities
     (d) Threats
     (e)  Level of mobilization
     (f)  Stake holder identification
     (g) User response and so on.

     3. Vision Building: A vision is created for the development process which states how the goal can be achieved.
     4. Strategy Formation: A strategy or approach is defined to accomplish the purpose and the people involved are assigned different responsibilities and they are granted powers as per the contractual agreement.
     5. Implementation: To implement the plan power is granted to the participants and some times partnership is also formed.
     6. Evaluation of the development process: The development plan is evaluated based on certain factors like risk, reliability, stability and so on.


Always Remember about Risk Driven Iterative Planning

- Each iteration by itself is of no use! 
- It is only when all the iterations are put together that they become useful. 
- One point that you should always keep in your mind is that you should be as specific as possible while designing a risk based iterative plan. 
- Try to keep the length of the iterations as short as possible so that you can complete the iterative development in the allocated period of the time. 
- The most critical and difficult of the iterative planning is the generation of the tasks.
- The techniques you are using should have been stream lined to fit your time and cost budget. 
- You need to maintain a flow between all the iterations. 
- Remember that you may organize your development process in to iterations but that is not exactly what is called the agile development.
- The iterative planning is also called the sprint planning. 
- The iterative planning based up on the associated risks proves to be quite useful since it helps in avoiding many of the grave problems that can later hamper all the development efforts. 

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