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Fenton and Neil's book: "Risk Assessment with Bayesian Networks"


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You are here: Home » Case Studies » Keeping software projects on track

Keeping software projects on track

"We joined Agena in a project looking to improve the way we do risk assessment in large-scale software projects. Agena delivered an excellent system that enables us to carry out the kind of quantitative risk assessment that was not possible before."

Shlomo Gluck, Software Development Department Manager, TAMAM - Israel Aircraft Industries

Problem

  • At the start of a software project you have to take critical decisions on the basis of little or no real data
  • Without a rigorous method for risk assessment many projects perform poorly (or even fail altogether), because they try to deliver too much given constraints on resources and staff
  • You need to be able to reason about risks and trade-offs early on and be able to monitor the risk profile (and take mitigating actions) as the project develops
  • It is difficult to communicate subjective judgements about project risk. It is also difficult to document such judgements (and the decisions that result from them) in any kind of auditable and visible way

Solution

  • In collaboration with a number major organisations (notably Philips, Israel Aircraft Industries and QinetiQ) Agena developed a comprehensive software project risk map for use in AgenaRisk
  • It incorporated a wealth of empirical and other data about software projects. It is relevant for projects ranging from very small teams through to multiple-team distributed projects

Benefits

  • Predictions about a range of project attributes (in projects at IAI, Philips and QinetiQ) were more accurate than could be achieved previously
  • More accurate identification of where real risks are on projects, ultimately leading to projects more likely to deliver on time, to schedule and quality
  • Ability to communicate risks visibly and quantifiably
  • Early project estimation and what-if testing
  • Filter out impossible or unachievable projects early on
  • Initial stage estimates and manpower/schedule estimation
  • Analysis of trade-offs between cost, schedule, functionality delivered, quality delivered
  • Takes account of process and people factors relevant to all major projects
  • Supports process improvement
  • Supports project "health checks" and project auditing
  • Models can be used out of the box even if you have little or no data
  • Approach fully customisable: FPs, GUI screens etc. for key projects and to suit their environment