Risks & Mitigations

Risks & Mitigations

Surface risks and how the team might mitigate them


Kickoff Inception Remote

Suggested Time

30-60 min


Core team, stakeholders

Why do it?

We do this to create a forum where people feel comfortable sharing fears and concerns in order to proactively mitigate issues we think may arise. This session results in a list of prioritized action items that the team can use to get ahead of any risks.

When to do it?

Early in the project, normally during Kick-Off, and again during Inception

What supplies are needed?

  • Whiteboard or digital version like Miro
  • Dry erase markers
  • Sticky notes
  • Markers
  • Large sheets of paper

How to use this method remotely?

There is currently a remote template available in Miro. Here you will find step instructions on how to conduct this practice remotely including general tips and info.

1. Open Miro. In the side menu, select 'Templates'

Open Miro. In the side menu, select 'Templates'

2. Search for "Tanzu" to see all, or 2. Search for "Tanzu" to see all, or click here to use this template

Search for the template and click ADD

How to Use this Method

Sample Agenda & Prompts

  1. Have the group silently write project risks and obstacles this team may face. One item per sticky note.

    Tip: Provide an example of a risk or obstacle. For example, “We will be launching code at a different pace than other teams - there may be dependencies and blockers.”

    Tip: It may help to list the different types of risks. Business risks (“Compliance standards may alter our delivery approach”) and team risks (“Members are situated in different time zones”) should be considered along with technical risks."

  2. Ask each person to select their top 5 risks and obstacles

  3. Split the group into pairs. Ask each pair to plot their risks together on the axes they draw.

    Remote Tip: Many video chat systems support “breakout rooms” or similar means to temporarily divide large groups into smaller groups for closer collaboration.

    Each pair should grab one sheet of paper or section of the digital whiteboard and draw axes:

    • X-axis: Easy to Mitigate to Hard to Mitigate
    • Y-axis: Low Risk to High Risk

    Tip: Check in on the groups and move each group forward if they are moving faster than others

    2x2 with labeled axes

  4. Instruct each team to choose the top 2 risks from the high risk section that they would like to share out

  5. Ask the teams to brainstorm one (1) mitigation strategy for each of their top 2 risks

  6. Go around the room and have each pair read one (1) risk and one (1) mitigation strategy.

  7. Group similar risks/mitigations into categories. For example, “technical risks”, “business risks”, “product risks”, etc.

Success/Expected Outcomes

Success is when you have a shared understanding of the biggest risks and have a set of actions items to get started with

Facilitator Notes & Tips

  • Ensure that there is equal representation of different disciplines present
  • Try to time box explanations in order to keep things succinct
  • Create a space in which people feel comfortable being honest by setting up the right context for the session
  • Curtail finger pointing or unkind feedback
  • Ensure that the actions are actionable and not too general e.g., “Don’t do this…”

Real World Examples

Whiteboard table showing risks in one column and related mitigation strategies in another