Risk Workshops for POs

One of my objectives is to get the team to be able to work with the teams until they feel they could step away and leave them to it. One of the concerns that has been raised to me is that POs might not have the same sort of risk awareness (although they may be being done a disservice here), coupled with more of a drive to delivery. Whilst I’ve run Risk Storming sessions in the past, this obviously isn’t as easy remotely. Is anyone aware of any risk workshops that would work remotely? Cheers.

Hi @chris_dabnor,

I have a slightly different take on this is based on a couple of keywords in your post (i.e. ‘remotely’ and “POs … drive to delivery”).

I think there is a need to make sure team has a “common goal” for success. Many risks can be accepted/mitigated based on the fact that they may not be aligned with ‘the goal’ of the team.
e.g.
“A developer may think that a certain approach of delivery although fast may produce a lot of technical debt however, a PO may be concerned that if we don’t deliver this feature then there won’t be any funding in the future and there will be no project to work on”
In this case, even if there is a high technical risk, it can be accepted by the fact that the feature is super critical for the success of the project.

If team is working remotely, then it could be challenging to have effective collaboration and team may divert from their real goal and may start working towards individual goals. In this case, if one person in the team could be overpowered by matching individual goals of others.
In my experience, keys to common goal and effective collaboration are:

  • customer focused and lean thinking
  • all communication done in open-door (public) platform. No close door meetings for subset of teams.
  • respecting each others’ views
  • supporting and empowering teammates

Risk workshops are good way to highlight and keep track of risks however, if the team is not on the same page with respect to the goal then collaboration and communication is the way to mitigate many risks. Also, risk workshops (if any) should not be done only for one person (PO) but it should always be done for entire team. Goal of the workshop is not just to explain what likelihood and impact is/means but to discuss as a team why someone rates a particular risk accordingly.

Thank you very much. Quite a bit to digest there, and some interesting things to look into. The way I’m looking to run the workshops, and the way I’ve done is the past, is for me as head of the department to run them for small groups (about 6, but a department where they are a similar size). That way, they can spread it to the squads they’re working with when they form, or return to, them. On reading your post, an interesting thing to do would be to look into how aligned the teams are with goals. If they aren’t, then maybe that’s where an important step of coaching lies - how to help teams to align their goals, how to give and take.