Breaking Down Projects into Little Blocks of Risk

March 17, 2020

Tony Zipparro

In digital projects reducing risk, even by a small factor, can have overwhelming outcomes on the speed, quality and satisfaction achieved. Risk itself is an all-too-often “unidentified” component of the world of digital. It seems abstract to discuss, but in the discussion below we talk about how breaking up elements of a project to contain risk can be done within development. 

Tony: I’m a huge proponent of trying to break down the idea of projects or project processes into little blocks of risk. And I think just coming from a world where I came from (finance, stock and options trading) it’s, I like to view things in terms of risk. And when I’m looking at what causes–like how do you mitigate risk through a project? You have mentioned times before that it’s not the coding or the execution of the code that is complicated, right? And that’s — if you look at it as well you might be doing some more complicated features, even in design or project management, those are pretty well-defined. You can mitigate most of that risk away if you know what you’re doing. And so the biggest risk left — and that’s where it’s walking a fine line between understanding and communicating that to clients in a way so that you’re not pointing a finger — is it’s the emotional side. So the more emotion involved, whether it’s approving something from a visual standpoint or finally seeing a product in a feature and it, just looking different than you wanted but it’s accomplishing what you said, it’s that emotional moment that could blow out, you know, a timeline or take longer. And it’s simple things, they build up over time. And so, one of the hardest things that we have as an agency is helping to keep clients accountable for that while not pushing them too hard. And that’s where it comes back to that empathetic communication. It’s saying, “Hey, we know you’ve got a lot going on. You might have personal stuff, you might have business stuff, but like the reality is you’re delaying this process.” We’re fine with it, to a point, because we understand we’re all human, but how can we get back on track? Because this isn’t a good look for any of us. It’s not a good look for the value of the business. And our number one goal is to provide you value that you can use. And if we’re just sitting here waiting or it’s slowly dragging on, that does nobody any good.

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