Disciplined Agile

Risk Burndown Charts

A risk burndown chart shows the trend in the risk score for an initiative, an example of which is shown in Figure 1. In this case we see that the team started the project with a fairly high level of risk, but paid it down early by addressing Disciplined Agile (DA)’s risk-based milestones. The risk score is the quantitative total of probability times the impact, information that you likely capture in your team’s risk list.

Risk Burndown

Figure 1. Example of a risk burndown chart.

The primary benefit of risk burndown charts is that they enable us to explicitly show how our risk profile is trending over time. They also provide important governance insight to senior management. Furthermore, although risk scores are not comparable across teams, risk trends and the change in the risk scores over time are. Having said that, using metrics to compare teams tends to be a risky strategy in practice.

February 2022