Another aspect of managing scope is estimating the "risk" associated with each feature. In this context, we'll consider risk to be the probability that the implementation of a feature will cause an adverse impact on the schedule and/or the budget. Risk gives us a relative measure of the potential impact of including a particular feature within the project baseline. A high-risk feature has the potential to impact the project negatively, even if all other features can be accomplished within the allotted time.
Table 18-2. Prioritized Features List with Effort Estimates
The development team establishes risk based on any heuristic it is comfortable with, using the same low-medium-high scale used to assess effort. Table 18-3 shows the revised features list for the example.
Table 18-3. Prioritized Features List with Effort and Risk Estimates
Strategies for mitigating risk vary from project to project, and we won't cover that topic here. For the purposes of scope management, it is adequate to simply be aware of the relative risk associated with each feature so that intelligent decisions can be made early in the project. For example, if a feature has a priority of critical and a risk of high , then an effective mitigation strategy is mandatory. If priority is important and the feature hovers around the baseline, the item may be dropped or simply developed "if time is available." There's no harm in the process, so long as no commitment was made to include the item in the release. If the priority of a high -risk item is only useful , consider skipping that feature entirely.