Project De-risking with Minesweeper® Software

 
When you think of your big high-stakes projects, do you have a sense of peace… a feeling of complete confidence? Or do you recall past project disasters? With our project de-risking methodology, your team has an “insurance policy,” so you’ll either win big… or kill your project quickly.

A second benefit: Minesweeper software lets you communicate project risk clearly to management, and intelligently engage them in investment decisions. No more, “trust us… this will be just fine.” Here’s a sample of the report your teams can generate with Minesweeper® software to update management on their progress:

Download De-risking Report

How to de-risk high-stakes projects

Right now your projects face landmines ready to blow up budgets, schedules and reputations. The only question is whether your teams will see them in time. After all, no one steps on a landmine they can see. Your team can learn a safe, highly-rewarding approach at a project de-risking workshop, based on Minesweeper software. To learn more, read this 2-page workshop description, view the video below, or download the white paper, Innovating in Unfamiliar Markets.

Risky… or just uncertain?

Most companies treat high-stakes projects as “risky” when they should treat them as “uncertain.” Risk is the probability of a negative occurrence. When you first decide to pursue an unfamiliar market, you don’t know enough to assign this probability: You simply are uncertain. Good project de-risking is really a learning process… moving from uncertainty to certainty.

It’s dangerous to pursue this market “no matter what.” A more intelligent approach is to gather all assumptions, drive the important ones from uncertainty to certainty, and kill your project if warranted. There’s a lot of data to manage, but that’s where Minesweeper software helps. Here’s how your team applies our project de-risking to your real project in a 2-day workshop.

De-risk your real project in a 2-day workshop

It’s easy to learn this methodology while moving your real project forward. Your team begins with a simulation—Acme Composites Packaging—for an overview of the entire process. The rest of the two-day workshop is used to de-risk your real project. Your team learns three key de-risking steps: 1) Generate Assumptions, 2) Rate Assumptions, and 3) Investigate Assumptions… and how to 4) Report Progress to management.

  1. Generate Assumptions: The team begins by brainstorming as many assumptions as possible. These are divided into Market Dynamics, Internal Capabilities, and Customer Outcomes (yellow, purple & blue sticky notes in the illustration below.) Special triggers, e.g. a consumption chain, and our master list of typical assumptions ensure a complete list.

    Generate-project-assumptions-that-must-be-true
    Generate project assumptions that “must be true” for project success
  2. Rate Assumptions: Each assumption is rated for its likely impact on project success and current level of certainty: Individual team members rate assumptions online, to prevent “group think.” The team then 1) reviews histograms of individual ratings, 2) reaches agreement, 3) records its “Source of Truth” and 4) reviews 6 “Certainty Matrices.”

    How-to-rate-assumptions
    The team rates each assumption for likely impact and certainty.
  3. Investigate Assumptions: The team then prepares a CheckPoint Plan… a series of tasks to better understand each assumption and move it from uncertainty to certainty. In the screenshot below, an assumption might “move up” from the red Danger zone to the yellow Caution zone, and eventually into the green Safe zone.

    Minesweeper-Certainty-Matrix
    Your goal: Move assumptions “up” from uncertainty (red or yellow) to certainty (green).
  4. Report to Management: As important as the above steps are, it’s just as important for your team to communicate well with management. Instead of confusing them with unique, “home-grown” presentations, begin using a common format—the Minesweeper De-risking Report.

    Minesweeper-De-risking-Report
    Update management with Minesweeper’s 2-page De-risking Report

Consider the power of this last step. Instead of confusing management with a myriad of details, you focus their attention on the assumptions that matter. Your project de-risking engages all of leadership—from the CTO to the CFO—on the timing and investment needed to move forward. Gantt charts are great for managing timelines and resources. But what about risk? Think of this as the “Gantt chart for risk.”

Two ways to learn…

Consider two ways to learn this: First, you can sponsor a 2-day in-house workshop (described above) with one of your real project teams. Second, you can attend our one-day simulation workshop. Either join us at one of our open workshops or bring this 1-day workshop in-house.

For more information, contact us to learn more about Project De-risking training options.