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 one of our 3-hour public de-risking workshops, based on Minesweeper software. To learn more, view the video above, 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…

De-risk your real project with private virtual AIM coaching

Our 3-hour public workshops give you a solid understanding, as you move through a de-risking simulation. When it’s time to apply this to your first real project, we can provide an AIM Coach to serve as your team’s facilitator. He/she will take your team through the four major phases of Minesweeper de-risking:

  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.”

Next steps…

To check out this methodology, join us at one of our 3-hour public workshops… held monthly and costing only $195. You’ll even get complimentary 30-day access to Minesweeper software and our BlueHelp Knowledge Center so you can explore it further.

If you like what you see, consider applying it to a real project with an AIM Coach as your facilitator. It’s typical to have four 2-hour virtual coached team sessions. The cost is about $10,000 and your team will have a powerful CheckPoint plan, amazing reports to show management, and the skills to apply to other projects. (After the first year, software renewal is $30/person/year.)

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