PRBA: Risks and Benefits go together

Testers focus on risks. “No risk, no test”, right? Right! So when the project starts and you’ve done your orientation and defined your scope, you eagerly want to start your Product Risk Analysis. You start to walk around the project talking about risks and stuff, but other people seem to ignore you. So, you start to run and shout a bit harder. Still nothing happens; somehow you’re missing the connection. These other people are not thinking about risks. “What’s going on in their minds?!” you ask yourself while sitting down and start to replan your PRA and shifting your roughly sketched planning a bit.

In the other people’s world, when a project starts people are not thinking about risks. Other people think in opportunities, or even better, benefits. What will this solution bring us? How will it help me? How much time will this save me? These type of questions cloud the risk based thoughts.

However, you still want to start as early as possible with your test activities. The sooner the better in terms of quality and a quick start gives you flexibility in aligning your test planning with the project- or sprint planning. So, how to overcome this difference in mindset? TMap HD already briefly mentions the solution: it’s the PRBA. The Product Risk and Benefit Analysis!

The PRBA gives you the opportunity to discuss risks as well as benefits and add both in your risk classification overview. The benefits align with the mindset of the other project members and it’s easier to integrate the PRBA into project planning- or refining sessions.

So, next time when you run around shouting about risks and nobody listens, run around talking about benefits and make a risk inventory on the way. You know the PBRA will guide you in that.

Thijs-Jan Gerbrands is a Senior Quality Consultant. He works for Sogeti.