Friday, 29 July 2016

Risks, Assumptions, Issues and Dependencies (RAID)

This post is about a tool that is useful to have when doing Release Planning.

During Sprint or Release Planning it is useful to capture any Risks, Assumptions, Issues and Dependencies that we identify during the planning, that might impact the successful execution of the plan. A RAID diagram is useful for this.

Setup 4 flipcharts on the wall, where the team can capture Risks, Assumptions, Issues and Dependencies.


A risk is something that might happen. Should it happen it will have an adverse impact on the success of our project. Risks should be discussed openly by the team. We need to evaluate how likely they are to happen and what mitigation actions should we put in place to avoid or to counter them.

Here is some good advice for managing risk

Examples: There is a transport strike looming for the next number of weeks, so it will be difficult for people to get to the office. Peter is doing maintenance on an other high priority project; he might get pulled on a regular basis from this project if there are issues for the customer.


An assumption is something that we think is true or likely to be true and we rely on it being true to successfully delivery our project. Assumptions should be tested as early as possible during the execution of the plan.

Examples: To cause least disruption, 21:30 is when we think we have least number of users on line so it's the best time to upgrade our system daily.


An issue is something that is causing us a significant problem today and prevents us from succeeding in our project. The main difference between Issues and Risks, is that Issues are a certainty today. Issues need to be dealt with all the time. It's important that an owner is identified and a strategy for dealing with the issue is agreed. Can we resolve the issue ourselves? Do we need outside help? Can we avoid the issue altogether?

Examples Issues: We have scalability problem after 10, 000 connections to the database. Mary, the principle tester, is going on 2 months extended leave for July and August.


Something that must be delivered before we deliver our project. Dependencies must be managed and monitored. How are we going to make progress while we wait for this dependency? If dependencies run late, how will that effect our delivery? Can we minimise that impact?

For example: We are using a beta version of our platform for development, and it's due to be officially released 6 weeks before we go live.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Team Building Exercise: Tennis darts game

This game is a fun game to promote team communication. Good introduction to new team mates.

This is one of a series of simple and fun team games to help team forming.


4-8 people


to score the hightest number of points by landing the bean bag inside the scoring zone.


  1. Spray paint
  2. Tennis racket
  3. 6-8 mini Bean bags ( or a balls that won't bounce)


  1. Draw out a large circular target on a large area. 4m-10m in diameter.
  2. Draw some smaller circles inside the large one. At least 5.
  3. Mark out a base approx 15m from the target zone.


  1. Smallest circle in the middle gets 200 points
  2. Next circle gets 15
  3. Next circle gets 12
  4. Next circle gets 9
  5. next circle gets 5
  6. Outside that the score is 0.

alternative scoring: Use hula hoops placed on the ground, further away hoops get more points


  1. Allow one practice bat per team member.
  2. Each person takes the racket with one bean bag.
  3. They stand inside the base.
  4. They launch the bean bag towards the target on the ground, using the tennis racket.
  5. Repeat for the next 5 bean bags.
  6. Add up the scores of where the 6 bean bags landed to give the team score.

Team Building Exercise: Risky Bowling

A great game for team building, it promotes communication around risk. Do team members keep it safe and score for every roll. Or do they go for broke and try and maximise their scores, at the risk of scoring nothing.

This is one of a series of simple and fun team games to help team forming.

Aim of game:

To score the highest points score by rolling a ball to a stop between the lines on a lane. The highest scoring zone is furthest away & the smallest zone. Be careful not to over judge the distance, as this score will be 0!




  • Level flat surface
  • Coloured tape
  • 10m+ roll of carpet, 1m wide
  • Bowling balls or large tennis balls
  • Measuring tape


  • Lay out the carpet.
  • Mark off an area after 3m, 5m, 7.5m, 8.5m, 9.25m, 10m


  1. 0-3m Zone 1 - 1 points
  2. 3-5m Zone 2 - 3 points
  3. 5-7.5m Zone 3 - 5 points
  4. 8.5-9.25m Zone 4 - 8 points
  5. 9.25 - 10m Zone 5 - 30 points
  6. 10m+ Zone 6 - 0 points


  1. Allow one or more practice rolls per team member.
  2. From behind the start line, roll the ball along the carpet.
  3. Where the ball rests is the individual score.
  4. Repeat & add up all the scores for the team score.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Team Building Exercise: Gutter Ball Challenge

A great game for whole team interaction. Promotes teamwork, communication and lateral thinking to achieve the goal as fast as possible

This is one of a series of simple and fun team games to help team forming.

Aim: To transport as many balls from one bucket to another using gutters

Team: 4-6 people


  1. 2 buckets
  2. 5 x 1 - 1.5 metre lengths of PVC guttering. To make game harder, use down pipes
  3. 100 tennis balls (bucket of tennis balls)
  4. Stopwatch


  • 3 minutes after the clock starts.
  • 1 point per ball.
  • 200 points if all 50 balls are transported successfully


Place the bucket of balls in a space.
Place the empty bucket approx 5-20m away. (Further away, game more difficult). (10M)


  1. Allow one or more practice runs per team member.
  2. Start the clock.
  3. One person stands at the bucket of balls. They cannot leave the bucket and are the only one who can handle tennis balls.
  4. The remaining players take a gutter each and line up between the two empty buckets. The should stand so that end of each gutter touches.
  5. Persons who hold a bucket can only walk when there is no ball(s) in their gutter.
  6. Person at the bucket, places one ball on the first gutter.
  7. The first person passes the ball, via tilting the gutter towards the next gutter.
  8. Once the ball is passed the first gutter, the first person runs to the end of the line.
  9. Once you reach the bucket, deposit the ball into the bucket using the gutter. All return to the start.
  10. Continue until time is up.
  11. Count the number of balls transferred.


Should the person with a ball(s) in their gutter walk or run, the ball is detucted from the total.
If a ball falls, it is lost and cannot be picked up again.


You can try to transfer more than one ball at a time. You may have more than one line at a time. However let the teams figure this out themselves.