Practice: Risk-Value Lifecycle
The risk-value lifecycle practice supplements the iterative development and two-level planning practices with the unified process lifecycle. This lifecycle identifies four phases, each of which attempts to balance value provided against risk mitigation appropriate to the phase.

Why adopt this practice?

Project stakeholders look for ways to understand and control project funding, scope, risk exposure, value provided, and other aspects of the project. While project iterations deliver product increments that show value delivered and show progress at a fine-grained level (meaning that work items are being addressed), they do not provide the necessary project oversight, transparency, and steering mechanisms at a coarse-grained level that allow stakeholders to make informed business decisions about the project.

The organization of iterations into a set of phases -- with a well-defined milestone at the end of each phase -- provides the structure that stakeholders and managers need to assess whether the objectives of the phase have been met and whether the project should move on to the next phase or not. See Phase Milestones for more details. 

By addressing the goals and risks of each phase, the team has the opportunity to find the right balance between risk reduction and immediate value creation, which are two major drivers for stakeholders. See Project Lifecycle for more information.

How to read this practice

The best way to read this practice is to first familiarize yourself with its overall structure: what it is in it and how it is organized. 

Start with understanding what phases are and how they relate to iterations. Understand what phase milestones mean and the questions that they help answer. See Phase Milestones for more information. You can also read the definition for each phase for more detailed information: Inception Phase, Elaboration Phase, Construction Phase, and Transition Phase.

Then, understand the importance of a structured lifecycle in driving two main stakeholders' concerns: risk reduction and value creation. See Project Lifecycle for more information.

For instructions on how to adopt this practice, see How to Adopt the Risk-Value Lifecycle Practice.

Additional Information

Additional resources

For more information on the risk-value lifecycle approach, see the following:

  • Kroll, P. and Kruchten, P. The Rational Unified Process Made Easy, Addison Wesley, 2003. Chapters 5 through 9.