Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

Tools & Methods

Current Solutions

Whether you are working in a systems-of-systems, multi-program, or single-program environment, our tools and methods can help you make a paradigm shift to a systemic approach to risk management. The foundation of this is mission risk analysis which is based on system theory. The underlying principle of system theory is to analyze a system as a whole rather than decomposing it into individual components and then analyzing each component separately. The goal of mission risk analysis is to identify a set of systemic factors that have a strong influence on the outcome (i.e., whether or not the objectives will be achieved). These systemic factors, or drivers, are important because they define a small set of factors that can be used to assess a system and determine whether it is on track to achieve its mission and objectives.

The Mission Risk Diagnostic (MRD) is a versatile method for assessing risk in interactively complex software-reliant systems that can be applied across the life cycle (i.e., acquisition, development, operations) and supply chain. It analyzes a set of systemic risk factors to aggregate decision-making data and provides decision makers with a benchmark of a system's current state. The resulting gap between a system's current and desired states points to specific areas where additional investment is warranted.  The MRD can be self-applied by the person or group that is responsible for managing a system or conducted by external parties on behalf of the responsible person or group.

The MRD defines the basic platform for performing mission risk assessment. Optional analyses can be added to the basic MRD platform as needed to assess mission risk in unique or specialized environments. For example, you can add analysis modules to the MRD platform to assess risk in system-of-system environments. Likewise, you can add a causal analysis to determine the root causes of mission risk.

The MRD is featured in a public course, Practical Risk Management, (which can also be taught onsite) as well as workshops that combine part or all of the course along with hands-on development and refinement of the methodology to suit a particular organization's needs. You can learn to do your own evaluations using MRD or have us perform an independent, third-party evaluation of your program.