Top Eleven Ways to Manage Technical Risk

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In recent years, risk management has been increasingly emphasized by the DoD as a
critical tool for assuring program success. Whereas “risk management” is a general
term encompassing all the different areas of risk management, this document focuses
specifically on the single aspect of Technical Risk Management. Although managing
risk for all aspects of a program is critical, technical risk is perhaps the most important
area of risk management because technical risk, and the degree to which technical
processes can be controlled, is a significant driver of all other program risks.
Unfortunately, technical risk and the importance of controlling critical technical
processes are generally not well understood within the DoD acquisition community,
nor is adequate guidance on these considerations readily available.

In response to these shortcomings, and the need to improve the efficiency and
effectiveness of the acquisition process, this publication offers a single source of
concise explanations and clear descriptions of steps one can take to establish and
implement core technical risk management functions. It contains baseline
information, explanations, and best practices that contribute to a well founded
technical risk management program – invaluable to program managers overwhelmed
by the magnitude of information and guidance available on the broad subject of risk
management today. In addition, as an aid to the reader, Appendix A contains the Risk
Management Requirements from DoDD 5000.1 and DoD 5000.2-R, implemented by

Each chapter addresses specific technical risk areas. Although developed for
Department of the Navy program managers and their staffs, this document should be
equally useful to contractor program managers. The fundamentals contained herein
are applicable to all acquisition efforts, both large and small.