Chapter 20. Analyzing Architecture Risk

Every architecture has risk associated with it, whether it be risk involving availability, scalability, or data integrity. Analyzing architecture risk is one of the key activities of architecture. By continually analyzing risk, the architect can address deficiencies within the architecture and take corrective action to mitigate the risk. In this chapter we introduce some of the key techniques and practices for qualifying risk, creating risk assessments, and identifying risk through an activity called risk storming.

Risk Matrix

The first issue that arises when assessing architecture risk is determining whether the risk should be classified as low, medium, or high. Too much subjectiveness usually enters into this classification, creating confusion about which parts of the architecture are really high risk versus medium risk. Fortunately, there is a risk matrix architects can leverage to help reduce the level of subjectiveness and qualify the risk associated with a particular area of the architecture.

The architecture risk matrix (illustrated in Figure 20-1) uses two dimensions to qualify risk: the overall impact of the risk and the likelihood of that risk occurring. Each dimensions has a low (1), medium (2), and high (3) rating. These numbers are multiplied together within each grid of the matrix, providing an objective numerical number representing that risk. Numbers 1 and 2 are considered low risk (green), numbers 3 and 4 are considered ...

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