There are some good articles around at the moment about Agile and Business. The business approach to risk needs to change, avoiding Waterfall type check-points (milestones) to measure risk. An Agile project will stress under pressure of differing objectives between the Agile project and the business, if the old ways are not changed.
Agile focus is on delivering fully-tested small features which diversifies risk, which should be an effective selling point to the business. The incorrect perception of Agile is that there is more risk – this is implied by the flexible nature of Agile methodologies. But there are always risks, and what Agile does is actually minimise the risks, but a safer methods of planning and development. So the business needs to devise its own Agile strategy.
Each project can run to its own Agile methodology, as long as what the business expects in terms of deliverables and reporting is observed. The lines of communication and reporting methods to the business should be a standardised set of processes specified in the Agile Business Strategy. This stratgey should also define project core team structure, project submission requirements, and reporting checkpoints & exit criteria. Test Assurance can help to ensure that Agile business approach is carried through.
Once these things are in place, then the business has means to measure risk, and also success. And they should observe the Agile principle of review and improve on their processes also. It is a big change, no question. But imperative if business wants to get the true benefits of Agile.
A wake-up call for business on subject of risk using milestones to measure success, is an illusion of measured risk. On a waterfall project, you cannot have such predictable elements, and milestones were an early concession to business needing marks in the sand to give their clients. Applying correct Agile methodology is what reduces risk, but attacking the core of problem – the development process.