Managing Risks of the Platform

Managing risks is an uncelebrated but essential role for platform product management.

This involves assessing the potential risks and putting in place mitigation plans to prevent or address them. In this post, we'll explore the key considerations for managing risks associated with a platform, including the need for a risk management framework, identifying risks, and monitoring.

Incorporating Risk Management Framework into Platform Planning

One of the significant challenges of managing risks associated with a platform is that other organizations or teams will depend on it. This means that risk management must be part of the planning process from the beginning.

Having a risk management framework can help ensure that risks are identified and addressed throughout the entire process.

Identifying Risks and Putting Mitigation Plans in Place

To identify risks, it's crucial to come up with a risk log. Working with teams, it's essential to identify risks associated with infrastructure failure, the user perspective, and the business perspective. Assessing the likelihood of a risk occurring, its impact, and whether it's being addressed is essential. If a risk is identified as an existential one, involving more stakeholders is recommended. For example, a security risk or data breach should be owned by someone focused on that domain. It's also essential to have a mitigation plan in place that outlines what to do if the risk occurs.

Assessing the Impact of Risks

When thinking about managing risks associated with a platform, it's essential to consider the impact of risks. It's crucial to imagine what would happen if a bad scenario occurred, and how to inoculate the platform from such an occurrence. This requires getting everyone on board and comfortable with the mitigation plan. If an existential risk is identified, it's crucial to elevate it and assign a point person to oversee the resolution and review process.

Components of a Risk Management Plan

A risk management plan should address the following components:

  1. What happens in the event of a failure?

  2. What happens in the event of extreme action?

  3. Breaking down the main components of the platform.

Monitoring Risks

Lastly, monitoring risks is essential to ensure that the platform is safe for users. It's important to know when a bad action occurs and to have the ability to address it in time. Monitoring and assessing risks should be an ongoing process, with risks reviewed and updated at least once a quarter.

The biggest risks for a platform are those that directly impact users. Work backwards from areas that you touch.

And what it comes to platform, compute, networking and infrastructure all impact Users. So it's worth monitoring when something adversely affects them.

These could very well be monitored by other teams, and they should; but it's good for the platform team to have them when they do migrations, upgrades, or releases.

User Risks

In conclusion, managing risks associated with a platform is crucial for ensuring a safe user experience. This involves incorporating risk management into the planning process, identifying risks, assessing their impact, putting mitigation plans in place, and monitoring risks. By doing so, organizations can protect their users and minimize the risk of costly and damaging failures.