Robert Charette

Keynote for Thursday, April 22nd:
Risk, Lean Development & Profit: Getting Back to Basics

“Nothing is as invisible as the obvious,” psychologist Richard Farson once wrote. While much of the lean development literature focuses on the ideas of muda, muri and mura, what is often forgotten is that lean is concerned with challenging assumptions and breaking through the constraints that limit us in what we see and do. The agile movement grew in large part on the premise of challenging the conventional thinking of software development (a characteristic that it seems to be losing in regard to itself). By challenging our assumptions we open ourselves to new sources of discovery and innovation.

Second, what is also often forgotten is that lean development is about maximizing profitability. Profit is the payment you receive for taking on your customer’s risks. Lean development is thereby a risk minimization approach aimed at taking the right risks and profiting from them.

A third forgotten aspect of lean development is that its ultimate purpose is to help you create a change-tolerant, dynamically stable organization, one that can profitably operate across a wide-range of financial, operational and strategic risk regimes. In other words, lean development is meant to help your organization become a risk entrepreneur.

This keynote will explore these and other invisibly obvious ideas that fundamentally underpin lean development, and in so doing, help you understand lean development’s full potential.


Robert Charette Over his nearly 35 year career, Robert Charette has been an active practitioner across the full spectrum of risk management: strategic, operational and financial. A self-described risk ecologist, Bob has been interested in the interrelationships of business, technology and societal risks. His pioneering work in change tolerant businesses, risk entrepreneurship, and lean development of software systems were outgrowths of that interest.

For the past 23 years, Bob has been the president of the ITABHI Corporation, an international high tech management consultancy firm focused on creating organizational and program success by intelligently profiting from risk. He is also a Fellow and the director of the Cutter Consortium’s Enterprise Risk Management and Governance practice, a managing director of the Decision Empowerment Institute, and serves as a risk advisor to the New York City technology investment firm Foundation Ventures.

Bob has served on the post-Challenger National Research Council’s Select Panel evaluating the effectiveness of the space shuttle’s software safety program, was an expert advisor to the Big 12 Universities’ Usenix computer security project, and was the chief designer of risk assessment process for the Department of Defense’s Tri-Service Assessment Initiative. Bob was also the working group chair of ISO/IEEE standard 16085 on Systems and Software Engineering Risk Management Standards and before that he was the lead author of the management of risk guidelines for the UK Government. Bob was a founding member of the Project Management Institute’s Risk Management SIG and the elected chair of the Software Engineering Institute’s Risk Advisory Board. He is a 2008 recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award.

Bob is the author of the several classic books on the subject of managing risk. His latest book is Decision Empowerment: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Good Decision Makers.

Finally, Bob is an award winning contributing editor to IEEE Spectrum magazine, as well as writes for several others magazines and blogs.