Team:Groningen/Project Plan/Risk List


Risk List Tools and Documentation Inception Elaboration Construction Transition
1 2 1 2 1 2 3 1 2
apr. 20 may 18 jun. 01 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 okt. 15



Every project has to deal with risks. To ensure a smoothly running project without too many large hiccups it is important to identify these risks and develop strategies to avoid them (and/or reduce their impact).

The table below, shows the possible risks that may influence the success of the iGEM project. It gives an outline of 5 main risks, namely problems which emerge from finances, time span, lab work, modeling and members / instructors. Possible risks were traced from the problems of iGEM Groningen 2008 and of the iGEM 2008 teams which were withdrawn from the competition.

Also see UPEDU's description of the Risk List artifact and the enclosing artifact, our project plan.


For each risk the following is documented:

  • Identifier: a descriptive (short) name
  • Magnitude: ranking from 1-10, 1 is low risk and 10 is a high risk. Taking in account: how probable it is that the problem will happen during the project.
  • Description: a brief description of the risk.
  • Impact:
    • L= low impact, if this risk can not be avoided, probably the team will decide to live with it.
    • M= medium impact, there is a real problem but when it is noticed in an early stage it can be solved, not all members are affected.
    • C = critical, there is a real problem but when it is noticed in an early stage it can probably be solved, all the project members are affected.
    • H = high impact, the probability of the projects success is seriously affected. There is an immediate need for a meeting with the stakeholders.
  • Indicators: when do we know this risk has materialized (or better yet, is about to materialize).
  • Mitigation Strategy: how are we reducing the impact of this risk?
  • Contingency Plan: what can we do if this risk does materialize?

Risk 1: Finances
Magnitude Description Impact Mitigation Plan Contingency Plan
3 There is just not enough money for all the expenses C Our budget should largely be covered before the summer.We already have some funds and are attempting to acquire more from (non)-governmental / university organisations and companies. Try to get more funding from the University of Groningen, Centre of Synthetic Biology. Try to enconomize (on?).
5 PR letters do not work out well C Letters contain information about: Synthetic Biology, the iGEM competition, contact information. Try to find out what went wrong, call the organisations and companies. Ask a specialist to have a look at the sponsor letter.
4 [TU München] Probably had too low budget because they started only in June with looking for sponsoring H A budget plan has been made. Roles are divided, two people are working on letters/flyers/poster for sponsoring. Ask instructors for help, start with fundraising already before a final project is chosen.
1 Fraud C Speak with the treasurers, meet with instructors to sort it out.
Risk 2: Time
Magnitude Description Impact Mitigation Plan Contingency Plan
5/6 [Groningen]Making constructs is consuming to much time C Order synthesized plasmid, though this is pricy
1 [Istanbul / TU München] Started too late with brainstorm sessions C Our project subject deadline is May 18 Start immediately with fulltime working on the project when time becomes a real problem
4 [Taipei] Project plan without clear deadlines. People do not work according to the project plan. H UPEDO is used, we try to specify the project plan. Make a sharp plan and keep everyone motivated to work according this plan.
2 People are taking holidays at the same time M A time schedule of 2009 is made, people are not allowed to take more than 1-2wk off Try to get people to take holidays more spread over the summer time
7/8 Tasks are not accomplished before the deadlines C UPEDO is used, but the project plan has to be confined. Keep everyone motivated to work accoring plan.
Risk 3: Lab work
Magnitude Description Impact Mitigation Plan Contingency Plan
7 Not enough results C Defined deadlines for evaluations are planned in the project plan, weekly labmeetings should be done. Try to find the bottleneck in an early stage of the project, talk with experts regulary, start over again (use another method, try an easier project)
7 [Groningen] Getting DNA from paper (of the iGEM catalog) was problematic M Check DNA catalog / well-plates. Order stab cultures from HQ (try to be early).
8 [Groningen] Promotor is leaky M Measure background signal (neg. control). For the HSL promotor use EZ medium as described by Groningen team, iGEM 2008
4 [Groningen] Ligation of BioBricks in plasmid is problematic C Dephosphorylize plasmid first
5 [Groningen] Low transformation efficiency of BioBricks to E. coli C Use E. coli TOP10. Make new competent cells.
8 [Groningen] BioBricks behave different than expected. C Check whether there are multiple BioBrick possibilities for the gene you want to use. Sequence the generated plasmid to be sure that you are working on the right gene. Try to use another BioBrick.
2 [Motreal] False positives upon transformation, low yield for DNA isolation H Order a synthetic construct in an early stage, use DNA isolation kits.
1 [Peru] To less biological knowledge M Try to get more biology students, ask people to give lectures.
5 Ordering DNA takes too much time M Order in time, try to think ahead Try to find a simillar gene / construct at the University of Groningen.
Risk 4: Modeling
Magnitude Description Impact Mitigation Plan Contingency Plan
7 There are few results from modeling, the results are not compatible with the results from the lab. H Ask experts in an early stage for help. Try to get feedback in an early stage from the lab, on sub-problems. Contact the iGEM 2008 team, try to find the bottlenecks
6 [Istanbul] Slow to decide which software would be used M The programs used by iGEM 2008 teams are searched and analysed Start early (before the project is chosen) and make clear deadlines
7 Not enough knowledge in the team. C A Bio-informatics student is joining the team, since May 11 Try to get more computer-engineering students, ask people to give lectures.
6 It is to late known which part of the project is used for modelling H The deadline for choosing a project is May 18. The modelling team will talk individually with the people working on the different possible projects.
Risk 5: Team members / Instructors
Magnitude Description Impact Mitigation Plan Contingency Plan
0 [Toronto BlueGenes] Different instructor relative to previous years M Involve instructors & advisors monthly in meetings
1 An instructor leaves the team. C Involve instructors & advisors monthly in meetings
8 A undergraduate teammember leaves the team. M Keep people motivated for iGEM. Start working in teams of (at least) 2 teammembers, to prevent a great loss of knowledge.
5 Teammembers loose motivation C Start with social events next to the normal (and somewhat boring ;) meetings
8/9 There arises a conflict / disagreement in the group L Try to get a mediator. Depends on the problem.

[TODO: Review risk list at least after every iteration]