Risk is a perception. When put into perspective everything one does is risky. Being born was the riskiest thing you could have done because no one gets out of it alive.
Most of risk comes down to emotions. Which means our reality which for most is a stream of emotions and reality bending justifications. Could be altered if you believe you are going to fail because the ‘thing’ you’re doing is ‘risky’.
Yes there is a cost to everything. The easiest way to measure this cost is money. Because you can hold it and you can see if it goes up or down. But there are also values and time and feelings. Risk can be mitigated by managing the riskiest pieces first. In a startup a lot of people go to just broad sweeping generalizations of risks. Will the company buy it? Will the user like it?
But there are specific and real risks that most do not see. Human behavior. Mapping out new pieces of software designed to ‘disrupt’ an industry. You are, if we are to use this example, disrupting a behavior. Some retail locations have surveys where people could win prizes for answer. If people commonly don’t fill out the surveys on a receipt and you find the solution is to make it digital. You’ve introduced a whole series of issues.
The user now has to know about the app.
They have to download it.
They have to then input the information from the receipt into the system, probably a unique identifier.
How is that any different from what is currently being done?
User stories can help tease out these common behavior tricks. If you can ‘generalize’ a behavior from one system to another you are overcoming this but most of the time the human behavior you are trying to instill is new and different or untested. To help mitigate your risk map out user stories and establish where and when your story and the story they were doing for that user segment differs. Is it clicking on an email? a link? uploading something? whatever it is. Have that prepared.