Over on Swimming with the Razorfishes, Eric asks What should a project lead know [… to mitigate risk]?
You have to start with an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of your team. Protection against everything only works against cooties in the schoolyard. But you may be able to structure your approach to mask weakness. If your team is weak in test, then you may want to take a test driven approach. If you’re weak in deployment, then you may want to arrange the schedule to allow meaningful trial deployments along the way.
When it comes to people, you usually have to play with the hand that you’re dealt. But if you understand your weaknesses, you may be able to arrange for some help at critical junctures of the project. And you can start to cultivate your team’s skills for the next go around.