A thinking framework in the form of an actionable kernel, by Ivar Jacobson, Pan-Wei Ng, Paul E. McMahon, Ian Spence and Svante Lidman. Everyone who develops software knows that it is a complex and risky business, and its participants are always on the lookout for new ideas that will lead to better software. Fortunately, software engineering is still a young and growing profession that sees innovations and improvements in best practices every year. Just look, for example, at the improvements and benefits that lean and agile thinking have brought to software-development teams. Successful software-development teams need to strike a balance between quickly delivering working software systems, satisfying their stakeholders, addressing their risks, and improving their ways of working. For that, they need an effective thinking framework that bridges the gap between their current ways of working and any new ideas they want to adopt. This article presents such a thinking framework in the form of an actionable kernel, which could benefit any team wishing to balance their risks and improve their way of working. Read the full article on the [acmqueue web site](http://queue.acm.org/detail.cfm?id=2389616). Download your own copy of IJI’s Alpha State Cards.