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A Guide to Software Risks and Software Risk Management

When we speak of software risk, it is the possibility of suffering from a loss in the software development process. Losses can include production cost increase, poor quality software, inability to complete the project on time, and more. The existence of software risk is due to the fact that there are many known and unknown things that you are not able to include in the project plan. Software risks can be both internal, that are within the control of the project manager, and external that are beyond the project manager’s control. When carrying out risk management it is important to identify the risk, reduce its impact, reduce the likelihood of risk, and monitoring the risk.

There are many possible causes of risk that a project manager has to deal with.

Some risks are well known to the team and the entire project. A known risk can be a project delay because of not having enough developers. These risks are described and included in the project management plan.

There are risks that you are aware of but are not sure if they exist in your project. A known risk is not being able to get the client’s requirement properly because of poor communication. This is a known risk but they don’t know if the client has actually communicated all the information properly or not.

Some risks are completely unknown. Technology is usually behind these risks and it is when clients ask you to work on technology that you have no knowledge about so you expose yourself to risk.

In software risk management, risk is quantified. There are many things involved in this including having a precise description of risks that can occur in the project, defining a risk probability which explains the chances for the risk to occur, defining how much loss a risk can cause, and defining the liability potential of the risk.

For you to be able to identify risks that your project may be subjected to, it is important that previous projects be studied. Check for all possible vulnerable areas to risk. To examine all essential areas, a flowchart will help. It is important to identify the known unknowns in a project. Evaluating decisions taken related to different factors is important. Here you define the processes that are important for risk identification.

In software risk analysis, the risk is identified and categorized. You also need to analyze its impact. It is then followed by software risk planning. In this phase, preventive measures are defined that would lower down the likelihood of risks, measures are defined that would reduce the impact when a risk happens, and constant monitoring of processes to identify risks as early as possible.

Finally, software risk monitoring is included in project activities and regular checks are done.

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