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Understanding Software Risk Management

Any software project involves various types of risks.  Software Risk Management (SRM) helps to mitigate these risks and thus ensure project success. Some of the typical risks involves in a software project are:

  • Technical Risks: This includes issues with the project size, functionality, technology, languages, platforms, methodology, standards, processes etc. The reason for these risks could be the constraints, inexperience of the resources involved, lack of clarity in parameters, lack of control etc.
  • Management Risks: This includes lack of experience and training, lack of planning, issues in communications, organizational problems, control issues and lack of clarity in authority.
  • Financial Risk: Cash flow issues, capital and/ or budgetary problems and ROI constraints.
  • Contractual and Legal Risks: This involves issues with changes in scope, requirements, fluidity in schedules, health & safety factors, regulations, product warranties etc.
  • Personnel Risks: This includes issues with staffing, training, conflicts, productivity problems, ethics and moral standards.
  • Miscellaneous Risks: This involve issues relating to other factors which can influence the success of the project such as unavailability or delayed delivery of equipment, lack of tools, facilities, geographically spread locations, slow response times etc.

The objective of software risk management is to contain and these different risks so as to successfully complete the software project and gain the benefits through it. The software risk management plan thus is designed to focus on the specific project risks, identify potential issues and come up with contingency plans to address the issues. By doing this the potential failure of the software project can be reduced substantially.

The most common reasons for implementing a strong software risk management plan are:

  • Avoid project disasters, budget and schedule over-runs, bugs or errors in the software deliverables and operational issues.
  • Avoid costs of rework due to errors, gaps in requirements, design or code issues. These if present enhance the software development costs by 50%.
  • Ensure that there is no overkill in terms of identification and prevention of issues where the risk is not significant.
  • Develop a software solution which is meets the customer needs perfectly.
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