In today’s software development, all tasks employ different technologies and advanced systems that need experts in this field. With all other factors considered, each software development project encounters several issues in the process. These are called project risks.
The success of any development team assigned to conduct a software project is highly dependent on the availability of project risks that team members may face while developing the app development. For project managers, merely identifying the risks is only half of the story. To attain a successful product development, risk mitigation planning should be in place. This starts with strong project leadership that can assess, identify, manage, and prioritize all related risks and tasks.
What is a risk in software development
In general, a risk is any potential issue. This can be an activity or event that leads to compromising the software development's project completion. Risk is the potential of suffering a loss or being exposed to a specific problem that can contribute to the probability of damage or impact in part or full project cycle while causing potential problems.
Risk mitigation planning defined
Risk mitigation planning is a method of seeking options and ways to improve opportunities and minimize threats to attaining the project goals in software development. To implement risk mitigation, several risk mitigation initiatives should be executed. Monitoring the risk mitigation progress involves tracking the spotted risks, validating new risks, and assessing risk process effectiveness throughout the project duration.
Better results, reduced risks
Most software development projects are designed to be distinct from those available apps in the market. Oftentimes, the main objectives include developing innovative features, more efficient apps or promoting more advanced technology in software engineering. Any software project manager is fully aware that pursuing any software product will always experience project risks.
Project risks are common and prevalent when developing software projects. As a result, stakeholders must collaborate to identify, evaluate, and mitigate any risks that may hamper the project’s success. For development teams that experience limited time and budget constraints, well-planned risk mitigating activities should be in place ahead of time to attain successful software development efforts.
There is no secret ingredient in responding to project risks. If left unguarded, the software development project may face unplanned or inadmissible setbacks. These challenges could cause project terminations, schedule delays, budget constraints, discontinuities, and overrun of task resources.
Role of risk management in software projects
Risk management is the ability of the development team to contain risks and setting forth some mitigating measures to resolve project issues. Initially, you need to identify the problem before creating a plan or resolution. Always be prepared to act on any risk that may come. Always seek the entire development team’s inputs for risk mitigation planning strategies and minimize the risks and impacts on the software project.
Basic risk management initiatives
As part of risk management planning, the following activities should be undertaken.
- Determine the potential risks and triggers.
- Find the risks and learn to prioritize what should be resolved right away.
- Draft a work plan linking every risk to a mitigation initiative.
- Always check risk triggers during the duration of the project.
- Execute a mitigating action plan in case a risk is identified.
- Communicate how risk is being handled in the project.
Risk identification and classification
Many software projects are prone to risks brought by different potential issues that may arise. Previous experiences of development teams from early projects managed can assist managers in resolving risks. The main issue is not focused on how the classification is created but instead to accurately identify all the real threats to project completion. Preparing a simple and effective classification scheme is to monitor risks based on their project impacts.
Risk types in managing software projects
For many software projects, there are five general risk impact areas.
#1 Newly created and indefinite technologies. Most software projects employ new technologies. For ever-changing platforms, strategies, methods, standards, and systems, all these contribute to the probability that technology risks can occur in virtually any software development project. Continuous training and skill upgrading are vital for the development team. Poor or misuse of any new technology can lead to project failure.
#2 User and functional needs. Software demands consider all end-users needs based on project system’s features, functions, and service quality. As always, defining the requirement methodology is quite tedious, lengthy, and complex. Also, the requirements may be modified based on discoveries, prototyping, and integration events. Revision in basic requirements will likely occur while undertaking the entire project, where changes to user requirements may not be related to functional needs. These issues may frequently cause one or more critical failures of an unplanned software development project.
#3 App and system infrastructure. Poor selection of a platform, tool or architecture can cause detrimental effects on your software project. Regarding technological risks, the development team must involve experts who fully know the architecture and can make sound decisions in software design options.
#4 High performance. Make it a point that any risk management plan covers both user and partner expectations when it comes to better performance. Benchmarks and threshold evaluation should be considered in the entire project to ensure that the software project is being conducted in the right direction.
#5 Organizational changes. Organizational issues can have detrimental impacts on project completion. Project management should include efficient execution of software work plan while striking a balance between the development team’s needs and the client expectations. Effective staffing involves selecting team members with the right skill sets that are a perfect match for the project.
Risk management plan
Upon identification of the potential risks based on their types, the project manager should draft a risk mitigation plan. As part of a comprehensive strategy, the risk management plan cites the resolution for every potential risk encountered.
Regular monitoring and mitigation
To make it more effective, each software risk monitoring plan should be the focus of most software project tasks. This means checking the project progress during scheduled meetings and critical activities. Monitoring activities involve the following.
1. Publication of project reports, including the status of risk management issues.
2. Revision of risk plans based on any major revisions in project schedules.
3. Ongoing review and prioritization of risks encountered, minimizing those with the lowest probability.
4. Evaluate possible new risks after modifications to the project timeline or scope of work.
5. As the risk happens, the best mitigation resolution must be undertaken based on the risk management plan.
Concerning mitigating options, these include the details below.
- Accept. Recognize how the risk impacts the project. Consider accepting the risk without any project revision. Approving the project management plan is required.
- Avoid. Modify the project scope, timeline or issue to reduce the risk effects.
- Control. Act on issues to reduce the impact or risk intensity.
- Transfer. Execute a corporate shift regarding in accountability, authority or responsibility to other stakeholders that accept the risk.
- Ongoing monitoring. It is best for low-impact risks while checking the project’s progress for potentially high-risk impacts.
For the entire project, it’s crucial to promote good communication for all stakeholders, developers, managers, and quality assurance staff, specifically marketing and client representatives. Sharing details and seeking feedback about risks can greatly increase the possibility of project success.
Risk mitigation planning is a multidisciplinary discipline. This article is an overview of managing software project risks. Employ the suggested best practices for managing project risks on your software development tasks. In addressing project risks, always think forward about risk management initiatives. Unable to do so, the project team can experience several crises.
Regarding resolutions to project risks, it is best to employ checklists. Also, compare them with previous projects managed. Take time to prioritize risks by ranking them based on the severity of the exposure.
Create your top-10 or 20 project risk lists. Similar to many project managers, you can recycle this list on your next project. Proactively watch out for potential risks by meeting with main stakeholders, specifically with the marketing group and the client. To make resolving issues more efficient, classify large risks into smaller and manageable risks.
Engage your stakeholders to suggest resolutions and communicate how to solve the risks for the entire project.