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Understanding Software Risks and Software Risk Management

Software risk is acquiring possible losses in the software development process. This loss can be an increase in production cost, poor quality software, unable to complete the project on time, etc. The reason for the existence of software risk is 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. Risk management involves identifying the risk, reducing its impact, reducing the likelihood of risk, and monitoring the risk.

A project manager has to deal with many possible causes of risk.

Some risks are well known to the team and the entire project. If there are not enough developers, then a project can be delayed, and this risk is known. 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. The risk of poor communication is that you don’t get the client’s requirement properly. This is a known risk but what is unknown is if the client has indeed communicated all the information properly or not.

There are completely unknown risks. In these types of risks, technology is usually involved which you have no knowledge about but which your client wants you to work on.

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. All possible vulnerable areas to risk should be checked. To examine all essential areas, a flowchart will help. The known unknowns that can affect the project should be identified. Evaluate any decisions taken related to different factors including technical, operational, political, legal, social, internal and external. Here you define the processes that are important for risk identification.

In software risk analysis, the risk is identified and categorized. Then its impact is analyzed. This is followed by software risk planning. Involved in software risk planning are defining preventive measures that would lower down the likelihood of risks, defining measures that would reduce the impact when a risk happens, and constant monitoring of processes in order to identify risks early.

Software risk monitoring is integrated into project activities and regular checks are conducted on top risks.

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