Risk Management in Software Development

Basically a risk is a problem that does not occur yet. In other words, it is a potential issue. Now risk management is a critical project management skill. Other project management skills include planning, organizing and communication. If you want to identify risks in your project quickly, you can use a risks checklist. A negative answer to any of the following questions may mean a risk. You should build your own risks checklist according to your specific project, client’s, organization, industry domain requirements and your past learning. Now, let us see risks under various project risk categories. These can be budget risks, scope risks, personnel or people-related risks, schedule risks, technical risks or quality risks. Now let us see the questions to ask under each project risk category.

First is budget risks. Is the funding for the project secure? Is the cost of the project assets like hardware needed, software needed and people-related costs stable? Next, scope risks. Is the project scope defined and agreed by all stakeholders? Are the requirements stable? Next, personnel risks. These are several because of the human element involved. Are the required persons available for the duration of the project? Are they available at the required project work locations or sites? Are the required persons committed to the success of the project? Do the available team members have the required skills and prior experience? If not, can the skills be built and used within the project duration? Is the Management committed to this project? Are real users available for reviews and feedback? Does the team communicate within itself and with other groups? Next, schedule risks. Are the effort estimates and duration estimates realistic? Are these estimates acceptable to the project sponsor? Is the project free from late requirement changes? Is the project free from delays because of external parties? Are the scheduled activities and deliverables on track? Next, technical risks. Have the pre-project feasibility activities found the project to be viable? Are the technologies and tools well understood by the project team? Are the required environments like development staging test and production environments available? Are they sufficient for each requirement? Are the project deliverables reviewed, accepted and actually used? Lastly, we can have quality risks. Are the software requirements well understood by the team and other affected persons? Is the software test strategy capable of meeting the objectives of the business, users and the project? Is there a well-understood process for software testing? Are traction (meaning regular usage), reviews and feedback by the users, clients and management positive? Risk means a possible problem or issue. In this article, we learned how to identify project risks by using a risks checklist. The risks are categorized as budget risks, scope risks, personnel risks, schedule risks, technical risks and quality risks.