It’s known beyond a shadow of a doubt that there are a few risks involved throughout the process of a software development life cycle. This is where risk management and mitigating threats come into the picture. There are various aspects to risk management. You need to identify the problem, plan and be ready to act at a moment’s notice. There is also a need for someone with past experiences in this subject to help cut down on as much of the threat as you can.

Software risk management in simple terms includes the identification and classification of programmatic, technical, and process risks. These risks can then be linked to a mitigation strategy.

This article aims at explaining all the different elements that are part of software risk management.

The software development risks register

The key point to remember while planning for your risk management is to keep it simple, especially when it comes to custom software development. In this regard, a risk register has been showcased to be a reliable tool. A comprehensive risk register should contain the following aspects:

  • Recognition Date: The date on which the stakeholders identified and acknowledged the risk involved.
  • Description of the risk: This would include a summary of the risk and should not be complicated
  • Probability of occurrence: Give an estimate of the probability for the risk to materialize
  • Owner: A person who is to identify as the person to take charge if action is required
  • Severity: The intensity at which the risk would impact the project if it is to materialize
  • Status: This included everything the team views as a risk. From potential damage to monitoring to occurrence to its elimination
  • Action: In case the if the risk materializes, then what the response should be for it.
  • Loss size: This should be estimated as soon as a risk has come to your knowledge. A measure of the negative impact will be on the project if the risk is to materialize.

Following are steps you can take to mitigate the risk to your software project:

1. Track the risk before they become a serious issue

You should make it a habit before starting any new project to identify all the likely risks that may take place. In simple terms, risk means a situation or behavior that might cause a problem for your software project.

An easy way to get help to identify the risk and get ahead of the situation is by first making a list of all the features you plan on developing. Then evaluate each of those features based on the following three factors:

  • Completeness- everything you know about that particular feature
  • Volatility- the changes of that feature changing
  • Complexity- the difficulty level of building the feature

When you combine all these three factors for every feature, you will be able to estimate the level of the risk.

2. Move on to tackling the riskest step in the development process

Once you have identified the problems that might come up with each feature, start developing the riskest one first. When you have moved on from the most difficult task, it will help you maintain the timeline of the entire project better.

Begin a new development project by tackling the riskiest, most difficult parts first, identifying potential risks, and planning for them early on increases the odds that a project will meet its deadlines.

The following are a few tips you can keep in mind so that you can notice any user experience or technical challenge early on:

  • Visualization of the high-risk steps in the process

By doing the high-risk tasks first, you will be able to track them in a better manner. This will also focus on this section more as it will need more attention than the rest. You will also keep track of the timeline and budget better.

  • You can timebox research on high risks.

By doing so, the development team has only a fixed amount of time on each issue and does not eat into the time meant for something else.

  • Do user research

You can learn about user experience by interviewing them and keep track to see how they engage with the products and services offered by you.

3. Make use of the Agile Approach

By using the Agile approach for your development process, you’ll be able to break the whole process into smaller chunks. This allows you some room to make any adjustments when you see any risk approach.

There are two parts to this:

  • The first is when you cannot anticipate the risks. In this case, you should frontload the uncertain areas of your project.
  • Second, when you can anticipate the risks to your project. It would be wise to wait and then take on all the risky parts of the project after completing all the less complicated aspects.

4. Plan for the Risk

Once you have identified the risky features and areas, you can make a plan to reduce the risk factors involved in them. Communicate the risk and plan of action to every part of the project to clear out any misstep when the plan has to be carried out.

5. Need to track metrics such as budget, scope, and schedules

These are the big three metrics of any project; budget, scope, and schedule. But do kind in mind that these metrics will only tell you when something has already gone wrong. For example, if you have gone over your budget or timeline.

6. Getting feedback about the entire development process

There can be various times when developers struggle to complete a task and cannot focus on the risks involved.

This feedback and improving communication process will help you check in with the human elements associated with the risks of a project.

To help improve this, you could:

  • Hold daily meetings for your projects to check up on all your members and get more on-ground feedback about the development process.
  • Make use of the different task management apps to keep on top of all the different assignments.

By combing all these factors, you should keep on track with your development process timeline with the least amount of risk involved. Every step counts in the overall grand scheme of the project.