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A risk management plan is crucial for a software development project. When risks are ignored at any stage of a project, it can result in quality, cost, and scheduling issues. Companies often don’t put enough emphasis on risk management, resulting in extra costs and an increased workload down the line. Understanding what risk management entails and how to use it effectively can minimise the risk of failure in your next project.

What it involves

Risk management comprises of identifying risks during software projects, which are then classified and monitored during the process. Take quick action if any of these risks come to light to reduce the impact. Many organisations use a risk management plan, which is part of a larger project plan. These plans help to identify the response for each risk in the case of it occurring. A risk register is central to this and will describe the potential threats to the current project.

Software development projects have a large risk of cost, quality, and usability issues and often overrun or fall off schedule. When too many of these issues occur, failure is likely for the project. Many project managers still consider risk management to be an unnecessary expense, which involves too much extra work. However, when implemented correctly, it can save money and time in the long run by identifying issues early in the project.

Benefits of risk management

Risk management isn’t something that will immediately show results, but when implemented into every future project, it can save your business time and money in the long run. Some companies may already have a current yet poorly constructed risk management process that overlook significant areas of concern. When applied correctly, risk management will result in more successful and completed projects. If you have a team developing software, you’ll also find it helps them overcome problems easily and avoid the many complicated issues that may arise.

Risk management helps a company to respond quickly to issues and plan in advance for unforeseen circumstances. This will allow you to focus on the task at hand and ensures resources are used effectively. When used in your future projects, it can reduce costs and the resources needed for your entire project and process. The benefits of risk management far outweigh the drawbacks of the time and effort involved, so it’s no surprise that more companies now understand the importance of using this within various processes.

Tips for effective risk management

Risk management can minimise the chance of failure for your next project. However, certain elements must be taken into consideration for the best chance of success. By following these top tips for effective risk management, you’ll reduce the possibility of your project failing and enjoy the benefits associated with risk management.

Involve your whole team

While it can be tempting to hand over this project to one person, you are far more likely to succeed if everyone working on your project is involved to some extent. The more team members involved in the process, the more likely they can identify any risks throughout the project. The quicker you can identify risks, the more likely they are to be resolved. Create a good system that allows everyone to identify and report potential risks so that it becomes second nature for your whole team.

Ranking the risk

Upon identifying a risk, your team will need to document their findings. An essential part of this process is ranking the risk on a scale, leading you to take the correct action for this potential issue. A risk register or database explicitly designed for risk management may be employed which will help flag the most serious issues and keep track of any concerns during the project. Ranking risks can help to alert your whole team to the most critical issues you may face.  Don’t ignore smaller risks as they may have a ripple effect on the entire project.

Learn from past mistakes

If your previous projects have all experienced the same issues, it’s clear there is a particular downfall area in your processes. By tracking trends and identify weaknesses within your development projects, it’s easier to avoid these issues occurring again. More time and attention is needed for those areas where there are obviously some major issues with your processes. If you don’t take the time to reflect on each past project, there’s a strong chance of the issue happening again. At the end of each project, take the time to discuss your risk management process as a team. Identify its strengths and weaknesses, so you can learn and grow from this project and apply what you’ve learnt to future work.

Monitor and review risks

It’s good to identify and record the risks, but you’ll need to keep referring to them throughout the project. By using a risk register, as mentioned above, you can review the risks throughout the project. From there, you can adjust their rank / score and identify any risks that have reduced or worsened.

Risk management is an ongoing process throughout the entire project and isn’t completed after the first audit. Ensure your whole team is engaged and don’t leave risk management to a single individual. Encourage your team to keep identifying risks at every stage of the project to avoid delays to your completion date. By reinforcing the importance of risk management, it will become a natural part of your work process.

Risk management is a continuous process and should be used throughout the development of any new software. A team approach to risk management is key. By following these tips listed above and employing a company to assist you with risk management, you’ll find you can save your project from delays and costly mistakes in the long run.

Contact the BSPOKE Software team today. We have created software for a variety of businesses, some examples of which you can view by clicking here.