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What is Software Risk Management (SRM)?

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Software risk management (SRM) is a practice that combines a set of tools, processes, and methods for managing risks in the software development life cycle.

In the SRM process, we want to make effective decisions about the things that can go wrong at different levels (Business, project, and software), understand the importance of each risk and its severity, create a dedicated strategy to handle it, and finally implement the strategy to remove it.

The 5 phases of Software risk management 

  1. Risk identification - The first and probably the most crucial stage of the entire process. In this step, we want to search and identify the risks that may come up during the SDLC and affect the project.

  2. Risk Analyze - In this stage, we need to determine the level of risk for each item in the list we prepared in stage one; the level of risk is determined by the likelihood of the risk occurring and its impact on the project.

  3. Plan/implementation - Based on the analyzed information, a plan is created and implemented (this plan is set to handle each risk with the corresponding set of actions).

  4. Track/Monitor - Tracking the set of decisions and actions that are issued.

  5. Controlling - Fixing any deviations that occurred at the implantation stage.

What data should be included in the Risk report? 

Any risk report should contain the following components:

  1. Trigger – The reason that will cause the occurrence of the risks.

  2. Probability – What is the “Likelihood” of this risk to append?

  3. Consequences – What will be the effect of the risk?

  4. Solution – What solution/Tasks should be performed to eliminate the risk or prevent it from happening.

The main goals of the SRM process

  • Develop an efficient test plan that will cover the areas with higher risks.

  • Learning the cause of risks and removing them from future projects.

  • Minimize the impact on different levels of the SDLC.

  • Monitor the changes made based on risk removal.

  • Anticipate and identification of the hidden risks.

  • Understand the location of the risks.

  • Provide confidence in the software.

  • Remove the risks.

The main benefits of the SRM process

  • Help to improve the current business strategy and project planning.

  • Help to answer the question “How much testing is enough..?”

  • Help to remove potential risks in earlier stages of the project.

  • Create better communication between the business units.

  • Reduce the probability of encountering unwelcome surprises.

  • Provide an effective way to use available resources.

  • Help to reduce the number of risks in software.

  • Increase the chances to finish the project on time.

  • Help to design a productive testing matrix.

  • Help to design an efficient SDLC process.

  • Protecting the reputation of the business.

  • Promoting continuous improvement.

  • Lower the project costs.

The environmental keys that build a successful SRM process

  • Realistic demands of the process and its outcomes (Technical, schedules Etc.).

  • Management should review the SRM activities and add their input.

  • An appropriate budget should support the SRM process.

  • The SRM process should be supported with a dedicated timeframe.

  • Management should endorse and support the SRM process.

  • Management and workers' commitment to the process.

  • Working together to achieve a common goal.

  • The corporation between all resources involved.

  • Define clear project scope.

  • Project personnel is being trained both in the processes to be carried out and in the methods that will be involved.

  • The project owners received the required training to help them identify and remove the risks.

The questions that you need to answer in advance:

  • What is the set of skills and knowledge required from the SRM resources?

  • What is the set of tools that we will use in the process?

  • What are the actions that would be conducted at each step?

  • On which criteria do we prioritize the identified risks?

  • What are the available timelines for the process? 

  • What do we want to achieve in the SRM process?

  • What are the steps that need to be constructed?

  • What are the success/failure criteria?

  • How can we monitor the process?

  • How often do we need to report?

  • Who is going to be involved?

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