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How to Deal With Software Development Risks in Agile Environment?

How to Deal With Software Development Risks in Agile Environment?

There are no mobile app development projects that don’t involve at least some kind of risk. But some projects working with more rigorous approaches and concepts are more prone to such risks. Agile app development projects are more exposed to risks than traditional waterfall development approach. Such increased risk factors are often a result from errors committed by team members, fault lines in planning, process failure and unexpected turns and changes in the product development lifecycle.

Based upon the characteristics of the project in question, in agile development cycle risk factors may vary. We can categorize these risks into five different types. Let’s have a brief look at them.

Five Types of Software Development Risk

  • Budget Risk

    When a project faces the risk of spending more over the allocated budget, the risk factor falls in this category. Budget risk is one of the most commonplace risks for any software development company working with agile software development projects.

  • Manpower Risk

    Manpower risk refers to the risk of losing talented and efficient team members during software development. Even within a short span of time manpower risk can cause significant delay and miscommunication.

  • Knowledge Risk

    When a development project faces silos or when within the project the transfer of information remains imperfect, this is called knowledge risk. Knowledge risk can actually result in relearning that involves a lot of excess labor, resources, and labor.

  • Productivity Risk

    Productivity risk as the name suggests refers to the risk of being less productive or taking more time than the predetermined project deadline for development. When you hire dedicated developer for long-drawn agile projects, make the developer abreast of this risk factor. Such risk is generally common in long projects.

  • Time Risk

    Delay in development is another common risk that most often results in poor project planning, unrealistic timelines and deadlines and a lack of coping up with altered project requirements.

5 Approaches to Manage Risk in Agile Development Projects

Agile Development Projects

Now that the key risk factors for software development projects are already clear to us, it is time to explain how we can manage or mitigate such software development risks.

  • Identify the Risks

    This is the basic or elementary step in agile projects. Either from the simple characteristics risk can be assessed or the internal or external source of the risk can be identified. To identify these risks a SWOT Analysis of the project referring to Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats can be highly effective. Though threats cannot be diffused, at least by knowing them we can build processes to reduce their adverse effects on projects.

  • Categorizing Risks

    When you have identified the risks, it is time to classify them into categories or types based on their characteristics or their impact on the project.

  • Evaluating the Risk Probability And Impact

    The actual measurement if the risk happens when we can know about the probability and impact of them on the project outcome. Though risks with small impacts cannot be instantly detrimental to a project, in the long run, such small impacts can actually pose a bigger threat. For risks with high probability, the development team should give attention with priority.

  • Risk Management

    The most important aspect is to manage risk factors. In this respect, it is to be REM reed that all risks cannot be eliminated in a project. Risk planning goes like contingency planning that tries to understand how risks can be mitigated with the right steps. Risk analysis is done to find the loopholes and shortcomings leading to the most impactful risks and key ways to minimize their effects.

    Risk management involves the project stakeholders and software developers who communicate on the risk factors in an interactive manner. These days, across most enterprises, risk management is closely associated with the decision-making process in enterprises.

  • Proactive Actions

    Proactive actions refer to the “act, fail and act again” approach to risk factor management. It is also about constantly putting risk management strategies into practice to minimize the impact. Most of us tend not to notice risks that are still looking non-harmful. But such risks can actually dismantle the entire project. Besides giving the do-called priority to mitigating high-impact risks, the project managers should give equal importance to performance testing throughout.

    This can easily be said that proactive risk management is the key to agile risk management. This requires figuring out the risk early so that certain solutions can be tested and evaluated for them. In case the risk persists, it is always a great approach to think over the entire project. In any way, it is always advisable to carry out the most difficult tasks first instead of putting them for later.

    Project failure in this respect can actually do good to a project if the boundaries of the possible risk factors can be defined and accordingly a plan can be implemented. Proactive actions are key to risk management for agile development projects. Besides focusing on the highly critical risk factors of a project, the smaller but often repetitive risks should equally be addressed lest they pull down the project performance to a great extent. Many agile projects simply fail because of not addressing the risks with continuous and proactive actions.

  • Repeat

    Finally, in agile development, you need to repeat the same procedure through and through to identify, plan and mitigate risks. From the basic step of identifying the risk factors to proper risk planning and coming with risk combat strategies, every step is of crucial importance for the agile development to become successful.

Conclusion

Agile software development are often subject to several different risk factors. Since maintaining agility is something no project can sacrifice, the developers should be more aware and proactive about risk assessment and control.

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Written by Atman Rathod

Atman Rathod is the Founding Director at CMARIX InfoTech, a leading web and mobile app development company with 17+ years of experience. Having travelled to 38+ countries globally and provided more than $40m USD of software services, he is actively working with Startups, SMEs and Corporations utilizing technology to provide business transformation.

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