DEV Community

Cover image for How to Minimize Software Development Risks?

Posted on • Updated on

How to Minimize Software Development Risks?

There are many problems in the software development process: technical, organizational, human factors. In this article we'll talk about the six main risks faced by the client and the development team. We will also explain how to minimize software development risks.

What is Software Development?

It is the process of development, identifying, projection, programming, documenting, testing, and bug fixing involved in making and maintaining applications, frameworks and other software components. It is a big process of creating and serving code.

Alt Text

How To Manage Risks In Software Development

Any mobile app development project involves certain risks. Risks can vary from project to project and should always be considered during development, but in general, they can be divided into six main categories.

Top 6 Software Development Risks and Mitigation

1. Wrong assessment

When project estimates are created, it happens that they fall short of expectations. The team may select project iteration duration, technology stack and other factors. Disagreements often arise between the client and the team, which leads to an increase in the duration of the task, costs, which can lead to the client will run out of money and won't be able to finish the project.

How to minimize this risk:

  • Сomplete only those tasks that are most important;
  • Add time for developers to learn and mitigate risks in a new project's parts;
  • Add the assumed period for the development team during the week on a task beyond the project;
  • In project management, the cone of uncertainty describes the development of best case uncertainty during the project. At the start of projects, little is known about the product or the results of the work, so estimates are subject to great uncertainty.

2. Capacity variation

A сapacity variation happens if the power of an iteration is changed after the time ranges have been approved. Product owners often want to change the scope of a project. This puts a lot of risk on projects. When the сapacity varies, it greatly affects the developers' ability to follow the initial project schedule.

How to minimize this risk:

  • Small, easy-to-manage iterations of Agile methodology lets you to think and resize your project more frequently;
  • Development of more important tasks.

3. End-user Engagement

This is imperative due to the fact that users will almost accept the software and be connected with its success. You need to understand your users' feedback. These mitigation strategies simplify implementation through agile development.

How to minimize this risk:

  • User testing and feedback;
  • Focus groups;
  • Frequent releases;
  • Beta testing.

4. Low quality code

Poor code quality is one of the most common problems in development and one of the biggest pains of the client. Most often the client does not understand the code and cannot determine its quality. At the end of the project it turns out that the product doesn't work because the developers wrote low-quality code with a lot of bugs, without testing.

Alt Text

How to minimize this risk:

It is important for developers to maintain a high standard for their code.

  • Implementing User Acceptance Criteria;
  • A client can hire a project manager or CTO, who can check the quality of the code and supervise the development team;
  • Follow the company's system of Clear Coding Standards and Guidelines;
  • Testing after each code iteration;
  • Before starting working with a development company, the client can look at a similar project, have a technical interview, or check out the company's Clear Coding Standards.

5. Low Stakeholder Engagement

In order to keep a high level of productivity and meet the agreed deadlines of the project, the client or stakeholder needs to communicate with the development team or project manager often enough. If this is not done, it is possible to lose contact with the team, which can lead to misunderstandings on both sides and increase the project's timeline.

How to minimize this risk:

  • It is necessary to clearly stipulate when the client and customer will be able to conduct User Acceptance Testing. It is important to agree on a response time if either party has a problem or question about the project;
  • Effective selection of Delivery and project goals and priorities.

6. Inadequate Human Resources

Alt Text

Sometimes a stakeholder or a team member has to leave a project unexpectedly for various reasons. Because of this, the project is put on hold until a replacement team member can be found, which increases the project's timeline.

How to minimize this risk:

  • Documentation of the whole process by the development team;
  • A good internal hr-system that if such a situation arises, the team member can be quickly replaced with another;
  • A Project Manager should frequently monitor his team's workload schedule to quickly replace a team member to another project.

Who Can Do To the Risk Management In Software Development

A Project manager is responsible for all tasks related to the project. A Business analyst doing identification and analysis of project requirements. Together they can help to do successful products and to minimize software development risk.

Alt Text

Project manager and risk management

PM's primary responsibility is to carry the customer's idea to finality on time using existing resources. Project Manager needs to create a development plan, organize the team, set up the process of working on the project, give feedback between the teams and the customer, liquidate obstacles for the teams, control the quality and delivery of the product on time.

  • Development of a new product or new functionalities. The PM organizes a meeting with the technical architect and developers, announces the tasks that they have to solve. As a result, the team determines the solutions that development will take.
  • Planning. It is important to take into account all the factors affecting the development progress, including the qualifications of employees and the associated risks, dependence on third-party services, and bug fixing.
  • The control. A daily repeated action that a PM needs to understand what's going on in the project and always keep a finger on the pulse.
  • Fast solution of emerging problems.
  • Communication with the customer, the team, accompanying employees at all stages of the project development.

Business Analyst and software development risk management

Alt Text

The Business Analyst is the person on the project who must identify the client's business problems and find the most effective solution to solve them. At all stages of software development the business analyst analyzes requirements and acts as a bridge between the development team and the client.

  • Identifying customer requirements for the project;
  • Documenting the requirements for the future project;
  • Prototyping customer requirements, brainstorming with the customer and the development team, making tests and questionnaires to better understand and analyze the requirements;
  • Identification of project pain points based on the analysis. Suggesting ways to optimize processes and solve possible problems on the project;
  • Writing a specification, optimization of requirements for the project;
  • Passing on the optimized and analyzed requirements from the customer to the development team.

The main risk

For company

  • Make over budget if it was a fixed price method.
  • Get more requirements from customers in the development process and violation Software Requirement Specification.

For clients

  • Don't fit into the budget.
  • Get a low-quality solution that will break.

The client's solution: hire a specialist from your side, who will check the code and communicate competently with the development team. This is expensive, so many clients choose fixed prices from responsibility models in order not to go beyond the budget.

Follow SolveIt’s checklist to know how to minimize software development risk:

  • Develop a detailed technical specification;
  • Choose the right engagements model based on the funds and advice of the CTO;
  • Follow the previously developed SRS documentation, avoid adding new product requirements during development.

Originally published at

Top comments (0)