Project planning is an essential task in software development projects. According to Sommerville (2007), good management cannot guarantee the success of a software project, but bad management usually reflects in the failure of the projects. In the software project management Risk Analysis is a key subject to be included in the project plan.
As a job of project managers, identifying and documenting the risks will allow to the whole development team to take actions to mitigate it to do not let the project to fail.
As seen in the picture below, project risks should be identified, analyzed, planned and monitored in order to allow the actions to mitigate them to do not let the project to have problems, which will delay or even make it to fail.
Figure 1 The risk management process
My discussion relates below the three risks a project may have and how they can lead to negative impacts on a software project.
RISK #1 SCOPE CREEP
Scope creep can be defined as anything which is added to the project and was not part of the initial scope or plan. According to Kendrick (2015), by adding little value, the project will get more and more delayed, and the changes in scope delay so much that the ultimate deliverable has no value anymore because the need will no longer pressing or met by other means. Scope creep may lead a project to real negative impacts, and this is a very common subject in the project planning.
RISK #2 WRONG ARCHITECTURAL CHOICE
Based on my experience, since the beginning of the Project, after gathering the non-functional and even functional requirements, a good architecture solution must be designed. If you consider the Java environment, for instance, you may have different approaches to work with web-applications. Component based approaches may lead to a better user experience, depending on the solution it is required to be met, using component based approaches may lead to performance issues in the user browser and even in the application server, on the other hand going with action controller based applications, it may lead to more performance, however less productivity.
Less performance may lead to a project to fail, if we consider a platform which allows millions of users to be online at the same time. Less productivity also may lead to the project to fail, if the project-budget is limited.
RISK #3 COMPANY TURNOVER
If we consider a software process like RUP, for instance, where most of the artifacts keep the project information, an often company turn-over would not let a project to have more than 80% of having loss, however if we consider a project where the agile methodologies are being used, the company turn-over may lead the project to have many losses or even to fail, and I’d say in more than 80% of chances. The weak documentation or even the lack of resources to understand the project would make the new stakeholders to a big delay in terms of deliveries and the outcome might not met the software initial requirements.
Sommerville, I, 2007. Software Engineering. 8th. England: Pearson. pp. 104-113.
Kendrick, T, 2015. Identifying and Managing Project Risk. 1st. New York: Amacom. pp. 52-53.