Key things you should know about mitigating risks in software development projects
It’s an unfortunate fact that risks in software development projects are a very real problem that can affect delivery time, cost, and final product. Proper risk mitigation is all about assessing potential issues at the start of a project so that the success of a software project isn’t dampened by something that could have been prevented.
At the beginning of each project, we advocate for a candid conversation regarding expectations and risk mitigation strategies to ensure that any issues that arise over scheduling, scope, budget, deadlines, and estimates are addressed at the outset.
In general, software development projects suffer from four categories of risk:
- Organizational risks
- Schedule risks
- Operational risks
- And technological risks
Within each of these categories, there are unique risks that can threaten your project. Here is a brief overview of some of the common risks we’ve encountered over the years:
Over the years, we’ve learned that proper time management is crucial when it comes to software development. When not appropriately estimated, it’s one of the most common places for projects to falter.
In an ideal world, a project’s deadlines would be something discussed between developer and client with both understanding the latter’s expectations and the former’s reality. Unfortunately, that isn’t often the case. It’s not uncommon for clients to have hard deadlines set before involving a development team. This means that development teams have to work overtime or bring more developers on the project without insight to get the product out on time. This risks bugs or problems being overlooked or worse, created and can blow the deadline as well as the budget.
Not enough active communication
Open communication between the development team and the client is essential for making sure a project goes smoothly. We strive to make sure that clients understand their role at each phase of the project. From when their input is needed and with whom, to when final approval is required, proper communication is key for having a project go off without a hitch.
Failing to meet deadlines often happens due to timelines being created optimistically. If an aspect of the project isn’t properly considered before it begins (like a client’s commitment or a resource’s availability) then a project can suffer.
To mitigate this risk, we use the project management tool Azure DevOps, an end-to-end, automated solution that allows us to deliver software faster by automatically building and testing new code. As a result, it allows us to go through quality assurance faster.
We also use the principles of agile methodology to keep schedules under tight control when working on projects
Proper project management is an artful balancing act that weighs the needs of the development team versus the expectations of the client. Risk mitigation strategies in the project management plan for the efficient execution of the project.
Underestimating the value of UX design
UX analysis is crucial to a successful software development project. Skipping the proper design process in favor of development tasks or not giving enough hours to UX planning could mean that your project falls behind when usability testing and UI structure don’t work out as planned.
Lack of testing
Sometimes, clients believe that a simple way to save money is to forgo QA people for testing and have the developers do it themselves. By doing this you could miss bugs and laps deadlines as the developers try to balance conflicting tasks.
Failures on a technical level will mean the failure of functionality and overall performance. Avoiding these risks means avoiding these common pitfalls:
Choosing the wrong technology
Understanding the problem you’re trying to solve is critical and it can (not always) dictate a decision to invest in new and trendy technology. What’s more important is to keep the focus on technology that solves your problem and will evolve within your environment. Putting too much weight on popular technology might mean you overlook other factors such as your development team’s experience, business environment, and actual user needs.
Opting for new, untested technology
It’s not wise to assume that the development team can troubleshoot issues that arise from navigating new technology at the same speed they would with known technology. If a client is keen on new technology, it’s vital to consider budgeting for more time and troubleshooting.
At Convergine we have extensive experience and expertise to help identify and reduce risks upfront, and to support our client during the project, which will ultimately make for a smoother experience and a more successful project. Want to learn more about software development process and solutions that can evolve with your business, let’s talk.
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