This post will show you the value of software product risk assessment.
The Systems Science Institute at IBM determined that the cost of fixing a glitch at the testing stage is at least 6X greater than if the said bug was picked up and dealt with during previous stages of a software development life cycle.
Not only that, but studies have also determined that most bugs, glitches, and other hiccups – like outsourced vendor errors – were foreseeable. Most software issues could have been prevented or at the very least dealt with sooner.
This is the main reason why software product risk assessment is pivotal to your success — your vulnerabilities, threats, and how they impact you in the long run in most cases can be spotted from miles away. They are telegraphed punches that in many cases businesses were too foolish to take seriously.
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What Is Software Product Risk Assessment?
Product risk assessment is the use, analysis, and systematic appreciation of available information, regarding a manufacturing lifecycle — to identify features, characteristics, and product stages that may cause a problem to an upcoming project. Not only during a product's creation, production, shipping, and launch but afterward, while it’s being handled by the consumer.
During software product risk assessment, the project manager’s main goal in mitigating threats is focused solely on the app, firmware, or software of the product. In many cases, the product might actually be software altogether. It is their duty to identify, analyze and prioritize possible risks, draw up contingency plans and have solutions ready in case any of those scenarios pan out.
The main goal is to mitigate postponements and predictable errors that might cause a setback or could create a failure scenario for the project.
A great example of software risk assessment concerns how your current team employs new technologies. It is essential to have trained personnel when it comes to integrating new DB servers, a new programming language, or even new integrations.
Why? An amateur team or even your seasoned team may lack experience with these features. They may lack the know-how when it comes to these new technologies, in such cases, this means you're exposing yourself to higher risks. Which in turn means you're gambling your investment, as well as your shareholders' funding. This is just ONE of the many ways software product risk assessment helps out — it gives you a blueprint of your weak points and where you need to funnel capital and attention to.
Main Software Risk Assessment Tasks
The types of risk assessment required within your framework are proportionate and relative to your budget as well as the operational activities being undertaken. Small projects, with little funding, can get away with a shoestring budget and methodology — working with a competent crew that’s flexible and willing to think on their toes. Larger projects, with a lot of capital at stake, required dedicated teams of experts willing to focus solely on this task.
Nevertheless, whether you’re employing dedicated consultants, or using your own project manager and hoping they are up to the task, the checklist software risk assessment is the same. It’s a three-legged pillar that’s perfectly suited to all operations —- the difference is how much time, effort, and expertise you can pledge to each of them, that’s where your budget comes in.
Identifying software product risks
From the moment you conceive the project – that lighting in a jar, lightbulb spark – to months after the consumer has received the product you need to understand that your software is at risk. There are countless ways it will fail. From distribution lines to server errors, all the way to faulty updates that might interfere with its voice-to-text feature.
You need to identify threats just from the blueprint of the project — to be exact, from that doodle your R&D department jotted on a bar napkin.
For example, have redundancies in place. Something as natural as a team player being benched can hurt your product. Let’s say someone has to take maternity leave, or someone decides to quit, or someone is in a car accident — that absence will cost you.
Not only because you’re missing a valuable staff member but because in many cases proper documentation of what they were doing is missing. You’ll need someone to take the lead on their tasks, and unless that person has a road map in place – one previously recorded by your absentee team member – they’ll have to piece everything together, and that will take up a lot of time.
Analyzing software product risks
Once you ID what problems you might face, then you’ll need to analyze how to approach them. That includes solutions, budgetary considerations, what is doable, and what is simply insurmountable. What’s a ticking time bomb.
In some cases, certain risks are too, well, risky to undertake — companies might decide to mothball a project simply because they couldn’t gamble on its success once a threat was identified.
Prioritizing software product risks
Software product risk assessment is about prioritizing threats. Which ones need to be dealt with immediately and which ones can be placed on the back burner. The reality is that your worst enemy and at the same time best incentive is your deadline — you simply can’t miss a product launch. You can’t postpone it.
How close you are to one will determine what risk you can undertake, which is critical to the launch. In many cases, some problems, some glitches, can be fixed or addressed afterward. Through updates. For example, Apple is notorious for fixing problems – already identified – through updates. You need to balance your risk and take into consideration what you can handle, and what will have a greater impact on your bottom line.
Sometimes, shipping software out with Identified goals is preferable – investment-wise – to delaying a product launch.
The Benefits Of Effective Software Product Risk Assessment
Cost, that’s the main benefit of software product risk assessment. How much profit you make on a product depends on how properly you solve problems and face threats. A properly understood software risk assessment checklist will mean a world of difference during the creation of a product. Why?
Something caught early might define whether you invest in a project or not. One of the main tasks of software risk assessment is something as simple as identifying if there are copyright issues and/or if the software gives you a competitive edge.
The last thing you want is to find out that your competitor already has a project like yours, and that a week before your launch they’re sending out their team of lawyers to harass you.