As the saying goes, “If you don’t take risks, you don’t drink champagne.” No business is complete without risks, whether it’s a training project or managing a real large-scale business. This also applies to development. However, when it comes to a project that involves money, everyone wants to be safe and have backup options in case something goes wrong. In the case of software, this is called risk management in software engineering. It is an integral part of the development process — of course if you take it seriously and professionally. In this article, we will cover this topic in more detail and provide you with a basic understanding of risk management in an interesting IT field.
What is it, and why do you need it?
So what is risk management in software engineering, and why do you need it? At its core, this term combines several measures and actions that will help protect your system and business from possible threats. And the range of threats in modern IT is quite wide:
- Cyber attacks.
- Attempts to steal data.
- DDoS and DoS attacks.
- Malicious actions by competitors.
But that’s not all. Although we are talking about the digital world, it is still inextricably linked to the real world. Therefore, it often needs to be taken into account as well:
- Natural disasters.
- Economic global problems.
- Search and hiring of qualified employees.
- Difficulties with finding servers.
And many other circumstances that could lead to project failure. The task of the risk management process in software engineering is to identify possible threats and think through options for responding to any of these threats. All this is necessary to protect you from losing money, reputation, and customers, as well as to protect your employees and their jobs.
Like any other branch of the development process, there are steps in risk management in software engineering. We will highlight the main ones:
- First: identify possible threats.
To do this, all the key participants in the process should gather representatives of business, development, design, customer experience, and, in principle, all other processes and teams involved in creating a particular software. Why? Because each of these parties may face unforeseen circumstances that could lead to the collapse of the entire project. We can say that this meeting — or a series of meetings — can theoretically resemble a workshop, where the most complete list of possible risks will be compiled.
- Second: analyze and highlight the main ones.
It’s important to note that the importance of risk management in software engineering is to prepare your company for all possible developments. To do this, it is necessary to determine which risks are more likely and which are less likely. However, if you forget about prioritization, you can spend too many resources on this process. Moreover, what is also important to remember is that it is far from certain that you will have to face at least some of the risks. Therefore, it is essential to allocate resources adequately and avoid getting bogged down in endless assumptions instead of getting started.
- Third: avoid as many risks as possible.
Your task is to organize the work process in such a way as to minimize the likelihood of risks. How to do this: Good planning, reinsurance, additional security measures, and sufficient attention to detail can work wonders in this regard. After all, it is often inattention to detail and the desire to do things quickly rather than efficiently that causes complications. Moreover, in the modern world, these two concepts are by no means mutually exclusive. The key is to hire a professional team that knows what risk management in software engineering is.
- Fourth: keep your finger on the pulse of the situation.
It is impossible to predict everything. Think back to the beginning of 2020, when almost no one believed that the mysterious Covid-19 virus could spread beyond China, and there was no talk of a pandemic at all. What did this lead to? At the time of the lockdown, an incredible number of businesses had to adapt to the new conditions from scratch. Was it possible to predict this development? Only if you have a deep understanding of virology and epidemiology. Nevertheless, some companies quickly adapted to remote work conditions by reformatting their algorithms for dealing with risky situations and adjusting them to a specific case. That is, you need to have some flexibility and, at the same time, closely follow the news of the IT environment — and not only.
What types are there
To prevent major losses and damage to your business, it’s essential to understand what types of risk management in software engineering exist.
They can usually be divided into:
The first type deals with threats that occur in a purely technical field: for example, those that relate directly to the development, implementation, or testing of a software product. This item combines everything that can go wrong in the technical field.
The second type of risk relates to the likelihood of creating a product that will not bring profit to the company or will be useless to its potential users. In other words, business risks are when you invest money, time, and resources in a project that won’t pay for itself.
The third type is quite broad, as it often includes risks such as planning errors, incorrect distribution of work, misunderstandings between teams, etc. These are project risks that relate to processes. And although it may seem insignificant, even planning errors can lead to an extension of the work period, not even by weeks, but by months.
As we have seen in this article, the risk management process in software engineering is an extremely important part of the work that guarantees you a higher level of security in various senses of the word. Therefore, the task you face is quite clear and straightforward: when you start developing a software product, make sure that your team has a person or an entire department that will be responsible for forecasting, analyzing, and preventing risks.
You have several options: assemble an in-house team and include a risk manager in the list of specialists. Or, you can contact the contractor and mention during the discussion of all the project details that you need to keep all possible risks under control. This way, you can find a team with experience in risk management or a separate specialist who will deal with these issues.
Who can help?
You can always contact Magnise. We have been creating software of various levels of complexity for many years, as you can see by looking through our portfolio. We are used to taking into account as many risks as possible and building our work, processes, and the software itself so that you don’t have to face these risks at all.
To discuss everything in more detail, sign up for a consultation. We will be happy to create modern software for you!