June 10, 2021 Last updated June 10th, 2021 302 Reads share

Risk Reduction 101: 6 Tips for Managing Software Development Risks

Image Credit: unsplash.com

Undertaking a software development project is a straight shot to adrenaline highs and unparalleled workplace satisfaction. To many, the process of creating and programming new and innovative ideas is a rush unlike anything else.

But the process is not without risks. Whether you are developing an app for a mobile device or a program for an IoT network, setbacks and bugs are a seemingly unavoidable evil.

To avert crises, many companies will use an Agile approach and utilize UAT best practices to develop software. Discover what UAT is and other tips for managing software development risks.

 

Invest in UAT

UAT is an acronym for User Acceptance Testing. It’s a testing system that end-users, or customers/clients who are paying for the software development, implement in hopes of improving quality assurance.

User Acceptance Testing (UAT) aims to verify the program and guide developers to potential trouble areas. The client knows their business and will have a keen eye on what daily operations require. UAT allows clients to see progress and potentially mitigate risks during development.

UAT best practices include the following:

Identify who is testing

A significant first step is identifying the user (or users) that should test the program. Users can be individuals, such as a project manager or a team of people identified explicitly as potential program users.

UAT teams can include admin personnel, frequent clients, or brand-new customers who will give insightful feedback on potential risks.

Identify what needs testing

The next step is to identify potential customer scenarios or test cases. UAT participants will need specific and easy-to-follow steps to identify possible bugs and errors in the program. These users can use this time to brainstorm features the program requires that original developers overlooked or decided to shelve until Phase 2.

Document all issues or bugs

As UAT commences, problems will inevitably reveal themselves. Ensure all UAT testers know where and how to document issues or bugs so that the development team can triage risks and prioritize the needs.

 

More tips for managing software development risks

UAT testing is just one great way to identify risks and potential errors in the system. Here are five more tips for managing software development risks.

Identifying potential risks before starting

Every project will have foreseeable risks that you can identify and triage before beginning. These problems could include personnel (do you have enough developers), timeline (do you have enough time), and scope (do you have too much to do).

You will also want to look at each stage of development to clarify that the correct personnel is assigned and the budget is right-sized for the project. Back-end and front-end development are very different, and you will want to plan accordingly.

Planning for and identifying potential risks will help your team adjust the project as needed before starting.

Plan for expected and unexpected risks

After identifying potential risks, you need to make a plan. This plan should also include bandwidth for unexpected risks because they will undoubtedly happen. You may not know what the unexpected problem will be, but it’s almost a guarantee that something will happen that your team will need to adjust either personnel, timeline, or budget to compensate.

Planning for these unexpected risks will help mitigate the issue when they do eventually happen.

Use Agile approach

Many software development teams will practice the Agile process when managing the project. It’s a process that breaks the development into more manageable stages with checks and balances along the way.

There are many benefits to Agile, including a quicker launch, more flexibility for the team, and higher quality products. The Agile system overall is a great way to mitigate risks for your software development.

Take care of the more complex risks first

Deadlines are a big part of any software development project. To ensure your team meets those deadlines, tackle the most complicated portions of the project first.

Typically these more challenging risks are the areas where you will uncover more problems and issues, so tackling them first will help increase the chances of completing the project in a timely manner.

If these issues take longer than expected, you can mitigate the problem by adding more personnel to other project areas and still meet your deadline.

Have a lot of communication

Communication is essential as your team builds the project and develops software. Streamlined communication is especially relevant if your developers work offshore or in different time zones across the country.

It’s very common to outsource your software development project to international teams. Therefore, having strong communication throughout the project will help limit errors and issues. Regardless of whether your team is in the same room or building as you or across the globe, you will want to facilitate frequent and clear communication (preferably written).

 

Wrap up

Reducing risks during software development can save you time and money when you plan and test appropriately. Although UAT is an excellent process for mitigating risks, having strong communication, assigning clear roles (i.e., who intends to conducting testing and what they are testing), and planning for the unexpected will leave your team in tip-top shape.

Dmitry Kozlov

Dmitry Kozlov

Read Full Bio