Quality Assurance and Project Management

Apr 6 2009   10:29AM GMT

Six facts about software application risks

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja

Similar to SDLC (software development lifecycle management), there is RLC or Risk lifecycle management in a software application in which there are different stages involved. The different stages could be risk identification, risk assessment, impact analysis, countermeasure identification, countermeasure assessment, risk plan etc. There are certain facts about Risk:

  • 1. All Risks identified or perceived in a software application do not necessarily happen in real application usage scenario: This is a proven fact that all risks identified or perceived from an application during its pre-launch stage do not happen during post launch real-life usage stage. Some risks perceived may not happen ever. And some unidentified risks may appear later. Whatever is the case, it is always good to identify the risks that may occur during its usage, the more realistic the better. It is not important that they happen in real scenario, more important is to plan how to cope up if at all they happen.
    2. All risks have an impact: All risks have an impact – large, medium or small, but they have. It is the impact that makes its severity high, medium or low and accordingly a plan is prepared to handle the risk, when it happens.
    3. Same risk in different circumstances will have different impact: The same risk will vary in terms of its severity under different circumstances of usage, user base, geographic location, type of application etc.
    4. No application is 100% risk free, whatsoever countermeasures are taken for it, and only thing that gets done with the countermeasures is lowering of risk: A risk plan to countermeasure a risk never fool-proofs a risk’s impact, only it helps in lowering its impact to a certain level.
    5. Risk Impact Cost vs. Countermeasure cost: It is very important to have an analysis of both before deciding on the plan. Some risk may be very severe but its countermeasure cost could be unaffordable.
    6. The biggest risk in any application is identification of wrong risks, impact, and plan: Identification of wrong risk with right estimation of impact and countermeasure is useless. Equally useless is identification of right risk with wrong impact analysis (thereby underestimating or overestimating the impact) and arriving at a wrong countermeasure. Right risk identification with right impact analysis but with wrong countermeasure also is a waste of efforts.
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