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Overview of Risk Management

Risk analysis and management are a series of steps that help a software team to understand and manage uncertainty. Many problems can plague a software project. A risk is a potential problem – it might happen, it might not. But, regardless of the outcome, it’s a really good idea to identify it, assess it’s probability of occurrence, estimate its impact, and establish a contingency plan should the problem actually occur.

Everyone involved in the software process-managers, software engineers, and stakeholders participate in risk analysis and management. Software is a difficult undertaking. Lots of things can go wrong and it’s for this reason that being prepared in terms of understanding the risks and taking proactive measures to avoid or manage them is a key element of good software project management.

1. Recognizing what can go wrong is the first step, called “risk identification”.
2. Next, each risk is analyzed to determine the likelihood that it will occur and the damage that it will do if it does occur.
3. Once this information is established, risks are ranked, by probability and impact.
4. Finally, a plan is developed to manage those risks with high probability and high impact. A risk mitigation, monitoring, and management(RMMM) plan or a set of risk information sheets is produced. The risks that are analyzed and managed should be derived from thorough study of the people, the product, the process, and the project. The RMMM plan should be revisited as the project proceeds to ensure that risks are kept up to date. Contingency plans for risk management should be realistic.

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