Components of software development risk: how to address them? A\nproject manager survey

  • Ropponen J
  • Lyytinen K
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Software risk management can be defined as an attempt to formalize
risk oriented correlates of development success into a readily
applicable set of principles and practices. By using a survey instrument
we investigate this claim further. The investigation addresses the
following questions: 1) What are the components of software development
risk? 2) how does risk management mitigate risk components, and 3) what
environmental factors if any influence them? Using principal component
analysis we identify six software risk components: 1) scheduling and
timing risks, 2) functionality risks, 3) subcontracting risks, 4)
requirements management, 5) resource usage and performance risks, and 6)
personnel management risks. By using one-way ANOVA with multiple
comparisons we examine how risk management (or the lack of it) and
environmental factors (such as development methods, manager's
experience) influence each risk component. The analysis shows that
awareness of the importance of risk management and systematic practices
to manage risks have an effect on scheduling risks, requirements
management risks, and personnel management risks. Environmental
contingencies were observed to affect all risk components. This suggests
that software risks can be best managed by combining specific risk
management considerations with a detailed understanding of the
environmental context and with sound managerial practices, such as
relying on experienced and well-educated project managers and launching
correctly sized projects

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  • Janne Ropponen

  • Kalle Lyytinen

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