Types of Risks in Software Projects

Are you developing any Test plan or Test strategy for your project? Have you addressed all the risks properly in your Test plan or Test strategy?

As testing is the last part of the project, it’s always under pressure and time constraint. To save time and money you should be able to prioritize your testing work.

How will you prioritize testing work? For this, you should be able to judge more important and less important testing work. How will you decide which work is more or less important? Here comes the need for Risk-Based Testing.

Types of Risks in Software Projects

What is Risk?

“Risk is an uncertain future event with a probability of occurrence and potential for loss”

Risk identification and management are the main concerns in every software project. Effective analysis of software risks will help in effective planning and assignment of work.

In this tutorial, we will cover the different “Types of Risks”. In our upcoming tutorials, we will try to focus on Risk Identification, Risk Management, and Mitigation.

Risks are identified, classified and managed before the actual execution of the program. These Risks are classified into different categories as elaborated below.

Categories of Risks

#1) Schedule Risk

Project schedules get slipped when project tasks and schedule release risks are not addressed properly. Schedule risks mainly affect a project and finally on the company’s economy and may lead to project failure.

Schedules often slip due to the following reasons:

  • Wrong time estimation.
  •  Resources are not tracked properly. All resources like staff, systems, skills of individuals, etc.
  •  Failure to identify complex functionalities and time required to develop those functionalities.
  •  Unexpected project scope expansions.

#2) Budget Risk

Budget risk includes the following:

  •  Wrong budget estimation.
  •  Cost overruns
  •  Project scope expansion

#3) Operational Risks

Risk of loss due to improper process implementation, failed system or some external event risks.

Causes of Operational Risks:

  •  Failure to address priority conflicts.
  •  Failure to resolve responsibilities.
  •  Insufficient resources
  •  No proper subject training.
  •  No resource planning
  •  No communication within the team.

#4) Technical Risks

Technical risks generally lead to failure of functionality and performance.

Causes of Technical Risks are:

  •  Continuously changing requirements
  •  No advanced technology is available or the existing technology is in the initial stages.
  •  The product is complex to implement.
  •  Difficult project module integration.

#5) Programmatic Risks

These are external risks beyond the operational limits. These are all uncertain risks that are outside the control of the program.

External events can be:

  •   Running out of funds.
  •   Market development
  •   Changing customer product strategy and priorities.
  •   Government rule changes.


These are all the most common categories in which Software Project Risks can be classified.

We hope this tutorial would have given you a clear insight into what Risk is along with its categories.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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91 thoughts on “Types of Risks in Software Projects”

  1. explain a risk factor with a practical example in daytoday life…………………….

  2. I had dropped a mail to chandra..regd severity and priority justfication..u can check and reply me the comments..

    Best Regards,
    vamsi Krishna

  3. greeting
    i’d like to know if any one have a general risk list for the IT projects.


  4. Hi
    I am Vanitha

    I have done B.E(ISE) passed out in 2009. Now i am working in small company handling CRM project(sending sms to customer) . I am working as sofware developer. Actually it is a small company, they dont have any testing tool. so i have coded form. Now i am looking job on software testing.

    So How do get prepare???
    Which Testing Method is good for CRM??

    If HR Asks me….. why i am looking job in software testing field..
    Then How do i Convice him???

    Please help me……

  5. can you anybody tell me what testing we are use in software projects commonly. how to find the differences .

    thanking you

  6. Since you mention your next article, it would help to have a link to that article. I don’t see one anywhere obvious.

  7. Hi Vanitha,
    Testing methods are common for every tool if you have domain knoledge means enough.
    now a days in market having SAP testing,.net testing and Mainframe Testing etc..but the testing methodologies are common in software testing what ever the application is your going to apply common proceedure so dont bother about it you concentrate on concepts of testing and in which time we are going to appy these tests in application.
    And the HR asking you why you choose testing ?
    comparing to my Engineering degree and skills it is suitable to me and i have such politeness to work on it.

  8. Hi Ramani ,

    Please find the answer for
    Query: 49 Ramani chandra on 09.17.10 at 10:25 am

    for me it seems, we should test High priority and low severity bug if there is strict time line.(Delivery time is very near and you cannot focus on Major bug fixes)

    Justifications :
    # We can easily make the fixed code on board with minimal time .
    #most probably , the test effort and bug fix effort will be less for low severity bug. for example : A spelling mistake on the home page .Developer can easily fix the issue and deploy the bug fixed code on board with in minimal time.
    #If developer tries to fix the high severity issue , QA needs to do a regression test to ensure previously working functionalities are not breaking.

    Please let me know other’s comments/ thoughts .

  9. Hi Veronica

    Please find the answer for your query :
    Veronica on 12.19.07 at 8:06 am

    When you say you need to know Testing Process..
    i would like to know where you want to pitch in ..

    1)Test Requirement Analysis
    2)Test Scenario specification
    3)Test case/Script preparations
    4)Test Execution
    5)Test Reporting
    6)Test Report Analysis & Review

  10. Hi
    I am Sr. Software engineer with an experince of 8 years in manual testign and in Managing projects (As acting team lead). could any one mail me the type questions that can be asked to an 8 yrs experinced tester.

    Thanks in advance


  11. Hi
    I am Sr. Software engineer with an experince of 8 years in manual testign and in Managing projects (As acting team lead). could any one mail me the type questions that can be asked to an 8 yrs experinced tester.

    My email id is : ritika102011@gmail.com

    Thanks in advance.


  12. i am a student from informatics computer school running my Bsc in computing. as part of my assignment i was assigned to identify 10 possible risks that can occur in an examination system for a school. and i have no idea how to identify these risks. can someone pls help me..thanks.

  13. Risk is nothing but minimizing of the budget to test without compromising on losing the biz due to missed defects.

    In more simple terms if you take it,

    suppose you have to test an application, and you can do 100% Test coverage and it takes suppose 25 man days,

    Now do some analysis,

    First : if you reduce the man days available to 22 and check for the coverage how much you can target, whihc in some statistical analysis comes to 90.3%

    Second : if you reduce the man days available to 20 and check for the coverage how much you can target, whihc in some statistical analysis comes to 90.2%

    Third : if you reduce the man days available to 18 and check for the coverage how much you can target, whihc in some statistical analysis comes to 90.1%

    Fourth : if you reduce the man days available to 16 and check for the coverage how much you can target, whihc in some statistical analysis comes to 85.1%

    then it is obvious that bringing the testing time to 18 days gives a test coverage to 90.1 % but any further reduction results some drastic change, however with 22 man days of effort it is not making much of a variation from teh one at 18.

    Hence proceed with 18 man days .

    But there are some tools which big organisation develop for their projects and proceed with a Risk Based Testing, which is more statistical to help the client be in synch with what is the risk.

  14. i want learn s/w testing tool…but i don,t have any idea about this…..if i learn with in 30day…r not?..it easy r not?if i learn this i’ll get a job easly?

  15. hi anusha
    Testing is easy when u like to do.
    1. u should be done BSC or BE or MSC IT or MCA, then it is easy to understand the tool
    2. manual testing is easy to learn no programming skill required
    3. for automation u should know vb or c# pgm languages
    u can learn with in 30 days manual testing

    if u want any help regarding books or tool free feel to contact me

  16. Does anybody know what Risk aging is and how do we monitor it ?

  17. Frankly I’m a little saddened by the blasé nature of the attitiude towards testing as a profession on here.
    I’ve been a professional test consultant to some of the UK’s and the world’s largest IT programmes over the last 15 years and would say that the information being disseminated BY POSTERS on here is largely innaccurate and misleading to those wishing to start a career in testing.

    If you have any sense at all you’ll already know that taking you knowledge from others on internet forums is definitely no way to learn in the long run. Read, pay to study for an ISQTB or similar, most of all, go out and get a role with a group of test professionals who will pay very little but give you great experience on projects.

    Don’t waste your time trying to cut corners by getting ‘tips’ in forums, trust me, though the information presented by the website is GOOD, the information given by other posters is weak at best.

    So I repeat, and I’m sure the site owner would agree, there’s no substitute for real experience and proper study, but sites like this can be an excellent supplement and a great help whilst you’re working (I came here to read a little regarding representation of risk in test planning and got distracted by the terrible posts of some people).

    Good luck all

  18. how to evaluate the potential risk and to justify plan for risk management in deployement and implementation of software

  19. i appreciate ur stand as in helping us.but i need to understand more about risks under project recruitment

  20. what is the main difference between qa and qc?

  21. Hi

    How to handle and mitigate these technical risks and Programmatic Risks? i am not finding contusion link.
    if any where i am missing plz mail me.

    The test strategy is provides the steps tobe taken under while testing and the efforts, time and
    resourcess required for the testing. am i rite.

  22. How to handle and mitigate these technical risks and Programmatic Risks? i am not finding contusion link.
    if any where i am missing plz mail me

  23. Hi, does anyone know what are the risks for property rental ?

  24. i am dilwar.i am in BCA 2nd year students. i have a problam bt i can’t understands how is it comeplite.i will trying to many times of this question but can’t proparly solve it plz somebody person i request u solve this question and send to me
    if a sotwere had failures in 100 tests during 10 day of testing what would be a good estimate of the realiabillity of the softwere over the next day?week?

  25. Hey,

    when you say next article, please add a link to that location so that we can access it.


  26. I need an best IT explainer I m ready to pay an amount…..

  27. please talk to me shall guide for better option


  28. this site is very best for software project mangment

  29. What are the Common risks and assumptions deck for Mainframe testing?

  30. I am looking for a job in Software Testing.plz help me in if anyone has vacancy in their company.

  31. Pooja – Send me yr CV, my company is looking for software testers, we are a MNC company based in cyberjaya, malaysia

  32. Gone are those days, where QA sit in a corner and find faults and just log it manually with the products or application. no one needs those testers now, own the application, fix the issue and take pride. no shortcuts, work hard

  33. Clasify them from the start as project or product risk. It will help a lot.

  34. any reference or citation of research paper, journal or book about this data ???

  35. hi ,
    i want to know the answer of a question asked in inteview.

  36. Thanks for data…


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