Types of Risks in Software Projects

Are you developing any Test plan or Test strategy for your project? Have you addressed all 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 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 future uncertain events 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 to effective planning and assignments of work.

In this article, I will cover what are the “Types of Risks”. In the next articles, I 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.

Categories Of Risks

#1) Schedule Risk: Project schedule get slip when project tasks and schedule release risks are not addressed properly. Schedule risks mainly affect a project and finally on company 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

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

#3) Operational Risks: Risks of loss due to improper process implementation failed system or some external events risks. Causes of Operational Risks:

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

#4) Technical Risks: Technical risks generally lead to failure of functionality and performance.
Causes of Technical Risks are:

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

#5) Programmatic Risks: These are the external risks beyond the operational limits. These are all uncertain risks are outside the control of the program. These external events can be:

  •   Running out of the fund.
  •   Market development
  •   Changing customer product strategy and priority
  •   Government rule changes.

These are all common categories in which Software Project Risks can be classified. I will cover in detail “How to identify and manage Risks?” in the next article.

Recommended Reading

90 thoughts on “Types of Risks in Software Projects”

  1. Should we consider and risks as problems while analsing risks?
    More on how to address the risks associsted with resources, mainly human resources like if a tester is leaving the team in between then how to analyse the effect of this on project performance and how to minimise such risks?

  2. Hi, my name’s Veronica.I’m beginner in the knowledge of software testing. May I talk with someone, who can help me understand this process. My english is not so good, but I undestand what you’ll can to say. I read many information about sofware testing, but I nor undestand the essential of this. May I talk with somebody by ICQ who know how it work, who can give me the sample which I try to do the test. In theory I undestand , but in practical I’m zero.
    Please help me somebody!
    Send your IQ address on my e-mail.
    Thanck you very much.

  3. Hi,

    I have a question that how the testers can incorporate these risks in their testing cycle?Is this only be used at the time of creting Test Plan?

  4. I am a fresher I am going to complete my diploma in IT
    in feb month .I have good knowledge of manual testing as well as automated testing such as winrunner,testdirector.load runner and QTP.i have worked in live project. so Ple advice me how to get into company as fresher my Ph no is 9902280190 .

  5. @Vami – Problem is different than risk. Risks are future uncertain events those may or may not occur. Problems are events that are actually occurred.
    Handling the resource risks is fairly depend on management. Project management should have contingency plan if any human resource is not available in between the project. Such contingency plan include backup resources, training approach to new resources. Also fair work distribution and involvement of each project member in every project activity can minimize resource risks.

    @ Hari and Mruga- Ideally each and every risk should be identified in advance and contingency plan should be available in project risk management strategy. Individuals may be testers related to each risks are responsible for implementation of risk response action based on risk occurrence.

    @Rahul – Risks related to coding are Technical risks and not come under Programmatic Risks.

    Guys, in coming post I will cover risk identification, Analysis and management in detail. So all your queries will get addressed in detail.

  6. @Vijay
    I agree what you stated is right. QA is nothing but Planned and systematic set of activities. Before risk occurs we need to state that what are the possible ways it may occur and also the preventive action plan.

    @Priya.K (Login Screen)
    1. As of Unit Testing – Validation of Username and Password
    2. Integration – On click of Login whether server validates the authenticated user or not
    3. System – Recovery Testing, Performance Testing, Regression, Security Testing, Compatability Testing (OS and Browsers).

  7. How to begin in an interview wen a question is posed explain ur current project?wat n all things to b covered while answerin for this wat not to mention to play safer

  8. According to adhoc testing, when we test without specifications, if any changes occurs in ur build… whether this test case should be added in the specification or not…

    Can u reply this question…

  9. I am working as Software Test Engg. Till now I have not appeared for any of the Testing certification Exam. So can you please suggest me for which exam Should I appear first…..?

  10. Hai Everybody…i am silent member to this community….i am a entry level testing professional ….can anyone suggest good testing books for basic software testing ?

  11. I am attending interviews to get job as software tester. For short duration projects companies expect me to have full knowledge of TEST PLAN,TEST METHODOLGY , TEST STARTEGY and TEST DELIVERABLE.Many times i face problem to answer these questions properly.Can anybody tell me how to prepare test plan. Please help me with these questions.

  12. Build means which is released to testing team for testing.
    whereas version means which is released to end users for use or may be for acceptance testing.
    correct me if am wrong.

  13. BUID is process of converting sourece code in to executable code (.exe) and giving it to the testers for testing.
    Version is number of release made during the life cycle of a product.

  14. @vinodini,
    i will one u one ex for this.
    assume there r 3 modules ‘A’,’B’,and ‘C’ and 3 Test Engineers 1, 2, 3.
    1. Assumption: every person who all involved in project will remain till the end of product life cycle.

    2. Risk: some person may quit the job in the middle, who has been assigned to handle module ‘B’.

    3. contingency plan :
    person1 : primary module -> ‘A’
    secondary module ->’B’
    person2 : primary module -> ‘B’
    secondary module ->’C’
    person3 : primary module -> ‘C’
    secondary module ->’A’

    so in this ex, person2 has left job, so person1 has to continue with this module. so v can save time of training new engineer.

    suggestions would be accepted.

  15. Hi Vinodini,

    This is Suresh Working as a Test Engineer. I have mentioned about Risk and Contingency as follows:

    Risks and Contingencies
    Specify any potential risks and plans for mitigating, addressing and/or resolving those risks.


  16. Hi , I’m currently doing my master’s thesis on risk based testing . I was wondering if anybody in this group has anything to say about “Risk Based Test Prioritization in Agile processes” .. I haven’t personally worked in an agile environment , so , do you think if risk based priotization of testcases in an agile process maes any sense at all? or are is it a contradiction of terms

  17. @manya –Hi agile testing is development driven by testing … Risk based prioritization would be for any testing process and it will also be in agile testing

  18. This is quiet an interesting site i can say. i would love to know how risk management plans are to be gone about as far as project planning is concerned.

  19. pliz help me;am working on a project tha should be related to IT.my choice is to createv a system for a library.pli give me a sample of a library system project.

  20. Hi ,

    I want the information on how to identify risks when our tool is replaced with third paty tool.
    How to identify risks when the third party product is interacting with so many interfaces( we dont ahev any documents like BRS.Only when we have arche tech diagrams and small description abotu the interfaces and product)

  21. Hi,
    I need to know RMMM. How can I reference any RMMM plan for a particular list of risks. Can you send me few links related to finding Risk Mitigation, Monitoring and Management Plan asap?

  22. i need help! have a report on the misinterpretation of risk management in software project management….could u give me some links where i could source of materials to help me. i need every advice or material

  23. Hi,

    I need to create a Risk Management Plan, I came upon your site while searching the net for some references. Do you mind if I use this a reference? I would like to request for your permission so I could include the information here to my document.


  24. I am a IADCS student, and I want to know about the risks faced by project manager. Please explain me about the summary of risks faced by project manager taking over an existing project, which has a cirtical deadline

  25. HI

    I am ramani chandra

    Last week I attended tcs interview.They asked one question about severity and priority.question is if i am having the bug wiht low priority and high severity which one will i test first? I said high severity i ll test first is it correct? this is my email id :rchandra06@gmail.com

    please send me some real time interview questions and how to answer


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