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Software Risk Assessment

Risk assessment activity includes the following
•    Risk Identification
•    Risk Analysis
•    Risk prioritization

Risk identification is a systematic attempt to specify threats to the project plan. The purpose of risk deification is to develop a list of risk items called risk statement. Risk identification can be facilitated with the help of a checklist of common risk areas for software projects, or by examining the contents of an organizational database of previously identified risks, and mitigation strategies (both successful and unsuccessful).

Risk identification is carried out as a team process using brainstorming. To assist the process a list of risk types can be sued. The end product of this steps of the process is a list of risks that could occur and affect the product, the process or the business.

Within the identification phase, several activities occur. The main activities are:

1.    Identify risks: There are many techniques to be used to identify risk. Some of these are heck-lists, interviews, barnstorm meetings, reviews and surveys. A checklist to be used as a tool for identification of risks is provided.

2.    Define risk attributes: After the risks are identified, they are evaluated with the criteria: likelihood of occurrence (probability), consequence and time frame for action. These values are initial estimations which are analyzed more in the next phase.

3.    Document: The risks are then documented. Together with the name of the risks, a risk statement and context are to be specified. In this initial phase the description of risk issue, the probability and the consequence are specified in subjective terms.

4.    Communicate: Spreading the knowledge to the project members.
In the first iteration the risk identification should include the project team and the risk management team. In the second iteration, the entire project team and primary stakeholders should participate. If an unbiased analysis is required, a person who is not involved in the project may perform a third iteration of the risk identification.

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