RISKS IN SPECIFICATION DEVELOPMENT

Risk 1: Requirements Inflation
As the project progresses more and more features that were not identified at the beginning of the project emerge that threaten estimates and timelines. Solution: Constant involvement of customers and developers.

Risk 2: Employee Turnover
Key personnel leave the project taking critical information with them that significantly delays or derails the project.
Solution: Increased collaboration and information sharing on the team.

Risk 3: Specification Breakdown
Explanation: When coding and integration begin it becomes apparent that the specification is incomplete or contains conflicting requirements.
Solution: Use a dedicated Product Manager to make critical trade off decisions.

Risk 4: Poor Productivity
Explanation: Given long project timelines, the sense of urgency to work in earnest is often absent resulting to time lost in early project stages that can never be regained.
Solution: Short iterations, right people on team, coaching and team development.

Risk 5: Scope is ill defined
The general risk of an error or omission in scope definition.

Risk 6: Estimates are inaccurate – Inaccurate estimates is a common project risk

Risk 7: Stakeholder conflict over proposed changes
Explanation: Change requests may be the source of stakeholder conflict.
Solution – Executive Support

Risk 8: Executives fail to support project
The project team may lack the authority to achieve project objectives. In such cases, executive management support is fundamental to project success. When this doesn’t materialize the project fails.

Risk 9: Executives become disengaged with project
Executive management disregards project communications and meetings.

Risk 10: Conflict between executive stakeholders disrupts project
Members of executive management are combative to the project or there is a disagreement over project issues at the executive level.

Risk 11: Executive turnover disrupts project
A key executive leaves the company, the resulting disruption becomes a project issue.

Risk 12: Exchange rate variability
When costs are incurred in foreign currencies exchange rates can have a dramatic impact

Risk 13. Change management overload
A large number of change requests dramatically raises the complexity of the project and distracts key resources.

Risk 14: Process inputs are low quality
Inputs from stakeholders that are low quality (e.g. business case, requirements, change requests).

Risk 15: Project team misunderstand requirements
When requirements are misinterpreted by the project team a gap develops between expectations, requirements and work packages.

Risk 16: Under communication
Communication is a challenge that’s not to be underestimated. You may need to communicate the same idea many times in different ways before people remember it.

Risk 17: Users have inaccurate expectations
The risk that users believe the project is building an apple when you’re really building an orange (i.e. users don’t understand the product that’s coming their way).

Risk 18: Resource shortfalls
Inability to secure sufficient resources for the project.

Risk 19: Learning curves lead to delays and cost overrun
When your project team need to acquire new skills for the project there’s a risk that productivity will be low. Also, resources who are negative towards the project may actively or passively sabotage project efforts:. .

Risk 20: Low team motivation
Your team lacks motivation. This is a particularly common risk for long running projects.

Risk 21: Architecture fails to pass governance processes
Plan for any architectural or technology governance processes that the project may need to pass.

Risk 22: Architecture lacks flexibility
The architecture is incapable of supporting change requests and needs to be reworked.

Risk 23: Architecture is not fit for purpose
The architecture is low quality.

Risk 24: Architecture is infeasible
The architecture is impossible to implement, excessively costly or doesn’t support the requirements.

Risk 25:Technology components aren’t fit for purpose
Technology components are low quality.

Risk 26: Delays to required infrastructure
Delays to infrastructure such as hardware or software.

Risk 27: Failure to integrate with business processes
The risk that your product will fail to fit into the existing business.

Risk 28: Requirements fail to align with strategy
Your requirements conflict with the firm’s strategy. If you sense that this is the case, list it as a risk.

Risk 29: Requirements fail to align with business processes
The requirements make no sense in the context of the business.

Risk 30: Requirements are ambiguous
Requirements are unclear and open to interpretation.

Risk 31: Requirements are low quality
Requirements aren’t fit for purpose.

Risk 32: Requirements are incomplete
You can spot obvious holes in the requirements.

Risk 33: Decisions are low quality
Decisions aren’t fit for purpose.

Risk 34: Decisions are incomplete
Issue resolutions that don’t address the issue or create more issues.

Risk 35: No response to RFP
The risk that there is limited response to an RFP. This occurs when the RFP terms are unacceptable to vendors or if your firm has a bad reputation amongst vendors.

Risk 36: Low quality responses to RFP
Half hearted responses to your RFP that are unusable.

Risk 37: Failure to negotiation a reasonable price for contracts
Inability to negotiate a reasonable price for contracts. This occurs when the requirements or contract terms make vendors nervous.

Risk 38: Unacceptable contract terms
Inability to negotiate acceptable contract terms.

Risk 39: Conflict with vendor leads to project issues
The relationship with vendor turns to conflict and project issues mount.

Risk 40: Conflict between vendors leads to project issues
Your vendors develop conflict with each other and cooperation breaks down.

Risk 41: Vendors start late
The risk of a late start.

Risk 41: Vendor components fail to meet requirements
A vendor misunderstands requirements or delivers components that are completely off the mark.

Risk 42: Vendor components are low quality
Vendor components aren’t fit for purpose.

Risk 43: Vendor components introduce third party liability
Vendor components introduce liability (e.g. they violate patents).

Risk 44: Loss of intellectual property
Vendors spy on you.

Risk 45: Project team lack authority to complete work
If you lack specific authorities required to deliver the project list this as a risk.

Risk 46: Authority is unclear
It’s unclear who has the authority to accomplish a project objective.

Risk 47: Delays to stakeholder approvals impact the project
The risk that approval deadlines will be exceeded.

Risk 48: Delays to financial approvals impact the project
The risk of delays to financial approvals and processes to release funds.

Risk 49: Delays to procurement processes impact the project
Many organizations have specific procurement processes that must be followed. These processes can be time consuming and highly variable. Document the risk that procurement process will exceed deadlines.

Risk 50: Delays to training impact the project
If your training budget requires separate approvals (e.g. from functional managers or HR) document the risk that this will be slow.

Risk 51: The project fails to match the organization’s culture
A culture fit issue between your product and the organization. If the organization’s culture calls for employees to bring their own mobile devices to work (BYOD) and you build a user interface that only works on a specific device.

Risk 52: An organizational restructuring throws the project into chaos
If your project has a large footprint it may be extremely sensitive to organizational changes.

Risk 53: A merger or acquisition disrupts the project
Mergers & acquisitions may represent significant organizational changes.

Risk 54: Legal & regulatory change impacts project
If your project spans areas that are compliance-sensitive you may want to list regulatory change as a risk.

Risk 55: Force Majeure (e.g. act of nature) impacts project
Major disruptions such as acts of nature.

Risk 56: Market forces impact project
Market changes impact project (e.g. a market crash).

Risk 57: Technical change impacts project
A technology innovation changes your industry and impacts the project.

Risk 58: Business change impacts project
A business innovation changes your industry and impacts the project.

Risk 59 : Users reject the prototype
One of the key methods of improving user acceptance is to get regular prototypes in front of users. There’s always a risk that these prototypes will be rejected (require significant rework).

Risk 60: User interface doesn’t allow users to complete tasks
The risk that the user interface doesn’t allow users to complete end-to-end tasks.

Risk 61: Users reject the product
The general risk that users will reject your product.

Risk 62: Product doesn’t sell
Demand risk for the new product.

Risk 63: Product incurs legal liability
The product has quality issues that harm your customers.

Risk 64: Product negatively affects reputation
The product generates negative publicity and/or damages customer relationships.

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