An important part of proper planning includes dealing with project risks. When project risks are identified, they are being communicated to and acted upon by our project manager. Such risks are not always within the power of the testing organization to reduce. However, some project risks can and should be mitigated successfully by our Test Manager, such as:
- Test environment and tools readiness
- Test staff availability and qualification
- Lack of standards, rules, and techniques for the testing effort
Approaches to project risk management include preparing the testware earlier, pre-testing of test environments, pre-testing of early versions of the product, applying tougher entry criteria to testing, enforcing requirements for testability, participating in reviews of early project work products, participating in change management, and monitoring the project progress and quality.
Once a project risk has been identified and analyzed, there are four main options to manage that risk:
- Mitigate the risk through preventive measures to reduce likelihood and/or impact
- Make contingency plans to reduce impact if the risk becomes an actuality
- Transfer the risk to some other party to handle
- Ignore or accept the risk
Selecting the best option depends on the benefits and opportunities created by the option, as well as the cost and, potentially, any additional risks associated with the option. When a contingency plan is identified for a project risk, the best practice is to identify a trigger (which will determine when and how the contingency plan is invoked) and an owner (who will carry out the contingency plan).