Sunday, February 3, 2013

Possible Risks and their Impacts on Software Projects

Discuss three possible risks that may arise on software projects. Determine what would be their impact and how can they be addressed

 Possible Risks and their Impacts on Software Projects

Risks are uncertain events of the future with a probability for occurrence and a potential for loss. For software projects, risk identification and management are primary concerns. Proper analysis of these risks will help in effectively planning and assigning work for the project. 

One of the major reasons for project failures is the presence of multiple risks in the software project environment. Software projects are a collection of larger programs that have several dependencies and interactions. The projects involve creating something that has not been previously done, even though the developmental process may be similar to some other projects. Therefore, software developmental projects have a variety of quality and usability problems, amongst others (Kwak & Stoddard 2004). It has been found that the different kinds of risks will affect user satisfactions, system performance, and budget (Jiang and Klein 1999).

Project managers require good tools to assess and manage these software project risks, in order to reduce the increasing rate of failure of software projects (Wallace, Keil, and Rai 2004). It has been suggested that software project managers must identify and control these risk factors to decrease the chances of failure (Karolak 1996). 

There are several types of risks that may arise in software projects. 
Here we look at three possible risks:

The Schedule Risk is a very complicating factor because it is not easy to estimate schedules accurately and consistently (Abdel, Sengupta, & Swett 1999). Generally, organizations begin with a large project without properly comprehending its size and complexity. This is a huge risk which leads to problems in correctly scheduling the project. However, performance with scheduling risk gets better with project experience (Ropponen and Lyytinen 2000). The most significant impacts of schedule risks or slipped schedules are usually changed scope, compromised quality, and increased project cost. Those companies that focus on time-to-market are most severely affected by this type of risk. Being behind on a market window by even a week or a month can disrupt profitability and demolish the market share. For a small company even a single missed opportunity could result in shut down, and for larger companies it could have negative long term consequences. Schedule risks can also impact the internal functions of companies by decreasing the turnover. All these problems can be avoided by keeping the project schedules on track and ultimately lowering project risks (Angotti & Greenstein 1999).

Requirement Inflation is another significant risk factor for software projects. As the projects progresses further, several features come up which were not recognized at the start of the assignment. This generally happens because it is difficult and time consuming to gather and record all the necessary details from prospective users. The result is that project team does not know what the requirements of successfully completing the project are (Martin et all. 1994). This raises the possibility a system that cannot be used because the system analysis to build an accurate and complete set of requirements has not been done (Addison & Vallabh 2000). 

People Risk arises from inadequate managerial and technical skills (McLeod & Smith 1996). The project personnel may not possess the required knowledge about the business and technology, and may not have adequate experience to manage the project (Keil et al. 1998). Inadequate knowledge and skills has a huge impact on the outcome of the project.
To begin the risk management process, first the risk needs to be identified so that appropriate measures can be taken to counter it (Schmidt et al. 2001). Software risk management is an overwhelming responsibility. However, it is effectual and necessary to reduce the failure rate of the projects. Organizations that have identified risks and implemented risk management processes for their software projects have been successful (Kwak & Stoddard 2004).

  • Sengupta, Abdel-Hamid, Swett, K. and T.K., C. (1999). The Impression of Targets on Software Plan Organization: An Investigational Study. MIS Quarterly, 23 (4), p.531-555.
  • T. and Vallabh , S. , Addison (2002). Calculating Software Project risk- an Experimental Study of Methods used by knowledgeable Project Managers. Proceedings of SAICSIT, p.28 – 140.
  • Jiang, J.J. and Klein, G. (1999). Risks to different aspects of system success. Information and Management, 36 (5), p.263–272
  • Karolak, D.W. (1996). Software Engineering Risk Management. Los Alamitos, CA: IEEE Computer Society Press.
  • Keil, , Cule, Lyytinen, K. And Schmidt, R., P.E., M. (1998). A Structure for Identifying Software Plan Risks. Connections of the ACM, 41(11), p.77-83.
  • Y.H., Kwak, and Stoddard, J. (2004). Project Risk Organization: Lessons well-read from software Expansion surroundings. Technovation, Vol. 24, p.915-920.
  • Hoffer,Martin, , Dehayes, E.W.,  D.W., Perkins and J.A., W.C. (1994). Administrating Information Knowledge: What the Managers Need to Know.2nd Edition, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
  • Mcleod, G. and Smith, D. (1996). Managing IT Projects. Massachusetts: Boyd and Fraser Publishing.
  • Ropponen, J., and Lyytinen, K. (2000). Components of Software Development Risk: How to Address Them? IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 26 (2), p.98-111.
  • Schmidt, R., K., M., Cule, P.and Keil, Lyytinen  (2001). Identifying Software Development Risk: A Global Delphi Study. Periodical of Association Information Systems, 17(4), pp. 5-36.
  • Rai, Keil, A., L., M. and Wallace (2004). How Software plan Risk Affects Project act: A research of the magnitude of Risk and An Exploratory Model. Decision Sciences, 35 (2), US

Elad Shalom,
CTO at

Dependability in Open Source Development

Open Source development involves making the source code of a system publicly available. This means that many people can propose changes and improvements to the software. Analyze the dependability issues surrounding the process of Open Source development.

Dependability Issues Surrounding the Process of Open Source Development
‘Open Source’ is a term used to describe software development projects (Arief et al. 2002). Projects that are significantly different and possess different characteristics are called open source projects (Lawrie et al. 2002). Some examples of projects that are open source are operating systems, web and mail servers, and developmental tools. These examples point towards the formation of a community that can create software that is claimed to be very dependable (Lawrie and Gacek 2002). 

Because Open Source development involves sharing the source code of a system, there have been issues regarding its dependability. Dependability is a relatively broad term which includes security, reliability, availability, and safety (Randell 2000). There have been several arguments about the dependability of Open Source Software development. Many suggest that Open Source is more protected because it provides its source code to all, including intruders, which is a challenge to the basic intuition (Bosio et al. 2002).

Systems where you can trust the services the system provides, with absolute justification, are known as ‘dependable systems’ (Reis et al. 2002). Neumann (2002) says that trust and trustworthiness are two different things. Trust may be present without any proof to justify the confidence in a specific system, while trustworthiness emphasizes the presence of assurance criteria that justifies the confidence in the system. A dependable computer system is one which possesses qualities like reliability, availability, and security (Lawrie & Jones 2002). The Open Source Software is vulnerable to attacks by sharing of altered versions of the software systems. This is a potential problem that raises the question of trustworthiness of the software system. 

A major issue for dependability in Open Source development concerns the necessity of research based evidence that would declare what attributes of Open Source Software and Non-Open Source Software can aid in assuring the dependability of the software products produced. Due to the public and open nature of the Open Source Development process, the privacy barriers of access for influence and involvement in the process are lowered (Lawrie and Gacek 2002).

There needs to be comparative research done to determine the benefits of introducing formal software engineering initiatives into Open Source projects in order to determine if programs like CHATS (Composable High Assurance Trusted Systems) have been successful in increasing trust in open source software products.
Instead it can be that the introduction of such software engineering methods, tools, and techniques may only give an impression of products being more dependable, rather than actually increasing dependability (Murphy and Mauhgan 2002).

Another consideration for dependability is the nature of the products that can be successfully developed in the process of open source development. Dependable system software like operating systems, developed by Open Source Software processes are seen as a prerequisite for further building and creating dependable and trustworthy systems (Neumann 2002). 
Therefore, the open source process may actually be the most effective development approach for completing a dependable system in IT infrastructures or in cases where high levels of dependability are required for initial system deployments, for e.g. safety critical systems (Bosio et al. 2002). 

Lawrie and Gacek (2002) establish that although Open Source Software products are generally limited to only developing system oriented software; these systems are essential to further build up dependable and trustworthy systems.  Due to the growing scope and complexity of software, its trustworthiness has become a major issue. Central to developing trustworthy software is software fault tolerance. Software that is trustworthy is always stable. 


  • Arief, B., Bosio, D., Gacek, C. and Rouncefield, M. (2002). Reliability Issues in Open Foundation Software-DIRC Project Activity 5 Final Report. Technical Report CS-TR-760.
  • Bosio, D., Newby, B., Strigini, L. and Littlewood, M.J. (2002): Advantages of Open Foundation Processes for Dependability:  Clarifying the issues. In Proceedings of the Open Source Software Development Workshop, Newcastle up on Tyne, UK, p. 30-46.
  • Lawrie, T., Arief,B. and Gacek, C.  (2002):  Interdisciplinary Insights on Open Source. In Proceedings of the Open Source Soft- ware Development Workshop, Newcastle up on Tyne, UK, p. 68-82.
  • Lawrie, C., T. and Gacek (2002). Issues of Reliability in Open Foundation Software Development. Software business Notes, 27 (3). P. 34-36.
  • Lawrie, T. and C, Jones. (2002): Target-Diversity in the plan of trustworthy Computer-Based system. In Proceedings of the Open foundation Software Development Workshop, Newcastle up on Tyne, UK, p. 130-154.
  • Murphy, R. and Mauhgan, D. (2002): Trusted Open Source Operating Systems Research and Development. In Proceedings of the Open Source Software Development Workshop, Newcastle up on Tyne, UK, p. 20-29.
  • Neumann, P. (2002): Developing Open Source Systems: Principles for Composable Architectures. In Proceedings of the Open Source Software Development Workshop, Newcastle up on Tyne, UK, p. 2-19.
  • Randell, B.  (2000): Turing Memorial Lecture: Facing up to faults. Computer Journal, 43(2), p.95-106.
  • Reis, C., Pontin, R. and Fortes, M. (2002): An Overview of the Software Engineering Process and Tools in the Mozilla Project. In Proceedings of the Open Source Software Development Workshop, Newcastle up on Tyne, UK, p.  155-175.

Elad Shalom,
CTO at

Feasibility and Barriers to Their Adoption

Information wants to be free, but people want to be paid for the knowledge they possess and products that they create. As we have seen, the old copyright models favoured the middlemen. Over the years alternative models of compensation such as levies and value-added charges have emerged as ways to compensate those wishing to be paid. Are these schemes feasible? What are the barriers to their adoption? 

Alternative Compensation Models: Feasibility and Barriers to Their Adoption

Alternative compensation models have been proposed to allow the extensive reproduction of copyrighted works while still paying the copyright owners and authors for their works. The use of peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P file sharing) has given the alternative compensation model popularity and consideration. Gervais (2004) argued that alternative compensation models are the only practical solution to the problem. However, others have suggested that P2P sharing in actually beneficial, and levies and taxes are more pleasing tools to pay artists, rather than digital retail management technologies to prevent copy. 

The proposal of alternative compensation methods for recording artists in the music industry has gained popularity since the time internet copying has threatened record sales. Different organizations like Electronic Frontier Foundation now support the use of alternatives such as levies and collective licenses for recording devices and internet connections (Oksanen & Välimäki 2005). 

They are a number of ways to receive the returns from your copyrighted works. The most obvious is to collect fees or royalties for all restricted acts such as distribution and copying, as specified in the copyright laws (Landes & Posner 1989). 

Fees or royalties in the music industry are mainly collected from record sales, i.e. rights to copy and distribution; and airplay, i.e. right to public performance.
It would seem that these alternative compensation systems provide a good solution to the failures of the content market today, with regard to producers and consumers both. 
Firstly, the alternative models of compensation create a media market with hardly any barrier for entry. Any producer can easily upload his/her work to the internet. It could be then accessed and used by a large number of people and the artist would receive direct compensation for the use of the content. In such a situation the producers would not have to rely on the intermediaries for compensation. They would collect that from the administrative agency directly. 
These models will benefit the consumers also as they will not be limited to only content chosen by intermediaries to promote and distribute. They can access a wide range of content directly from the internet while interacting directly with the artists (Zarsky 2006).

However, Zarsky also goes on to say that these may only be rosy predictions of the content market with alternative compensation models. The change to this type of compensation models will lead to lower barriers of entry to the content market. People will be able to easily upload all their content and distribute them directly to the consumers. This will weaken the role of the intermediaries.
Alternative compensation systems like levies and value-added charges have two important advantages. They do not force artificial scarcity on copyrighted works. Anyone can download as many films and songs as they like. Therefore it eliminates the excessive burden of copyright monopolies. With alternate compensations, social and technological costs of digital copyright enforcement can be avoided. 

One of the major barriers to adopting these models is the “deadweight loss” of taxation that will be collected. Deadweight loss or excess burden is an economic loss that society experiences as a result of tax. Another barrier is the need to decide what levy and tax rates should be used for the system. There has been some academic critique against the proposal of alternative compensation models by Liebowitz (2004). He argues about the various difficulties in measuring the correct rate of taxes and levies to be used. 

There are several people who believe that this shift to alternative compensation models is not feasible. They believe that its implementation is technologically, politically, and economically not feasible. 


  • Gervais, D. (2004). The Price of Social Norms: Towards a Liability Regime for File Sharing. Journal of Intellectual Property Law.
  • Landes, W.M. and Posner, R. A. (1989). An Economic Analysis of Copyright Law. Journal of Legal Studies, 18 (2), p.325-363.
  • Liebowitz, S. (2004). Alternative Copyright Systems: The Problems with a Compulsory License. IPCentral Review, 1 (2).
  • Zarsky, T.Z. Assessing Alternative Compensation Models for Online Content Consumption. Denver University Law Review, 84 (2), p.646-676.

Elad Shalom,
CTO at

Advantages and Disadvantages of Decriminalising Privacy

The only way to avoid the unfairness of a copyright tax that funds benefits for criminals is to decriminalize the benefit and make "piracy" legal for everyone. The public good provided by the tax then corresponds to the provision of free content for everyone. What are the advantages and disadvantages of decriminalizing piracy? Please see the following for a description of copyright tax:

8 Advantages and Disadvantages of Decriminalizing Privacy

The intentional violation of the Copyrights Act, in relation to commercial products like music, software, and so on, is known as ‘privacy’. For instance, if you use a music recording or software without a license or make a copy of it to distribute without permission from the creator, you are violating the Copyright Act (Dorrel 2005). The main objective of copyrighting is for the creator to be able to recover all the costs he/she invested in producing the work. Thus copyrighting becomes merely a commercial means to achieve an end. Therefore, ‘privacy’ cannot be applied to any work that has been released or shared freely as an open source (Soliman 2011).

Modern intellectual property laws were intended for the 1850s (Bently & Sherman 1999). The idea of intellectual property and Copyright laws are thought to be a thing of the past. They represent a different phase of information sharing that people have evolved past. The society today needs to evolve just as people and technology have (Smith 2011). There will never be a perfect solution for the piracy issue (Bigwhale 2009). The war against privacy has not stopped illegal sharing and distribution of work, neither has it put fear into the hearts of those who want things for free. Keeping this in mind, the discussions on decriminalizing privacy arose. It is essential to put forth a plan that will work and be fair to everyone involved (Kravets 2007).

Dorrel (2005) suggests that the only way that unfairness of copyright tax that benefits criminals can be avoided, is to legalize privacy for everyone, or decriminalize the benefit itself. This way the public good from the tax will correspond to the free content provided for all. Nevertheless, there are advantages and disadvantages for both the producer and the consumer that arise from decriminalizing piracy.

With decriminalization, the producer or creator gets paid for using those materials that would otherwise have not been paid for. This is a huge advantage for him. Decriminalizing privacy could also push more people to come forward to produce and create material for the good of everyone. An example worth mentioning is the production of LINUX by the open source movement. On the other hand, the consumer also benefits because he gets to enjoy material for a very low price (Thiga 2012).

There are also some disadvantages of decriminalizing privacy. There may come up certain ‘quacks’ with absolutely no knowledge, who will produce anything and then expect their share of the pay. How do you determine how much they get paid? And there are other producers who may not comprehend the complete returns from their works. The consumers also are at a bit of a disadvantage because they end up paying for something they would never even use (Thiga 2012).

The economic reports establish that there has been loss of billions in revenue amounts over the piracy acts. It’s high time something is done about it (Honick & Craig 2005). The thought of decriminalizing piracy has arisen as a result of lack of enforcement of laws by the government. They have the right to identify and punish pirates even if it means invading into their privacy. But the past has shown us this is not possible at the rate piracy is growing.

Smith (2011) says that copyright arises from restrictive motives, and hence leads to restrictive measures. On the other hand, piracy arises out of progressive measured and thus results in progress. Therefore, it is essential to do away with the current intellectual property law and decriminalize the practice of piracy. 



Elad Shalom,
CTO at