Software project management in today’s business world

As a practicing project manager, I felt I could provide some good tools, useful information, and cool links in this area. This page is aimed at project managers and aims to exchange information on software development project management topics. My goal on this site is to provide general as well as specific project information and software to assist anyone working to establish consistent governance of software projects.

In addition, I hope to be able to provide some assistance in building professionalism. The current literature still says that despite all the ongoing training and attention to managing projects, there is still a fairly large error or failure rate in software projects. If your career path is in project management, you have a legacy problem and even more reason to read and apply the things that work. My favorite book on the subject is by Harold Kerzner and is Project Management A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling and Controlling. I was fortunate to attend a PMI certification training course with Dr. Kerzner to participate as a trainer.

This article is about the Project Management Knowledge Base (PMBOK).

Above all, remember that responsibility without sponsorship makes you an immediate target for problems in adjusting project time, scope, and resources. Responsibility without authority is pretty much like grand vanity. It means almost nothing when difficult decisions are required. It is quite similar to Solomon’s thinking that vanity is “like striving after the wind.”

My focus is initially on the principles developed by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) and shared by project managers worldwide as part of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM).

As a starting point, it is important to discuss the so-called Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). The PMBOK was designed to provide c

Consistently defining the phases of a project and delineating what should be considered important in the context of each part of the project management policy.

The knowledge areas and project management processes are grouped into nine focus areas.

Project Integration Management – Development of the project plan, execution of the project plan and change control.

Project Scope Management – ​​Initiation, Scope Planning, Scope Definition, Scope Review and Scope Change Control.

Project time management – activity definition, activity sequencing, activity duration estimation, schedule development and schedule control.

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Project Cost Management – resource planning, cost estimation, cost budgeting and cost control.

Project Quality Management – Quality Planning, Quality Assurance and Quality Control.

Project Human Resource Management – organizational planning, personnel acquisition and team development.

Project Communication Management – Communication planning, information distribution, performance reporting and administrative closure.

Project Risk Management – Risk Identification, Risk Qualification, Risk Response Development and Risk Response Control.

Project Supply Management – supply planning, supply planning, procurement, source selection, contract management and contracting.

As you can see from these focus areas, there is a strong emphasis on the use and meaning of the word “control”. A LOT of activity and paperwork can be developed in these management areas, but the main point is that corrective action must be taken when necessary. The authority and responsibility lies with the project manager.

There are many skills and traits that a project manager must draw on to be effective. The project manager must be:

Leader – As a manager, your primary concern is to consistently deliver the key results expected of the “stakeholders”. Leadership is also required and involves setting the vision, the strategies needed to “realize” the vision, and actually setting the direction. The leader must motivate, inspire and communicate with different people, breaking down the political, bureaucratic and human barriers. It is important to remember that leadership needs to be demonstrated at all levels within the project e.g. B. from people responsible for technical issues and from team members.

Communicate – sharing information is key. Ensure that clear, concise and complete information is given to the recipient. Make sure the recipient has received the information completely and that it is clearly understood. Communication is a broad topic, but suffice it to say that communication, whether oral or written, is vital to the project. It doesn’t matter if the communication is formal, if the communication is up, down or vertical. It is crucial that the effort is far exceeded by the results. One area to keep in mind is that you have a better chance of getting your concern or information disseminated correctly if you let everyone know right away, rather than relying on word of mouth from team members to tell others. Each time another person shares information, inclination, intention, body language, and tone of voice have the ability to infer something else.

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Negotiate – consult with people to reach consensus or agreement. Negotiating indicates that a mediator, conciliator, or conciliator may be needed. It depends on the circumstances, the importance, the level and more likely the problems. Issues such as cost, scope, goals, contract terms, and resources may require negotiation skills.

Problem Solving – Defining (problem definition) and deciding (decision making based on analysis, solution feasibility or input from stakeholders).

Organizational Influencing – the ability to use power and politics to get things done. This requires the ability to understand the mechanisms or organization of how political skills can be used constructively.

Project management processes can be organized into five groupings of one or more processes each, as follows:

Initiating Processes – This involves recognizing that a project or phase should begin and committing to it.

Planning Processes – this means developing and maintaining an “achievable” plan to achieve what the project was intended to achieve.

Executing Processes – Coordinating people and other resources to “execute” or carry out the plan.

Controlling Processes – Ensuring that project objectives are met by measuring and monitoring progress. In addition, it means taking appropriate corrective action when necessary.

Closing Processes – Bringing the project to an orderly conclusion with the formal acceptance of the phase or project.

Everyone involved with the management of projects had the additional core challenge of developing metrics that represent “value added” in the performance and delivery of completed projects that meet stakeholder expectations. Gathering metrics isn’t just tabulating numbers. It means developing information that will help now and then help even more in future endeavors.

There are many, many methods. The fee is to determine what works best for your organization. There is a vast amount of information about what to collect and how to use the measures effectively. It’s not just about collecting data. Collect informations!

My next article covers the project triangle and the technical solution level – time, resources and technological solutions. Then I will share information about Six Sigma as developed by Motorola, which can drastically change the quality of your products and/or services by introducing a business process culture that impacts the organization and brings positive returns. In fact, the principles are based on statistical analysis revolving around the concept of standard deviation.

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I would now like to share some experience suggestions and then offer some links to places I have found of great value.

Cost Expert is a relatively inexpensive software package that offers what-if, reporting, combined types of estimations such as function points, top-down, bottom-up, GUI. In addition, you can use it with Microsoft Project. I enjoyed the functionality and reporting features. The software helps to generate good plans, resource requirements and risk factors. Cost Expert is particularly well suited for project managers who work without a formalized project-centric organizational approach.

Since Project 4, I’ve also been a big fan of Microsoft Project software. The new version still offers a database schema and the VBA ability to extend functionality continues to make the product a good choice for those who are not interested in spending a lot more money on project software.

There is a fairly simple wizard that will get you started counting function points nicely. It’s called SEER Function Point Wizard and it’s fpwiz.

There is a PDF on DoD software measurement initiatives titled Software Measures for DOD Systems.

MMB&T provides version 1.1 of the SoftEST developed by MCR Federal Inc. on behalf of the Air Force Cost Analysis Agency.

SoftEST Cost Model (V1.1) (1 MB – ZIP file)

DEVELOP YOUR MICROSOFT PROJECT AND PROJECT MANAGEMENT SKILLS

To get the most out of Microsoft Project, you must use the product features correctly and use the right features to meet your project management needs.

Microsoft describes resources you will find helpful in developing your skills with Microsoft Project and applying them to the broader field of project management.

Read more under: Microsoft Project Assistance

Microsoft® Project Courseware Trainer Pack

These are just some of the resources available. The good news is that the feature is now recognized as something that deserves the full attention of senior management and sponsorship to avoid the previously very high project failure rate.

This article was written by Martin Floyd of MMB&T. All rights reserved.

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