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Title: Software%20Project%20Management

Software Project Management
  • Introduction

"... project management is probably the toughest
single problem in the software industry.
--Capers Jones Jones 1996, p 213
  • Nearly all software is created in the context of
    a project. Projects must be managed.
  • Project management is about planning, tracking
    and controlling product development.
  • Good project management is just as important to
    project success as the technical activities of
    coding and testing.

Projects Old Concept New Approaches
  • A project is a temporary endeavor undertaken to
    create a unique product or service PMI 2000.
  • Projects have been around as long as humans.
  • Some notable projects in the history of
    civilization include
  • Egyptian Pyramids
  • Roman Aqueducts
  • Polaris Missile Program

Project vs. Operation
  • Projects and ongoing operations are two ways of
    organizing work.
  • Projects have a definite start and end date.
    Ongoing operations go on forever (To infinity
    and beyond!)
  • Projects are the preferred method of organizing
    work that produces a unique product or service.
    Work that is ongoing and routine is better
    performed as an operation using an organization's
    permanent infrastructure.

Projects Old Concept New Approaches
  • The fundamentals of PM haven't changed in over
    4,000 years, but project managers today have
    access to new tools and techniques.
  • New tools include the PC and project management
    software such as MS Project.
  • New techniques, invented in the first half of the
    20th century to handle large-scale military and
    civilian construction projects, include
  • GANTT Charts
  • Earned Value Analysis

Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • The PMI is the worlds leading project management
    professional association.
  • Started in the late 60s, the PMI now has over
    200,000 members worldwide.
  • The PMI provides several levels of certification
    related to project management.
  • The PMI is the author of the well-known
    reference A Guide to the Project Management
    Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).

Project Life Cycle
  • Just as the product of software development moves
    through a sequence of phases marked by
    product-oriented milestones, the project as a
    whole moves through its own sequence of phases
    marked by project-oriented milestones.

Standard Functions of Project Management
  • Planning - deciding in advance what to do.
  • Organizing - defining roles and responsibilities
    for the project team.
  • Staffing - filling and keeping filled roles
    defined by the organization structure.
  • Directing - leading and motivating individuals to
    achieve their potential.
  • Tracking and Controlling - periodically assessing
    project status and taking corrective action when
    actual progress deviates significantly from plans.

Project Life Cycle
  • The project life cycle defines the phases a
    project goes through from inception to
    completion. The four main phases of the project
    life cycle are
  • Initiation Phase Define objectives and get
    approval to proceed.
  • Planning Phase Decide who does what when.
  • Execution Controlling Phase Perform the work
    as described in the project plan. The bulk of the
    project effort will be expended here but other
    than tracking and controlling its not a busy
    time for the PM.
  • Closeout Phase Get closure. Customer accepts
    results. Do a project postmortem. What went
    right? What went wrong? Do casual analysis on
    problems in order to identify root causes with
    the intention of improving performance on future

The Role of Project Manager
  • The responsibility for managing a project can be
    distributed among the project members, but more
    commonly is assigned to one individualthe
    project manager.
  • Project management is independent of technical
    specialty. The tools and techniques of project
    management are the same whether you are
    fabricating with bits or bricks. The job of
    project manager, however, is industry specific.
    You must know something about software to be a
    good manager of a software project.

Project Life CycleTiming and Application
Project Management and the Software Development
Life Cycle
Project Management Activities
The Art and Science ofProject Management
  • Art
  • Vision
  • Leading
  • Motivating
  • Creative problem solving
  • Managing expectations
  • Science
  • Planning
  • Organizing
  • Staffing
  • Tracking
  • Control
  • Reporting

Special Challenges Managing Software Projects
  • Visibility. Because software is intangible,
    additional work is needed to make the process and
    product of software development visible.
  • Absence of routine solutions and processes.
  • Changing requirements.
  • Changing implementation technologies.

The Four Variables of a Project
  • Every project has to balance the desire for
    features and quality with constraints on cost and
  • There is rarely enough time or money to deliver
    all of the features and quality that the customer
    can use. Its up to the project manager to find a
    balance that is agreeable to all and manage the
    project in a way that keeps these variables
    balanced throughout the project.

The Four Variables of a Project cont
  • Cost the amount of money available to do a
    project. For software projects most of the cost
    goes toward salaries so effort is a good
    approximation of cost.
  • Time is the amount of calendar time available
    to complete a project.
  • Features are a measure of functionality. What
    is the software to do?
  • Quality a measure of how well the product does
    what it is suppose to do. Defects obviously lower
    the quality of the software.

Understanding the Tradeoffs Among the Four
Variables of a Project
  • When looking for a balance among these four
    variables, the following conceptual formula
    provides intuition about how a change in one
    variable will affect the others.
  • Once the formula is balanced, a change in one
    variable will necessitate an offsetting change in
    one or more of the other variables.
  • For example, once the variables are balanced for
    a project adding more features can only be offset
    by one or more of lower quality, higher cost or
    longer project duration.

Cost Time Features Quality
Understanding The True Relationship Between
Project Variables
  • The formula for project equilibrium is a
    simplification. The true relationship between
    project variables is more complicated than
    mathematical multiplication ()
  • There are also limits to the extent that a change
    in one variable can be balanced by a change in
  • The following graphs more accurately represent
    the true relationships between these four

Balancing the four variables of a Project
  • The key to finding an acceptable balance is
    knowing at the start of a project which variables
    are fixed and which have a degree of freedom.
  • If we don't have these 15 features, we can't be
    competitive in the marketplace. (features are
  • The grant authorizes us to spend 50K on the
    software and it has to be ready for review by
    February. (time and cost are fixed)
  • "The system is safety-critical so it has to be
    error-free." (quality is fixed)
  • If all four variables are fixed, and the
    formula is out of balance, you are in trouble.

Ask the customerto prioritize objectives
  • At the start of a project after features have
    been decided, there is an old saying that neatly
    summaries the customers options

You can have it fast you can have it
cheap or you can have it good. Pick
  • Despite its brevity (and levity), this simple
    statement of options makes three important
  • There are tradeoffs among the four variables of a
    project and it's impossible to optimize them all.
  • There has to be a degree of freedom with at least
    one variable. The customer can't dictate all
  • It's important to establish the priorities among
    these variables at the start of a project.

Productivity addressesthe issue of feasibility
  • Taking into account team productivity, the
    formula for project equilibrium becomes

Cost Time Productivity Constant Features
  • Team productivity is an important factor to
    consider when deciding whether or not a
    particular project request is feasible.
  • The productivity constant accounts for the
    capabilities of the people doing the work, the
    process they are following and the tools and
    technologies they are using.

Project Triple Constraint
  • According to the rule of threes, people tend to
    remember and react more favorably to lists of
  • When speaking of the main variables or
    constraints on a project its more convenient to
    refer to them as three variables cost, time, and
    performance, where performance aggregates
    features and quality.
  • Taken together the three variables are sometimes
    referred to as the project triple constraint or
    iron triangle.

Education over Negotiation
  • You can negotiate tradeoffs among the four
    variables but you cant negotiate their
  • At the start of a project you have estimates for
    the cost and duration. If you have been recording
    historic data on past project, you also have
    reasonably accurate productivity data.
  • You can negotiate how much unpaid overtime you
    will spend, but other than that there isnt
    anything to negotiate.
  • The customer might wish estimates for cost and
    duration were lower, but you cant negotiate them

Education over Negotiation cont
  • Just as Ohm's law describes how volts, current
    and resistance are balanced in an electrical
    circuit (V I R), the formula for project
    equilibrium describes the balance of forces
    during a project.
  • Electrical engineers cant violate Ohm's law and
    software engineers cant complete a software
    project when these variables are out-of-balance.

Keys to Project Success
Del Defining Characteristics of a Project?
  • The work is temporary.
  • The result is a unique product or service.
    Projects are one-time events resulting in a
    unique product or service.

Project Characteristics
  • Projects are characterized by
  • Specific objectives
  • Schedule
  • Budget
  • Team of individuals working together
  • Production of a unique product or service