MBA management

Project Management --- Meaning and Definition

As an organized activity of mankind, projects existed in almost all civilizations, however, as a formal discipline, project management is traced back to the 1950’s and 1960s when major defense programs have started to use network diagramming techniques, known today as PERT, or CPM ( Critical Path Methods). Project Management today is a well-recognized discipline, and it has accumulated extensive knowledge and wide industry based experience.

Project is defined as “A temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique project, service, or result”. (Project Management Institute (PMI), USA).

A project is defined as a “planned undertaking that has a beginning and an end, and how well the organization applies its resources to its projects and other work.” (Durbin 1999).

Project Management (PM) is not a science, but rather than an aggregation of best practices, skills and techniques used to successfully plan and manage the implementation of a new system.

Project Management (PM) is defined as the “organizing and directing of other people to achieve a planned result within a predetermined schedule and budget”. (Satzinger, Jackson & Burd).

Project Management is “the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities in order to meet or exceed users’ and stakeholders’ needs and expectations from the project. This definition is recommended by Project Management Institute (PMI) Standards Committee.

Projects are critical to the success of any organization. They are the activities that result in new or changed products, services, environments, processes and organizations. Projects increase sales, improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs, improve the work environment, and result in other benefits.

Project management is a discipline. It applies principles, concepts, tools and techniques to improve project performance and organizational effectiveness. Project management adds value by improving the probability of consistently successful projects.

Project managers and their managers and clients must be flexible and adaptable to be effective. Effective PM recognizes that projects in different environments and of different types require variations on the basic PM principles. Effective PM requires ad hoc adjustments , based on moment to moment assessments of current conditions, within the context of a comprehensive plan created using sound and consistent methods and relevant past experience. Effective PM requires collaborative efforts among project stakeholders (participants, clients and other interested parties).

As organizations have recognized the criticality of projects to their success, project management has become a focal point of improvement efforts. Project management centers of excellence (e.g., project Management Offices), training programs and organization change programs to improve project management practices are increasingly common parts of strategic plans to improve organizational effectiveness.

Project management addresses the full range of activities from the beginning to the end of a project and addresses the management of multiple projects within programs and across organizations. PM addressees “ technical “ skills like scheduling, cost estimating, and statistical risk management and encompasses complex disciplines such as scope ( product ) definition, procurement management, human resource management and communications.

PM different from Methodology

PM is the umbrella under which all the project activities are managed. PM should not be associated with any one methodology. Technique or model. Although project activities can be grouped by common objectives (phases), the individual activities that fall under the PM umbrella are unique to each application. The unique nature of these activities stems from different factors that can affect the success of a project. The experience of team members, time constraints, budgets, resource availability, maturity of technology, and level of planning are just a few of these factors, furthermore, the methodologies, techniques and models that were effective today may not be effective tomorrow.

Software Project Management--- Overview

Software Project Management is the collection of techniques used to develop and deliver various types of software products. This developing discipline traditionally includes technical issues such as:

a) The choice of software development methodology.
b) How to estimate project size and schedule.
c) Which programming development environment to use.

This discipline also includes management issues such as:

a) When to train personnel.
b) What are the risks to the project success, and
c) How to keep the project on schedule.

These choices are then embodied in a software project management plan. Software project management address both the process of software development and the desired functional characteristics of the final software development and the desired functional characteristics of the final software product. A complete software project management plan is the design, implementation, control and test strategy for a software development process.

Effective project management is a vital ingredient in achieving a successful outcome. The objectives for the project need to be agreed at the outset. In deciding the objectives their implications need to be considered, in terms of the actual outputs and the impact of these outputs.

Project Management in Software Industry

The software industry has achieved a notorious reputation for being out of control in terms of schedule accuracy, cost accuracy and quality control .Estimating, planning and quality control of software projects have become very difficult in terms of its management due to various reasons and results in extension of time in completing the projects, high costs which exceeds the budgets, project cancellation before its completion.

The software game industry is one of the most technically advanced sectors of the entire software domain. The game industry has pioneered a number of role- playing simulations in which players deal with such scenarios as planning cities, developing empires etc. The technology underlying these role playing games is a natural vehicle for project management simulations and a number of companies recognize that, Although management games will probably start as low cost independent products, their intrinsic usefulness and their ability to allow managers to take risks without having to face serious real life consequences, make these tools very useful additions to methodology management tools, software cost estimating tools and project planning tools.


Effective SPM practices focus on four factors namely people, product, process and project. All of them need equal attention in the SPM process.

i) People:
People connected directly or indirectly are the dynamic and live factor in project management. The success of the Software Project largely depends upon how the lead role players in project management handle people issues, concerns and their expectations while developing the software for a given requirement. Project Management has to deal and interact with different levels of people within and outside the organization.

People from within the organization are developers, analysts, designers, technology specialists, HR managers and the senior management.

People from outside the organization largely belong to the customer organization, and are known as primary users, secondary users, stakeholders, project co-coordinators and business managers.

The people factor is so important that the software engineering institute has developed a people management capability maturity model known as PM-CMM. If this model is implemented, the organization enhances the readiness of human resources to undertake increasingly complex software development applications, enabling the management to attract, grow motive, deploy and retain critical resources to keep the development competence at a high level.

The people resources falls into five categories namely manager, technocrat, developer, customer and end user. The manager is responsible for achieving project goal and business goal. The Technocrats comprising analyst, designer, architect, and implementer are responsible for achievement of software goal, defined in terms of cost, quality, productivity, deliverables and customer satisfaction. The developer is responsible for implementing the project as per SP implementation guidelines agreed upon, and to fulfill all obligations as a key participant in the SP development. SPM is a team effort, where very member of a team has role, responsibility and commitment to the task and an obligation to perform. It is not only critically important to select good team members, but also manage the team resource effectively. The effectiveness comes through configuration of different members into groups responsible for different development functions, or components.

When software projects are large and complex, it is not the development task of one team, but more than one team will be involved. The function of teams and their goals are based on different criteria like using functions, modules, technology phases in the development cycle and so on. When there are more teams, coordination between teams becomes critically important. The project manager has the responsibility of ensuring that teams will work towards the common goals of the projects, and the members do not limit their role to achieve the teams’ goal.

The coordination within tams is possible provided there is a formal system of communication, documentation, reporting and periodical reviews to ensure that teams not only perform as per their plan to achieve the team goals, but also work in a cohesive manner and pull their strength in the same direction. To facilitate coordination and communication between teams, it is necessary to do following:

a) Issue project reports periodically that can be measured against the project plan.
b) Meetings to be held to solve the problems affecting the project.
c) Reviews of requirements, design and code are to be conducted regularly.
d) Status reviews to be conducted through analysis to find out the problems which affect the achievement of milestones.
e) Formal MIS reports are to be built and distributed by highlighting exceptions for actions.

ii) Product: Software:
The Product, in the context of software, is the scope of the software that is proposed to solve the requirements of the user. The software and its scope are a product that is defined and described by four factors namely, context, objective, functions and performance.

a) Context: The scenario or situation in business which has problems and which need solutions within the given domain and with due regard to constraints and limitations preventing in the environment.

b) Objective: Software system objective in terms of information, analysis, reports etc. as outputs for the benefit of users to solve business problems.

C) Functions: Software system processes and functions, such as data sourcing and processing, information processing and analysis, transaction processing, applications processing and integrating the applications to achieve software product goals.

d) Performance: This stipulates non-functional requirements of speed, quality and features such as ease of use, adaptability, interoperability, achieving certain measurable objectives such as cost reduction, reduction in cycle time, improving management effectiveness and so on.

Apart from understanding the software in terms of factors, knowing its category also helps in deciding technology and its application.

A software product may fall into any one of the following categories:

a) System software
b) Application software
c) Software development tools
d) Software solution
e) Software generic product for general requirements
f) Software tools: automation, printing, processing, report writing, screen generation and so on.

iii) Process:
There are several process models to select from, as the need be. Each process model has its strength in a given development scenario. The process models are:

a) Linear sequential when the requirement is stable.

b) Prototyping when the requirement is unclear to all.

c) Rapid application development when the requirement can be split for development purposes and can be delivered in increments.

It is very important to select the appropriate process model for development. Increment choice of the model will affect the budget, quality and performance. The choice of model also automatically decides the planning, development and implementation strategies. It decides software development organization, team building in terms of capacity and skills. The process model is a critical success factor in software development.

The development process of a software product takes place through any one of the processes mentioned earlier. A process is composed of certain activities. Some activities are process- specific and some are common and generic, applicable to all processes and products. Every software development organization has a set of activities that are applied to all development projects. They are put into framework, called Common Activity Framework (CAF).

Common Activity Framework

Communication: Activities for interaction, communication and information exchange.

Planning: Software Product scope determination, estimation of effort, time, cost and resource, high level time line chart, baseline software product definition.

Risk: Risk identification, risk analysis, risk exposure, risk classification, risk resolution.

Engineering: Requirement engineering, requirement analysis, business modeling, system modeling and modular representations, system architecture, work breakdown structure, key deliverables: functions and features, and technologies.

Delivery mechanisms: BOM of delivery, implementation and deployment, change management, acceptance process, release and deployment, support for limited period.

Closure: Feedback process by stages, reviews, demos, results completeness to agreed deliverables. Traceability of deliverables to RCDD and SCRS. Acceptance and certification. Building project experience database learning.

When the software product is finalized is finalized with details such as context, objectives, functions and performance, it needs to be put under the project manager to plan the complete development process. Since an organization would have a number of software development assignments, ach project group would be sharing the resources the organization. This calls for the management to introduce a system of management of resources for each software assignment, with the objective of meeting customer expectations.

In order to distinguish one assignment from the other, an assignment is called a project with a unique code for distinguishing it identity. A project is defined as an activity that has a define start and a define end, requires multiple resources and is full of uncertainties on a number of counts. Project management is “the application of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to manage resources to deliver customer needs within agreed terms of cost, time, and scope of delivery’.

So when we define a project, we define it in terms of the scope of delivery, the time taken for delivery, the costs to be incurred and the quality that must be achieved. We further describe formally the resource requirements; communication protocols and artifacts that have to be generated; the collection, distribution and storage of project information: the cost targets by function, activity and tasks and the quality specifications in terms of requirements, functions, features, integration and performance.

In simple words, project characteristics, in the case of the modern software development approach, are continuous integration, early risk resolution, component- based development, user involvement and architecture first and design later.

Project Management Methodology

A project management methodology addresses the principles, practices and procedures for performing project management. Project management is a critical value adding process that improves the probability of project success.

Benefit of PM Methodology

A project management methodology addresses the principles, practices and procedures for performing project management. Project management is a critical value adding process that improves the probability of project success.

Some of the benefits of using a PM Methodology are:
• Reduced Risk of project Failure
• Increased Efficiency/ productivity
• Improved Quality
• Improved Communication

Project planning

Project planning is part of project management, which relates to the use of schedules such as Gantt charts to plan and subsequently report progress within the project environment.

Project Planning is foreseeing with blue print towards some predicted goals or ends. Project plan is a skeleton which consists of bundle of activities with its future prospects; it is a guided activity. It is a plan for which resources are allocated and efforts are being made to commence the project with great amount of preplanning, project is a way of defining what we hoping to do about certain issue. The project alone is not responsible for what happens during the course of a planning. Project is a final form of written documents that guides us as to what steps need to be taken next initially, the project scope is defined and the appropriate methods for completing the project are determined. Following this step, the duration for the various tasks necessary to complete the work are listed and grouped into a work breakdown structure. The logical dependencies between tasks are defined using an activity network diagram that enables identification of the critical path. Float or slack time in the schedule can be calculated using project management software. Then the necessary resources can be estimated and costs for each activity can be allocated to each resource, giving the total project cost. At this stage, the project plan may be optimized to achieve the appropriate balance between resource usage and project duration to comply with the project objectives. Once established and greed, the plan becomes what is known as the baseline. Progress will be measured against the baseline throughout the life of the project. Analyzing progress compared to the baseline is known as earned value management.

Initiating a Project

All projects start with an idea for a product, service, new capability or other desired outcome. The idea is communicated to the project sponsor using the mandate. The mandate provides a structured approach to proposing a project and contains the project’s business case.

Once the mandate has been approved a further document is prepared that explains the project in greater detail. The project definition report is used to provide this information. This document is used as a key part of the assessment when deciding whether the project should be undertaken.

In particular it outline the goals, objectives , scope, deliverables, assumptions, constraints, risks, issues, key people, benefits, costs and duration.

If authorization to proceed is given, the contract is used to obtain formal agreement from the project sponsor and budget holder to start the project. This signifies the end of the initiation phase.

Controlling a Project

The control phase involves managing and tracking the project. To do this a project plan is developed. The project plan is most commonly expressed in the form of a Gantt chart and identifies the stages, tasks, timeline and resources. A good plan will include regular milestones that act as a measure of progress and keep the project tam focused on short-term goals. Project plans may also include information about costs and dependent projects. A tracking Gantt chart can be used to monitor progress.

Once you have planned the project it is important to identify any factors that could have an impact on it. This is done using the issues log and risk log. The issues log is used to record issues and a plan to address them. The risk log is used to record and grade risks with an associated action plan to mitigate them. Often confused, risks and issues are defined as follows:

Risk: The likelihood of the occurrence of an event, usually a negative one that may adversely affect the successful completion of a project.

Issue: a concern raised by any stakeholder that needs to be addressed, either immediately or during a project.

Key to good project management and a successful project outcome is effective communication. The progress report is used to communicate progress on a regular basis, typically weekly or monthly, to all stakeholders of the project.

The control phase ends once the project has achieved its goals and objectives as detailed in the project definition report. A project may be stopped prior to completion for a variety of reasons, including changes within a business, lack of resources or higher priorities.

Closing a Project

Project closure is an important aspect of project management that is often overlooked. A project that is not closed will continue to consume resources, albeit slowly.

To receive acknowledgment from the customer that the project has ended the customer acceptance form is used. Once signed off the project team is disbanded and no more work is carried out.

At this point it is important to know whether the project has achieved its goals and objectives. This is done using the project closure report. This document communicates how well the project has performed against its original business case, quality criteria, costs, duration and tolerances.

Rather than leave valuable project experiences locked in people heads, it’s a good idea to complete and publish a lessons learnt report. This document is used to pass on any lessons that can be usefully applied to future projects.

Project plan development

The Project is prepared using knowledge areas and the life cycle model of development. A typical project plan document would have the following contents:

Introduction   -   Project name, customer, project code
    -   Objective/purpose of the project
    -   Background information
    -   References and contexts
Project organization   -   Project manager and the team
    -   Skill profiles
    -   Organization chart
    -   Reporting structure , roles and responsibilities
    -   Name and address of vendor and business partners participating in the project
    -   Persons associated with the project, DBA, SA, NA
Scope   -   SOW, broad scope and boundaries; major functions, applications
    -   Software products in detail
    -   Documentation
    -   Training
    -   Support
    -   Services
Project references   -   List of projects of similar nature and access information
Project time line   -   Project duration broken down into major blocks by deliverables and putting dates of offers
Infrastructure   -   Mention on development platforms, deployment platforms, upgrades, purchases of hardware and software, offsite and onsite requirements
Relationships   -   Contracts, document to be prepared for signatures. Approvals to be obtained
    -   Major WBS SOW and broad scope to be modeled into two layered WBS for understanding assumptions and constraints
Schedule   -   Master Gantt chart showing WBS, PERT Network and Critical Path assumptions and constraints
Budgets   -   Cost budget, resource budget billing schedule and cash flows

This project plan document is used as master plans document to initiate and co-ordinate all activities in the project planning, scheduling and control. It is also used for probing into knowledge areas and integrating them in the life cycle development process.

Project Execution Plan

The Project Execution plan is used for managing and performing various tasks described in the project plans. The execution plan translates the project plan into a set of executable activities, assigning responsibilities, indicating when to begin and complete the work, use of tools and technologies and output executables. In other words, project integration management rides over project planning and execution. Project planning decides what to execute, when and in which order. Project execution fives effect to the project plan.

Project execution is effected through a work authorization system. It is a system giving a green signal to start the activity. The system could be manned or automated, linked to a system that monitors the progress of the preceding depending activities, and triggering the start of the activity with communications sent to persons in the project team.

Having started the activity, it needs to be monitored for different aspects such as time, cost and quality and an assessment action is expected to control the progress of the activity. Hero also, the conventional system is to conduct review meting and assess the status. In the automated system, the project MIS will trigger various actions to set the progress right.

Use of project management tools, like Microsoft--- Project ( MS- Project) or Primavera, is very effective for planning, scheduling and assessing the progress of the activities , tasks and WBS.

Though the project plan is made and execution also begins with authorization backed by a proper resource plan, this process is disturbed due to the changes in requirement that may have to be executed in real time. The changes emerge for number of reasons. Some changes may have to be carried out immediately as they have a significant impact on the project and product. Some changes, however, can b deferred to next version of the software product. It is to be noted that a great number of changes at this stage will affect the project economics adversely, as a high- level of effort and considerable time is needed to give effect to the changes. Hence, change control, though formal change management system is very essential. The change management system has three components:

• Controlling the factors that create changes
• Determining the nature of change and its impact, and deciding on its scheduling
• Effecting the changes in a systematic and planned manner

The changes are controlled through trade- off analysis in terms of time, cost and quality. If the trade-off is significant and positive, it is included in the change management plan. If it is not positive then it is dropped. Determining the nature of change and its input means to understand whether the change is technical or managerial, affecting the time, cost and quality, and then identifying whether the change is in the process, technology, rules of business, standards and norms or design and architecture and deciding when to carry it out.

Note that the change management system is a mini- project management system having all its generic features. The scheduling of changes is necessary to fit them into overall execution of the project plan. It is necessary also that change is carried out at the appropriate stage and phase, and to ensure that key resources and support are available and scheduled. The corrective actions include changing the project plan and resources in such a way that budget parameters of time, cost and quality are not affected, but change also can be effected.

In addition to these two steps, it is important to select the critical and major changes that were effected and store them in the project knowledge database to share with other project managers, for learning and guidance in review meetings where the changes sought are evaluated. Project knowledge database is a very valuable knowledge resource to make a cost –effective decision on the proposed change.

Nature of project planning

One cannot conceive a project in a linear manner. It involves few activities, resources, constraints and interrelationships which can be visualized easily by the human mind and planned informally. However, when a project crosses a certain threshold level of size and complexities, informal planning has to be substituted by formal planning. Besides that it is an open system oriented planned change attempt which has certain parameters and dimension. So that, the need for formal planning is indeed much greater for project work than for normal operations. The pre-defined and outlined in detail plan of action helps than managers to perform their task more effectively and efficiently.

There are always competing demands on the resources available in a region or a country because of the limited availability and ever expanding human needs. Planning for the optimum utilization of available resources becomes a prerequisite for rapid economic development of a country or a region. Project planning makes a possible to list out the priorities and promising projects with a view to exercising national choice among various alternatives available. It is a tool by which a planner can identify a good project and to make sound investment decisions.

Need for project planning

One of the objectives of project planning is to completely define all work requested so that it will be readily identifiable to each project participant.

Besides that there are four basic reasons for project planning.

• To eliminate or reduce uncertainty.
• To improve efficiency of thee operation.
• To obtain a better understanding of the objectives.
• To provide a basis for monitoring and controlling work.

Functions of project planning

One of the objectives of project planning is to completely define all work requested so that it will be readily identifiable to ach project participant.

Besides that there are four basic reasons for project planning.

• To eliminate or reduce uncertainty.
• To improve efficiency of the operation.
• To obtain a better understanding of the objectives.
• To provide a basis for monitoring and controlling work.

Steps in project planning

Planning decisions involves a conscious choice or selection of on behavior alternative from among a group of two or more behavior alternatives. The three main steps involving project planning decisions are:

1. An individual becomes aware that there are alternative ways of action which are relevant to the decision to be made.

2. He must define each of the alternatives. Hence, the definition involving a determination of consequence s or impact of each of the proposed alternatives.

3. The individual must exercise a choice between the alternative i.e., he has to make a decision with maximum input, feedback and participation of superiors as well as subordinates.

Planning is a systematic attempt to achieve a set of goals within the specified time limit under the constraints of available resources restrictions involving the least sacrifice. Broadly speaking planning involves two different methodologies.

a) Planning by incentive and
b) Planning by direction.

Planning by incentive mainly depends on the controlling of economic tools to push economic resources towards the attainment of set goals within the specific period.

Planning by direction gives more emphasis on the direct participation of the central planning authority in the economic activities to attain the set goal within the estimated time limit.

Planning is decision making based upon futurity. It is a continuous process of making entrepreneurial decisions with an eye to the future, and methodically organizing the effect needed to carry out these decisions. The following figure vividly explains the key elements involved in the planning structure. This type of well- structured project plan helps to establish an effective monitoring and control system.

Areas of Project Planning

Comprehensive project planning covers the following:

• Planning the project work: the activities relating to the project must be spelt out in detail. They should be properly scheduled and sequenced.

• Planning the manpower and organizations: The manpower required for the project must be estimated and the responsibility for carrying out the project work must be allocated.

• Planning the money: The expenditure of money in a time-phased manner must be budged.

• Planning the information system. The information required for monitoring the project must be defined.

Types of Project Management Plan

a) One shot or Single use plans and
b) Standing or Standard use plans.

Single use Plans: It includes programs schedules and special ways of operating under particular circumstances. Single Plans are meant as objectives which center on focused and desired results. It can also be known as short term plans to deal with the specific problem for specific place with prescribed time limit.

Standing Plans: Standing plans are those which include policies, standard methods and standard operations, procedures. They are desired to deal with recurring problems. It may b treated as standard document to be used in different plans to deal with a set of problems. The design procedure and steps are already described. It may require adjustments considering the unit of operation.

Tools of Project Planning
There are different tools available for drawing the project plain in a formal. They may be grouped into two categories namely traditional tools and network analysis.

Types of Project Management Plan:

• The Project Scope Management
The scope management plan details how the project scope should be maintained and protected from change as well as how a change in scope may be allowed. The plan also provides information on how likely it is that the project scope will change and if changes do occur, how drastic those changes may be.

• The Schedule Management Plan
The Project plan details the scheduled work, milestones, and target completion dates for the project phases and the project itself. The schedule management plan, on the other hand, identifies circumstances that may change the project schedule, such as the completion of project phases or the reliance on the other projects and outside resources. The schedule management plan identifies the likelihood that the schedule will change and the impact of such changes should they occur. Finally, the schedule management plan details the approval and accountability process for changes within the project.

• The cost management Plan
The project plan includes the project budget, the cash flow forecast, and procedures for procurement and contract administration. The subsidiary cost management plan explains how variances to the costs of the project will be managed .The plan may be based on a range of acceptable variances and the expected response to variances over a given threshold.

• The Quality Management Plan
The quality management plan describes how the project will operate and meet its quality expectations. The quality management plan details the quality improvement, quality controls, and how the project will map to the quality assurance program of the performing organization. The quality management plan provides information on the required resources and time to meet the quality expectations.

• The Process Improved plan
No project is perfect, but the process improvement plan strives to find ways to make the project better. It identifies method to track and eliminate waste and non-value added activities in order to reduce the work and deliverables that don’t contribute to the project value.

• The Staffing Management plan
The Project plan includes information on the resources needed to complete the project work. The staffing management plan, however, provides details on how the project team members will be brought onto the project and released from the project. For example, a project may have a need for an electrical engineer for three months during a ten-month project. The staffing management plan will then determine how the engineer’s time is accounted for on the project and how the employees can be released when they’re no longer need on the project.

• The Communications management Plan
It’s been said that project managers spend 90 percent of their time communicating. When you consider all of the different requirements and communications of a project, it’s easy to believe that statistic. The communications management plan describes the required communications and how they will be fulfilled. It also explains the methods used for gathering, storing, and dispersing information to appropriate parties.

In addition. The communications management plan maps out the schedule of when the expected communication needs will be met. For example, milestone reports, timely status reports, project meetings, and other expected communication events are included in the communications management plan. The communications between scheduled communication events.

• The Risk Management Plan
The risk management plan details the identified risks within the project, the risks associated with the constraints and project assumptions, and how the project team will monitor, react, or avoid the risks.

• The Procurement Management Plan
If the projects includes vendors, the project plan needs a procurement management plan. This plan describes the procurement process from solicitation to source selection. The plan may also include the requirements for selection as set by the organization. The selected offers, proposals, and bids from vendor(s) should be incorporated into the procurement management plan.

Project Monitoring

The monitoring and controlling processes are the activities that ensure the project goes according to plan and the actions that need to be implemented when evidence proves the project isn’t going according to plan. Specifically, the controlling processes verify project work and the response to that work. In addition, the project manager must work to control the predicted cost and schedule of the project. Variances to the cost and schedule will affect the project’s success.

At the heart of this process group is simply controlling and monitoring the project work. This mans the project manager and the project team actively collect and measure the project‘s performance, risk, time, cost, and scope. Then, based on the collection of project performance, the project manager can react to performance to improve the project and to forecast project performance based on trend analysis.

Project Resourcing

Project resource management is multifaceted. It is ability to lead, direct, and orchestrate the project team, the customers, project managers must delegate activities.

Project managers cannot and must not, do everything. They must rely on the project team to complete the project’s purpose.

Project human resource management relies on the general management skills;

• Leading
• Communication
• Negotiating
• Problem solving
• Influencing

Project managers must find ways to motivate the project team to complete the work. There is a tendency, in many projects, for the project team to be very excited about the project at the start and then the excitement wanes as the project moves toward completion. The project managers must coach and mentor to develop the project team to ensure that the excitement, willingness, and dedication to the project work continues.

Throughout the project manager will have to address project team retention, labor relations, performance appraisals, and depending on the nature of the project work, health and safety issues.

As the project progresses, the number of stakeholders in the project may change. The project manager and the project team will need to be aware of the coming flux of stakeholders and how this change may affect the dynamics of the project team and the project work. An approach to project human resources may work well in one phase of the project but not in another due to the stakeholders that have become involved.

Project Scheduling

In project management, a schedule consists of a list of project’s terminal elements with intended start and finish dates. Terminal elements are the lowest elements in a schedule, which is not further subdivided. Those items are often estimated in terms of resource requirements, budget and duration, linked by dependences and scheduled.

Before a project schedule can be created, a project manager should typically have a work breakdown structure (WBS), an effort estimate for each task, and a resource list with availability for each resource. If these are not yet available, it may be possible to create something that looks like a schedule, but it will essentially be a work of fiction. They can be created using a consensus- driven estimation method like Wideband Delphi. The reason for this is that a schedule itself is an estimate: each date in the schedule is estimated, and if those dates do not have the buy-in of the people who are going to do work, the schedule will be inaccurate.

Though the technique of scheduling are well developed, they are inconsistently applied throughout industry. Standardization and promotion of scheduling best practices are being pursued by the association for the Advancement of cost engineering (AACE), the project Management Institute (PMI). In some large corporations, scheduling, as well as cost, estimating, and risk management are organized under the department of project controls.

Many project scheduling software products exist which can do much of the tedious work of calculating the schedule automatically, and plenty of books and tutorials dedicated to teaching people how to use them. However, before a project manager can use these tools, he or she should understand the concepts behind the WBS, dependencies, resource allocation, critical paths, Gantt charts and earned value. These are the real keys to planning a successful project.

Efforts Scheduling

Effort includes not only life cycle activities such as analysis, design, coding, etc., but also the creation of user documentation, project management, configuration management reviews & inspections, client interactions and presentations etc.

Estimation of the effort is required to make the software with in the time frame. Based on the effort, the cost and time required to complete the development is estimated. Effort will depend upon the productivity. In software development, productivity is that of the software engineer, and the effort is that of the team. Productivity is defined as

Productivity = size/effort

The unit of effort is man month. Secondly, productivity varies from organization, project to project, and size to size. So a good estimate is the one that is computed using an organization’s productivity measure. To arrive at such a measure, the organization should build the measure using size of projects successfully completed versus efforts taken.

Experience shows that productivity reduces with increasing size of the software. This means that if the size of the software increases, the effort increases exponentially. In other words, when software size increases, their relationship is not linear due to increases in the number of components or modules.

The efforts would vary from organization to organization, due to project – related factors and organizational factors. The factors that significantly influence the efforts are

• Stable development environment
• Capability, skill and experience of resource
• Team composition and stability
• Process maturity in development and management
• Reusable resource components
• Extent of new development
• Communication requirement between users/customers
• Use of development tools
• Extent of documentation
• Customer environment

Project Budgets and Costing

Costs associated with projects are not just the costs of goods procured to complete the project. The cost of the labor may be one of the biggest expenses of a project. The project manager must rely on time estimates to predict the cost of the labor to complete the project work. In addition, the cost of the equipment and materials needed to complete the project work must be factored into the project expenses.

As the business need undergoes analysis, progressive elaboration and estimates are completed based on varying levels of detail, and eventually the cost of the project emerges. Often, however, predicted costs and actual costs vary. Poor planning, skewed assumptions, and overly optimistic estimates all contribute to this. A successful project manager must be able to plan, predict, budget, and control the costs of a project.

The output of cost estimating is thee actual cost estimates of the resources required to complete the project work. The estimate is typically quantitative and can be presented in detail against the WBS components, or summarized in terms of a grand total according to various phases of the project, or its major deliverables. Each resource in the project must be accounted for and assigned to a cost category. Categories include the following;

• Labor costs
• Material costs
• Travel costs
• Supplies
• Hardware costs
• Software costs
• Special categories (inflation, cost reserve, and so on)

The cost of the project is expressed in monetary terms, such as dollars, euros, or yen, so management can compare projects based on costs. It may be acceptable, depending on the demands of the performing organization, to provide estimates in staffing hours or days of work to complete the project along with the estimated costs.

As projects have risks, the cost of the risks should be identified along with the cost of the risk responses. The project manager should list the risks, their expected risk event value, and the response to the risk should it come into play.

The projects have risks, the cost of the risks should be identified along with the cost of the risk responses. The project manager should list the risks, their expected risk event value, and the response to the risk should it come into play.

The project manager also has to consider changes to the project scope. Changes are that if the project scope increases in size, then the project budget should reflect these changes. A failure to offset approved changes with an appropriate dollar amount will skew the project’s cost baselines and show a false variance.

Reporting Project Performance

Performance reporting is the Process of collecting, organizing, and disseminating information on how project resources are being used to complete the project objectives. In other words, the people footing the bill and affected by the outcome of the project need some confirmation that things are going the way the project manager has promised.

Performance reporting covers more than just cost and schedule, though these are the most common concerns. Another huge issue is the influence of risks on the project success. The project manager and the project team must continue to monitor and evaluate risks, including pending risks, and their impact on the project success.

Throughout the project, customers and other stakeholders are going to need updates on the project performance. The work performance information, the status of what’s been completed and what’s left to do, is always at the heart of performance reporting. Stakeholders want to be kept abreast of how the project is performing.

The goal of performance reporting is to share information regarding the project performance with the appropriate stakeholders. Of course, performance reporting is not something done only at the end of the project or after a project phase. Instead, it is done according to a regular schedule, as detailed in the communication plan, or as project conditions warrant. Outputs of performance reporting include such things as:

• Performance reports: these are the results and summation of the project performance analysis. The communications management plan will detail the type of report needed based on the conditions within the project, the timing of the communication, and the demands of the project stakeholder.

• Forecasting: Will the project end on schedule? Will the project be on budget? How much longer will it take to complete the project? And how more money will this project need to finish?

• Change requests: Performance results may prompt change requests to some area or areas of the project. The change requests should flow into the change control System for consideration and then approval or denial.

• Recommended corrective actions: corrective actions center on bringing future project performance back in alignment with the project plan.
Copyright © 2015         Home | Contact | Projects | Jobs

Review Questions
  • 1. What is a project?
  • 2. Write a short note on overview of project management.
  • 3. Why project management in software industry is considered to be critical in nature?
  • 4. What is software project management? What are the factors of effective software project management?
  • 5. Why do software products fail? Explain.
  • 6. What do you mean by project management methodology? What are the benefits of it?
  • 7. What is project planning? Why does it required in software project management?
  • 8. Explain the functions of project planning?
  • 9. What are the areas covered in project management plan.
  • 10. Explain the different types of project management plan.
  • 11. Write short notes on; a) project monitoring b) Project resourcing c) Project scheduling.
  • 12. What are the factors that can influence the effort on projects/ explain.
  • 13. What is the different cost categories involved in projects?
Copyright © 2015         Home | Contact | Projects | Jobs

Related Topics
Software Project Management Keywords
  • Software Project Management Notes

  • Software Project Management Programs

  • Software Project Management Syllabus

  • Software Project Management Sample Questions

  • Software Project Management Subjects

  • EMBA Software Project Management Subjects

  • Software Project Management Study Material

  • BBA Software Project Management Study Material