To start learning software project management, it is important to understand its basic concepts. Because a manager needs to have a comprehensive understanding of software project management, from basic concepts to extensive experience.
What is Software Project Management?
Software project management is the planning and leading process of software projects. It is a sub-discipline of project management that deals with the planning, implementation, monitoring, and control of software projects.
Who is a Software Project Manager?
A software project manager is in charge of planning, scheduling, budgeting, implementing, and delivering software projects. He ensures the successful completion of all software projects and also supervises the people working on the projects.
Need for software project management
The main objective of software project management is to manage software projects effectively and to deal with all the obstacles that pose risks in software development. It enables software engineers to work efficiently for successful project completion.
Software projects, like any other projects, are subject to certain constraints that can impact their success. The three main constraints of software projects are:
- Scope – It refers to the purpose of the software implementation. It is the set of specific requirements on which the application is designed and that is what is properly addressed when creating a software project.
- Time – Every software project has a specific time frame for project completion. The software project must be completed within this specified time.
- Budget – It refers to the financial resources allocated to the software project, including costs associated with development, testing, infrastructure, tools, and resources.
Types of Software
There are various types of software, each serving different purposes and functions. The three main types of Software are the following:
- System Software – These software programs are designed to run the application programs and hardware of the computer. System software integrates the activities and functions of hardware and software.
- Application Software – This type of software is a computer software package that performs a specific function for a user, or in some cases, another application. Application software can be standalone, or it can be a group of programs that run the application for the user.
- Embedded software – It is a piece of software that is embedded in hardware or non-PC devices. It is written specifically for the specific hardware it runs on and typically has processing and memory constraints due to the limited computing capabilities of the device.
Key Principles of Software Project Management
Project management principles are the basic principles that must be followed for the successful management of Software projects. The nine principles of software project management are:
- Formal Project Management Structure
- Invest and engage the project sponsor
- Clear and objective goals and results
- Document roles and responsibilities
- Robust change management
- Risk Management
- Capabilities of mature value delivery.
- Performance Management Baseline
- Communication plan
Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)
SDLC or Software Development Life Cycle is a process that produces the highest quality and lowest cost software in the shortest possible time.
The SDLC provides a well-structured flow of stages that helps an organization quickly develop high-quality software that is well-tested and ready for production use. Following is a list of the six phases of SDLC.
- Planning & Requirements Gathering
Stake Holders in Software Project Development
The term “stakeholder” refers to individuals or groups affected by a software development project. Stakeholders exist both inside and outside the organization. They may be end users, or they may be affected by the process.
Input from stakeholders tells the company what kind of software is needed, suggesting ideas for features or problems it needs to solve. As a group they evaluate the merits of each other’s ideas, prioritizing a list of potential features. They know what will or won’t work in their workflow.
In addition, as representatives of their category’s interests, they have the ability to manage any unique needs that may conflict with other stakeholders. Gaining this knowledge early helps developers find compromises before serious problems arise.
Let’s explore the key stakeholders involved in software project development.
- Project Manager
- Development Team
- Business Analysts
- Quality Assurance (QA) Team
- Project Sponsor
- Regulatory Authorities
Software Project vs Software Product
Project and product are two important terms in software development. The main difference between the two is that “project” is a series of steps to create a suitable product, while “product” is the end result of the software development cycle.
Below is the step-by-step comparison between “Software Project” and “Software Product“.
|Software Project||Software Product|
|Temporary effort to create software||End result of a completed software project|
|Involves planning, development, and delivery||Final software that is ready for use|
|Has defined timeline, budget, and resources||Represents culmination of software development|
|Requires project management for coordination||Expected to meet user requirements|
|Involves stakeholders, team members, and phases||Subject to updates and maintenance|
|Can be customized based on project requirements||Can be sold, distributed, or licensed|
|May involve iterative or incremental development||Can be tailored to specific user needs|
Best practices of software project management
Organizations that undertake software development often only plan for success within allocated budgets, expected deliverables, management expectations, and go-live goals. Yet, despite their best efforts, project failure is common.
With such a broad list of failure factors, increasing the success rate of software implementations may seem impossible, but it is certainly achievable. By adopting some best practices, you can ensure that projects are delivered on time, milestones are met, and surprises are minimized.
Here are the ten best project management practices to keep you on track and within budget.
- Define clear project objectives
- Develop a detailed project plan
- Establish effective communication channels
- Assign roles and responsibilities
- Monitor and track progress
- Manage risks and issues
- Collaborate and foster teamwork
- Follow quality assurance processes
- Review and learn from project experiences
- Keep stakeholders informed.
In conclusion, understanding basic software project management concepts such as SDLC, stakeholder management, software types, and best practices is critical to project success. Software project managers can achieve positive results by following best practices such as clear purpose, detailed planning, effective communication, risk management, and teamwork. It is also important to continuously review and learn from project experiences, maintain quality assurance processes, and inform stakeholders. By applying these concepts and best practices, software project managers can optimize project efficiency and deliver successful software projects.