Introduction To Software Project Planning
Software project management begins with a set of activities collectively known as project planning. Before a project can begin, it is important for the manager and software team to identify the activities to be completed and properly manage the division of work among the software development participants, the resources that will be needed, and the time that will elapse from start to finish. Consequently, planning is very important as it leads to successful software development.
Project planning is a systematic and coordinated management process that focuses on the steps necessary for the practical completion of a project. It avoids problems in the project, such as changes in project or organization objectives, lack of resources, etc.
Project planning also helps in better utilization of resources, and in making the most efficient use of the project’s allotted time. Other goals of project planning are as follows.
- Clearly define project objectives
- Define project scope
- Estimate resources
- Develop a realistic schedule
- Allocate tasks and responsibilities
- Identify and manage risks
- Ensure quality assurance
- Monitor and control project progress
- Create documentation
- Foster effective communication
- Achieve stakeholder satisfaction
- Foster team collaboration
The 4 P’s in Project Planning Management
In order to build a product properly, there is a very important concept that we all need to know when developing a product in software project planning.
The 4P’s in software project planning refer to the four key elements that need to be considered for successful project management. These elements are:
Observations on Software Project Estimation
Estimating resources, costs, and schedules for software engineering efforts requires experience, access to good historical data, and the courage to make quantitative predictions when only qualitative information is available. There is inherent risk in estimates and this risk leads to uncertainty.
The complexity of the project has a strong influence on planning uncertainty. Complexity, however, is a relative measure influenced by familiarity with past efforts.
Project size is another important factor that can affect the accuracy and usefulness of estimates. As size increases, interdependencies between different software elements increase exponentially. Problem decomposition, an important approximation method, becomes more difficult because the elements of the decomposition can still be difficult.
Project Planning Objectives
The purpose of software project planning is to provide a framework that enables the manager to make reasonable estimates of resources, costs, and schedule. These estimates are made within a limited time at the beginning of the software project and should be updated regularly as the project progresses.
The objective of planning is achieved through the process of discovering information that leads to reasonable estimates. In the following sections, each of the activities associated with planning a software project is discussed.
Project Planning Process
The project planning process involves a number of interrelated actions in a sequential order to implement the user requirements into the software. It describes a series of project planning activities and the person(s) responsible for carrying them out. The project planning process also includes the following steps.
- Project Objectives and Scope
- Techniques for initiating project planning
- People participating in the project effort (measured by time)
- Timeline and milestones for the project
- The project will require specific resources.
- Potential risks of the project.
The project planning process consists of a number of tasks that a project needs to complete methodically. These activities belong to a set of functions that evolve over time to create software. These steps include assessing the time, effort and resource requirements as well as project risks.
Activities Associated With Software Project Planning
Software project planning is a crucial step in the software development life cycle (SDLC) that involves defining the scope, objectives, and goals of a software project and establishing a roadmap to achieve them. The activities associated with software project planning typically include:
1. Estimation of Software Project Scope
The first activity in software project planning is defining the scope of the software. During system engineering, the function and performance allocated to the software must be evaluated to establish a project scope that is understandable at the managerial and technical levels.
2. Identifying the Required Resources
Another software planning function is estimating the resources needed to complete the software development effort. Following are the three main types of resources that are required to develop software.
- Human Resources – The number of people or project team needed to complete the project.
- Reusable Software Resources – Reusable software resources are pre-built components, tools, frameworks, or libraries that can be used repeatedly across different software projects.
- Environmental Resources – Environmental resources are resources required to develop software. These resources include hardware, software, network, development environment, data and project security.
3. Software Project Cost Estimation
It is important to understant that how much a project will cost. Cost estimates cover the cost of hardware, network connections, and maintenance of hardware components. In addition, the cost to the participants of the project is estimated.
4. Identification of risks
Unforeseen events that adversely affect the project are known as risks. A software project involves several risks (such as technical and business risks) that can affect the project’s timeline and cost. Identifying risks before a project begins helps determine their potential impact on the project.