Hello guys!! This is the fourth article in Project Management article series. Through this article, let’s talk about some more important points in project management. If you have not still read the previous articles, please follow the links below.

What is project Management?

Project Management Process (Part I)

Project Management Process (Part II)

In a project management process, there are several factors which are to be given a special attention in order for a successful software project.

Project Scope Management

Scope refers to all the work involved in creating the products of the project and the processes used to create them. A deliverable is a product produced as part of a project, such as hardware or software, planning documents, or meeting minutes. Project scope management includes the processes involved in defining and controlling what is or is not included in a project.

Project scope management process includes the following processes.

  • Scope planning: deciding how the scope will be defined, verified, and controlled
  • Scope definition: reviewing the project charter and preliminary scope statement and adding more information as requirements are developed and change requests are approved.
  • Creating the WBS (Work Breakdown Structure): subdividing the major project deliverable into smaller, more manageable components.
  • Scope verification: formalizing acceptance of the project scope by key project stakeholders
  • Scope control: controlling changes to project scope which impact project cost and time goals.

The project scope management plan is a document that includes descriptions of how the team will prepare the project scope statement, create the WBS, verify completion of the project deliverable, and control requests for changes to the project scope. Key inputs include the project charter, preliminary scope statement and project management plan. It should be reviewed with the project sponsor to make sure the approach meets the expectations.

The project team develops a preliminary scope statement in initiating a project. A more specific project scope statement can be created with the preliminary scope statement, project charter, organizational process assets, and approved change requests.

A WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) is a deliverable-oriented grouping of the work involved in a project that defines the total scope of the
project. WBS is a foundation document that provides the basis for
planning and managing project schedules, costs, resources, and changes. The project scope statement and project management plan are the primary inputs for creating a WBS.

It is very difficult to create a good scope statement and WBS for a project. It is even more difficult to verify project scope and minimize scope changes. Scope verification involves formal acceptance of the completed project scope by the stakeholders. Acceptance is often achieved by a customer inspection and then sign-off on key deliverable.

Scope control involves controlling changes to the project scope. Goals of scope control are to:

  • Influence the factors that cause scope changes
  • Assure changes are processed according to procedures developed as part of integrated change control
  • Manage changes when they occur

Tools for performing scope control include a change control system and configuration management.

Project Time Management

Managers often identify delivering projects on time as one of their biggest challenges. The reason is that time has the least amount of flexibility; it passes no matter what. Schedule issues are the main reason for conflicts on projects, especially during the second half of projects. Project time management involves the processes required to ensure timely completion of a project. Processes include:

  • Activity definition
  • Activity sequencing
  • Activity duration estimating
  • Schedule development
  • Schedule control

Activity definition

Project schedules grow out of the basic document that initiate a project. Project charter includes start and end dates and budget information. Scope statement and WBS help define what will be done. Activity definition involves developing a more detailed WBS and supporting explanations to understand all the work to be done so you can develop realistic duration estimates.

Activity sequencing

Involves reviewing activities and determining dependencies. You must determine dependencies in order to use critical path analysis.

  • Mandatory dependencies: inherent in the nature of the work; hard
    logic.
  • Discretionary dependencies: defined by the project team; soft logic.
  • External dependencies: involve relationships between project and
    non-project activities

Activity duration estimating

After defining activities and determining their sequence, the next step in time management is duration estimating. Duration includes the actual amount of time worked on an activity plus elapsed time. Effort is the number of workdays or work hours required to complete a task. Effort does not equal duration. People doing the work should help create estimates, and an expert should review them.

Schedule development

Schedule development uses results of the other time management processes to determine the start and end date of the project and its activities. Ultimate goal is to create a realistic project schedule that provides a basis for monitoring project progress for the time dimension of the project. Important tools and techniques include Gantt charts, PERT analysis(Program Evaluation and Review Technique), critical path analysis, and critical chain scheduling.

Schedule control

It should be performed the reality checks on schedules. Contingencies should be allowed. Remember not to plan for everyone to work at 100% capacity all the time and hold progress meetings with stakeholders and be clear and honest in communicating schedule issues.

In order for a software project to be successful, above factors should be planned and managed effectively are carefully. Let’s meet with the next article to discuss more about project management processes.