These days software can as well be designated as the bloodline of our modern or post-modern digitized world that is too much drawn on the virtual experience of everything, turning each and every aspect of our life on the earth into the simulated reality. Taking slightly a detached posture by going away from the immediate a little we can raise our eyes in exclamation and ask 'how came software take hold of everything, from our banking needs to retail outlets to transportation to governance'? To obtain a surface view of the software development or the history of software project management is crucial for our understanding of the topic in depth.
Software can be of varied needs or requirements, starting from macro ones relating to governance or retail or banking to health care and micro ones in respect of even catering to individual specificities and in relation to these particularities or specificities of necessary software the project with the objective of developing a software is undertaken and there comes the role of the management for assuring highest performance standard and positive outcome of the software project. Unlike other projects in different fields involving different set of technicalities and skill set software project management is an intangible area of management where the subsequent development of the project cannot be measured or determined specifically until its completion. In a construction project of a bridge for example it can very well be said according to the visible measure and judgment how much is left of the project or how far the bridge is completed, but in complete contrast in a software project though the software engineers and software programmers can demand of the project to already have progressed as far as 60% or 70%, in reality if the project fail to deliver its targeted outcome, even after multiple laps of progress the software project can be declared in the end as a complete failure.
Before we get into a in detail enumeration of software project management in its professional principles to its successive development with the change of technology and business perspectives to the basic ground rules of success of software projects in the changing global business environment and other important aspects, let us have a look at some aspects that a software project normally differ from others.
Apart from the aspect of its being intangible to be determined, software projects are often like virtual islands with little to share or get help from other software projects apart from the development of the programming language in its present state. It cannot follow any model all through its process and here the previous success and failure stories of various software projects have mostly to offer insights and almost nothing in material help. With the change of technology becoming the determinant of success most of the large or crucial software projects are increasingly becoming dependent on the breakthroughs in the technological front and software project management primarily and most importantly is supposed to consider the role of technology with utmost importance. Lastly the changing business process environment and expectation, cost and competitiveness of business deliverables is another determining factor for software project management and software project as a whole.
Definition of Software Project Management
In easy and convenient way to define the management of projects concerning software development, planning, implementation and control is called software project management. Software project management as a specific discipline consists of four different activities, namely planning of the project, scheduling of project, risk management and finally management of manpower involved in the respective software project.
Software Project Planning
The biggest challenging area in any software project begins with the various aspects of planning a software project. Planning starts with understanding of the resources required for a project and subsequent planning of how these resources should be applied. A software project further is needed to concentrate on different plans or aspects associated with the development of a software. Some of these plans include software development plan, quality assurance plan, validation plan, configuration management plan, maintenance plan and staff development plan in terms of software application and use. Though all these different skill sets of a software project are equally important software development and quality assurance are the two most important and prime areas according to the widespread business focus on these.
The central area of planning is called software development plan which describes how the system will be developed and how it will work to meet the specific need of the client. Quality assurance plan defines how the quality parameters and how the standard quality measure would be implemented for the software project to assure certain performance standard. Validation plan will define how and on what parameter the performance and the process of the software system should be validated by the client. Configuration management plan would define how the software system will be configured and installed for further application. Maintenance plan is all about the maintenance of the developed software and all round performance. Finally staff development plan will define how the skill set of the participant work force in a software project will be developed.
As software development plan holds the most crucial and central position in any software project normally software development is referred as the primary area to judge the qualitative aspect of software project management. Here we would discuss below on some of the crucial aspects of software development that can be deciding for the overall project.
Crucial aspects of Software Development
Some of the most crucial considerations of a software development plan include not overestimating your developer team's ability, client communication and in every aspect providing a realistic picture rather than just what the clients want to hear, having proper communication and properly laid path for the developer to follow, etc. Other important aspects of a software development plan include analysis and measurement of the available resources, risk analysis, breakdown of the whole project in several milestones and priorities and timeframes, scheduling of the terminal and specific task based timeframes, allocation of the work to the deserving manpower and finally time to time reporting and work progress management.