How Do I Lead

First, make sure that the overall objectives of the project are clear, and communicate these to the team focus on a common goal. Develop and communicate plans which detail the tasks and individual goals of the team (and those around them). Finally, make sure that the work is being done and goals met, and communicate this progress against the plan back to IS management and the users. Leadership is often portrayed as a three-part process performing the task, guiding and building the skills of the...

Software General

Software Shock, the Danger and the Opportunity, by Roger S. Pressman and S. Russell Herron, Dorset House. This is the book to read if you're new to the world of software and its problems. It explains in very simple terms what software is, how we create it, and what the problems are with those processes. The Soul of a New Machine, by Tracy Kidder, Black Bay Books 2000. This is the very readable true story of the team who created a new computer, and the technology and man-management problems...

Analysis and Methods

UML Distilled, by Martin Fowler, Addison Wesley 1997. A concise and very readable introduction to the Unified Modelling Language, this also describes a number of techniques for using it effectively. The Rational Unified Process, by Philippe Krutchen, Addison Wesley 1998. This is a companion book to UML Distilled, describing a method for developing component-based software using UML. This is a short book which focuses on the principles and how to structure work using RUP. Writing Effective Use...

What Does a Project Manager Do

I've met many people who seem to think that project management is about solving problems of someone else's creation, like Tommy Lee Jones's character. However, I'd say that if this is your situation, then you're either a top trouble-shooter, or you haven't managed the projects properly. To avoid ending up like this, there are a number of things you have to do, regularly and effectively, starting with your first involvement in the project > Leading and building the team. Co-ordinate the...

What are the Key Skills of a Project Manager

Planning and communicating are the two key skills essential for success in project management. Like any other skill they can be learned, and will improve with practice. Don't be afraid to admit that you may need help with them. Watch those who do them well, and ask for advice. You can also learn a lot from books or training courses, but these are no substitute for experience Make sure that every part of the project is represented in a documented plan. Remember, a plan is only complete if you...

Man and Project Management

Peopleware - Productive Projects and Teams, by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister, Dorset House 1987. This exceptional book explains how to get the best (or the worst ) from the people who are your key development resource, with good practices for building and managing productive teams. If s very readable. DeMarco & Lister also do occasional public courses based on the same material, which I can wholeheartedly recommend. Debugging the Development Process, by Steve Maguire, Microsoft Press 1994....

How Do I Plan for Long Term Support and Maintenance

Whether or not you are going to run the long-term support and maintenance for your system, you need to think carefully about how they will be managed, and make sure that the deliverables from the previous stages will meet their requirements. Consider the internal and external events to which the operators of the system must respond. If they are a separate organisation, ask them - they will have experienced problems which you may not have thought of (or even thought possible ). You need to write...

Whats A Typical Procurement Process

There are several reasons why you might want to procure something from outside your own organisation, including the following You may not have the skills or resources to develop the system yourselves, You may want to supplement your skills with external resources but retain control of the development, You may believe that there are good package solutions to your problems -you'd be daft to write your own word-processor, for example, You may want to use an existing system either as a basis for...

How Can I Present My Plan

There are two prime requirements for the presentation of your plan clarity and maintainability. It has to be understood by a large number of people. You have to be able to update it, easily. You can present your plan in tabular form (like on page 76), but it may be better to communicate the key information graphically. The Gantt chart is the most common way of showing the tasks and milestones with their projected dates. This simply represents time along the X-axis and tasks as bars. The...

What are Critical Success Factors

During the acceptance process, you'll have to check whether you have satisfied a large number of requirements. If s very useful (essential if you want a clear indication of success and failure) to identify a few key targets which you must meet. These are the critical success factors for the project. Ideally, you should express these in terms of the user's business, or in terms of very visible attributes of your project such as total cost or final delivery date. However, they might well include...

The Art of Project Management

You won't be able to do all the tasks in a development yourself. Usually, you will have a team working with you, perhaps an external supplier, and you will also have to get what you need from the users and your managers. To fulfil your task you will have to manage, either directly or indirectly, the efforts of all these people. Essentially you must This chapter is about how to manage people to achieve your project's objectives. I assume that, as a newcomer to project management, you're going to...

How Do I Build a Team

If you're lucky, then the members of your project team will start to work together in a way that will make the team more successful than the individuals working togther. There will be a clear common objective, and work will be directed effectively towards that objective. You may find there is a certain amount of unspoken communication, with a greater common understanding than usual. This is a very enjoyable and productive experience. It is often described as a team jelling. There's no simple,...