Creating the User Manual and Help System

Every piece of software needs a user manual and a help system associated with it, even if the piece of software is a subcomponent of a much larger software product. If you're building a subcomponent, the documentation for this smaller piece may simply need to be incorporated into an already-existing framework alternatively, it may need to have stand-alone documentation and help files. If you're creating a stand-alone product or a component with standalone help and documentation, you have a real...

Working with a resource calendar

Your project team members have a life beyond your project. They have vacations, doctor appointments, sick kids, and more. In addition, your project team members may be working on more than one project at a time and they can't allot all of their working hours to your project. A Gantt chart shows the project schedule against the backdrop of a calendar. A Gantt chart shows the project schedule against the backdrop of a calendar. As you build the resource calendar, which identifies when the...

Using a project management information system

A project management information system (PMIS) is a set of automated tools that enable you and your project team to gather information, develop and track the project plan, and keep track of the status of your software project and communicate that information to the appropriate stakeholders. These can be homegrown systems, off-the-shelf systems, or enterprise-wide systems. Track resources to find out whether team members are available, overextended, and on track with their deadlines. il Control...

Closing the Software Project

The end of the software project is an exciting time for the software project manager. Along with planning a festive celebration with your team, you're busy performing the actions that go with the closing process group of project management. These activities include ensuring that the appropriate stakeholders are satisfied with the final product, closing out vendor contracts, completing and distributing your lessons learned documents (see Chapter 17), performing audits, and releasing your...

Automating communications

So much of project management is redundant work. Your project team fills out a form and e-mails it to you. You review the form and plug results into your project management information system (PMIS). From there, you may need to generate more reports, more e-mails, and more communication. And don't forget all the repetition from stakeholders questions on the project status, budget, schedule, change requests, and more. All of this monotonous, repetitive communication is needed and you're...

Creating a Work Breakdown Structure

A work breakdown structure (WBS) is a visual representation of everything the project will create. Typically, a WBS includes things (deliverables, components, and so on), not activities. However, there's no hard-and-fast rule on exempting activities from your WBS. I prefer to keep work out of the WBS and focus on the things the work will create. Although we do allow some actions to sneak in, such as testing, ordering, and compiling, most of our WBSs are comprised of deliverables. And I know you...

Completing a Project Feasibility Study

News flash. But what if you know a project is not feasible before the project work begins It'd make a huge difference to have this knowledge early on, right A project feasibility study (often just called a feasibility study) determines whether a project is feasible with the constraints tied to the project. For example, you might ask, Can you create the desired software in four months, with two developers, and a proposed budget of 58,000 A feasibility study looks...

Determining realistic project milestones

Consider the major events or accomplishments in your life these are considered milestones. Some examples are i Landing that first project management job i Getting hitched i Buying a car i Earning a promotion You may have different milestones, but a project milestone list should consist of realistic, attainable milestones such as the following i Contract signed i Project team in place i Phase 1 development complete i Unit testing complete i Project acceptance sign-off i Final payment received...

Writing the Product Description

One of the key activities for the project manager, the key project stakeholders, the customers, and in some instances, the project team is writing the product description. You have to write the product description during the initiation stage because it officially captures what the project will create. Verbally everyone can agree on what the project will create, but to have it on paper makes it official. The product description captures the essence of what the project will create. It describes...

Completing scope Verification

During the planning phase of every project management process, project managers the world over create a scope management plan this plan details how you define your software project scope and declares how the project scope should be controlled to prevent scope creep. In your scope management plan, you must also record how you will verify your scope. Indeed, in the quality planning stage, you describe how the software would be formally accepted by the appropriate stakeholders. Your firm may...

Initiating a Software Project

Project Initiating

Determining what the project's purpose is Handling the various organizational entities Studying the project's feasibility Determining which plan works best Recognizing problems in your software project Aojects, big and small, have to be initiated. All initiation really means is that everyone acknowledges that the project has a purpose (and that everyone agrees on what that purpose is) to solve a problem, to grasp an opportunity, or to meet demand for a new piece of software. Software projects,...

Establishing project goals

Before you establish the project goals for your software project, you should become familiar with the goals of the organization. A good software project plan supports and aligns with the strategic goals of the organization. After you define the project goals, all of the other project management processes should support those goals. For example, the quality management plan should support the quality goals of the software project and the product. Have you ever heard the expression, If you don't...