Once the team begins the production of software, the project manager must monitor the production process in several ways. These include software production and quality metrics, effort and cost data, value achievement, and process improvement.
The project management skill here is in knowing what to monitor when, where to measure, and how much effort to expend. It is important to keep up with both code dependencies and personnel dependencies. Few activities are more unproductive than having to wait for needed resources. Chapter 21, "Software Metrics," andChapter 22, "Analysis and Design Methods," discuss many of these items in detail.Chapter 25, "Project Tracking and Control," relates them to the goals of the project.
Project Competency 18: Scheduling—Creating a Schedule and Key Milestones
The schedule is de-rived from the WBS and includes step duration, significant milestones, any work products to be produced, and who is responsible for them. Usually represented as a Gantt chart, but equally useful as a table, the schedule adds flesh to the WBS backbone, bringing the project to life.
Good scheduling requires technique and is an art form similar to the creation of a WBS. It starts with knowing the scope of the project, covered in Chapter 7, "Defining the Goal and Scope of the Software Project," and is refined irChapter 14, "Considering Dependencies." In Chapter 15, "Scheduling the Work," we teach the ability to schedule a software project in the "real world."
Project Competency 19: Selecting Metrics—Choosing Appropriate Metrics
Metrics are the yardstick for a software development project. They serve as an early warning system, a way to keep your finger on the pulse. If a project is veering off course, a metrics "detection system" will allow it to be brought back in line before it becomes unmanageable. When we suspect that we need process improvements, metrics can be used to turn an opinion into justification for effort, supported by data. Figure 1-11 is an example of defect tracking—one of many metrics tools.
Figure 1-11. Software Metrics
Figure 1-11. Software Metrics
In Chapter 21. "Software Metrics," we discuss the concepts behind the most commonly used software metrics and how to select an appropriate one for a given project. Support and resources for metrics are discussed in Appendix A, "Supporting Organizations." InChapter 24, "Use of Tools," we show how to use certain tools to monitor the selected metrics. These skills are then illustrated in the case study.
Project Competency 20: Selecting Project Management Tools—Knowing How to Select PM Tools
Every project manager should understand the criteria for selecting and using appropriate software project management tools. The use of tools will not guarantee quality software, on-time software, or within-budget software, but they do serve as aides. There is no silver bullet that will replace the activities of taking time to decide upon the appropriate tools, plan for them, and train their users.
Basic tools range from simple personal information managers (PIMs) to centralized enterprise-wide resource management, tracking, and scheduling tools. Others include configuration management tools from simple source version control systems, to full product data management systems (PDMs) and integrated CASE tools. Selection criteria and a categorization for the tools are presented in Chapter 24, "Use of Tools."
Project Competency 21: Tracking Process—Monitoring Compliance of the Project Team
Part of the software quality assurance function, this skill involves tracking project execution against defined processes, recognizing deviations, and knowing what to do about them.
In Chapter 2. "A Case in Point," little or no process tracking is performed, since there is little or no defined process, and the project spins out of control. Chapter 5. "Managing Domain Processes," andChapter 21. "Software Metrics," discuss how to define and manage project domain processes using metrics, while Chapter 25. "Project Tracking and Control." Chapter 30. "Software Quality Assurance," andChapter 26. "Continuous Process Improvements," show the skills needed to monitor compliance of the project team to defined processes.
Project Competency 22: Tracking Project Progress—Monitoring Progress Using Metrics
Many pro-jects burn energy but don't get anywhere. A key project management skill is being able to track real progress, not just effort. This skill relates to metric selection and development monitoring, and includes earned value analysis and project buffer management.
Figures 1-12 and 1-13 show but two of the many software tracking tools that graph progress metrics. As shown ¡Figure 1-17, tracking progress is an integral task that spans the life cycle (note "Implement Problem Reporting Methods," under "Project Management and Control").
Figure 1-12. Tracking Software Progress famari Walna /^M+i^fsl /CPI * f^CHI
A! 07/19/97 for Project T638 Sample Project
CR key 0.9 < CFt < 1.1 0.S<CR<1.2 0.6 < CR < 1-4
Figure 1-13. Tracking Progress
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What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.