Every project needs at least one goal. Most have multiple goals. Sometimes these are called the project objectives or are collectively referred to as the mission of the project. Actually, we believe that the mission of the project is to accomplish the goals and objectives. Whatever label is used, defining them clearly and crisply can be one of the simplest and most beneficial things done during the whole software development project. A fuzzy goal will most likely lead to fuzzy results. Managing software projects well is mostly about managing expectations and foreseeing risks.
The software project manager always has at least one goal: to finish the project. This comes from the definition of what a software project is: a unique, temporary endeavor with definedsfart and end dates to achieve one or moreobjectives within the constraints of cost, schedule, and quality performance.
Often, what seems like an obvious software project goal may not be seen the same way by everyone. This is why it is important to write it down and interpret it for the project team. For example, a software development project to build a Web-based timesheet data entry system may be viewed as:
® An internal tool development effort by the engineering manager;
® A training exercise by the recently hired programmers;
® A requirement before starting a new software development project for an external customer by the general manager;
® A marketing tool to demonstrate the capabilities of the development team by the sales staff.
Each of these views implies a different level of robustness, ease of use, and maintainability for the final end-product software deliverable. Unfortunately, many project managers would simply state that the project goal is to "build a timesheet data entry system," and leave it at that, inviting misinterpretation later. To clarify the goal for all stakeholders, this project could have the goal and objectives defined as in Box 112.
This statement is what some call "the elevator speech." It is a clear but concise description of the project that could be conveyed to the CEO informally on the spur of the moment in a short elevator ride, without prior notice. In the example, it states that the project is for internal use (implying internal benefit but no revenue directly associated with it), it includes successful deployment (not just development), it specifies who the customer is (the engineering department), and it cites a time frame (before the beginning of the next major external software product development project).
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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.