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Control in Software Project Management - Part III

written by: chemuturi • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 9/8/2010

This article is the third is a series which details control of schedule, quality, effort and productivity as well as mechanisms for exercising right control in software project management.

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    Quality, Effort, and Productivity

    Software Development Schedules can go haywire mainly due to lack of conformance to the original schedule by the project management. The lack of conformance is primarily a product of:

    • Poorly developed original schedule – tasks are not granular enough to facilitate proper tracking
    • Not getting approvals in time
    • Making most of the tasks slightly elastic and stretch – the cumulative effect would be significant – this type of scenario arises out of poor project management
    • Scope creep
    • Un-controlled change requests
    • Poor oversight by senior management

    Quality

    The importance of quality cannot be over-emphasized. Suffice it to say, “Quality has to be built-in – not added.” Poor quality causes re-work and productivity of re-work is very low as well as it causes loss of motivation. Quality has to be planned and controlled –in all its facets, namely:

    1. Total Quality management through:
      • Quality of Specifications – this can be achieved thru standards, guidelines, specifications and review by peers
      • Quality of Design – this can be achieved thru standards, guidelines, specifications and review by peers
      • Quality of Construction – this can be achieved thru standards, guidelines, specifications, tools, review by peers and testing
      • Quality of confirming quality – this can be achieved thru appropriate Quality Assurance process, tools, and mainly, management support
    2. Appropriate process for quality assurance in the organization
    3. Motivation and morale for achieving high quality in the organization

    Any and all effort spent on quality assurance always pays rich dividends.

    Effort

    Effort is a major component of both the cost and schedule in software project management. Every increase in effort causes a proportionate increase in cost and schedule. Therefore, project managers need to closely monitor the effort being spent on the project. Effort increases are due mainly to Scope Creep, which stems from:

    • Poor productivity
    • Poor quality resulting in re-work
    • Uncontrolled change requests
    • Poor HR practices resulting in low motivation or morale in the organization, which can lead to poor productivity

    Productivity

    Poor productivity results in increased effort and inefficient use of other resources which attributes to cost escalation. The main reason for lower productivity in software project management is a poor work environment.

    A poor work environment is the product of:

    • Poor supervision
    • Lack of proper tools that increase productivity
    • Lack of software processes or poor definition of the process
    • Laxity in conforming to defined process results in poor productivity
    • Poor quality assurance processes or practices resulting in re-work and reduction in productivity
    • Poor HR practices resulting in low motivation or morale in the organization

    Productivity improvement in software project management is a continuous process. Project managers must place close attention on monitoring productivity levels in their software projects.

Control in Software Project Management

This series defines the term Control as it is applicable in the context of software project management and explains the aspect to be controlled and the mechanisms available for exercising the right control
  1. Control in Software Project Management
  2. Control in Software Project Management - Part III
  3. Control in Software Project Management - Part IV