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The main goal of almost all the software projects is to develop an effective and efficient software quality product that is in tune to the user’s requirements and with the source provided. To develop a best product, one should be with clear idea of the plan and the requisite source to develop the application on schedule, quality, and cost control. Software engineering focuses on the following factors
Product: Product is software application that is developed.
Process: Process is a software engineering activity or action that is interrelated to achieve pre define software product, service or result
Project: Project is the tasks assigned to important assets to deliver a preferred product.
People: People are key elements of a good delivered quality project as they are mainly in charge for building best application (Pressman 2005). Most software professional’s studies in the last 10 years, none has talked about people who are professional in industries. They have concentrated only on the analysis, design, and construction techniques needed to develop software (John 2005).
2.2 SOFTWARE TEAMS
Another key plan is to recruiting the team. The main purpose of framing a software team is to guide, act as a team, encourage, organize, and form ideas to give the best practice. For ex., project managers are supposed to have a sufficient amount of knowledge and experience to plan, motivate, and control the developers involved in developing the product. Team leaders are supposed to have the capability to support developers toward their best output, yet if they have to work within limitations which is recognized for an exacting application. Members in a team should trust each other in order communicate successfully, and sharing of knowledge among team members will also be important when approaching the problem. Members in a team must be in good communication to communicate with the customers to get correct constraints; transform customer’s requirements into a model; do programming; do testing; and deliver the end product successfully to the customer. Projects managers are the key persons to solve the problems like decision-making for risk analysis; cost estimation; solve problems and finding option (Pressman 2005). Each person in a team should have capabilities to perform various responsibilities. Each member in a team must have capable skills to avoid delay, cost overruns, as well as critical situations.
The problem that the project managers face these days requires multiple perspectives and varied expertise. This is a big task for the project managers as they handle different groups of people with good knowledge, skills, culture, language, and aspiration suits the results they are willing to give. Managers are the leads who assign works to team and also to avoid misunderstanding, conflict, unacceptable results (Canning 2005). Team members must have the ability to work in team together, take responsibilities as individuals, work in practical groups, and join the set of interrelated project for combine exact stages into a single structure (Galton 2003).
Parker (Parker 2000) states that “Not every group is a team, and not every team is effective.”
The best practice for the team depend on management style, there are some different level of people in team to be recruited are skills, knowledge, and experience, complexity of the problem to be solved.
2.3 SUCCESS CRITERIA FOR SOFTWARE PROJECTS
Most of the authors have suggested that schedule, budject and user specification as success criteria (Rook (1986), Weitz (1989), Selin (1989), Blaney (1989), Redmill (1990), Wallace (1990)). However, there are other definitions. A best practice project is defined by Powers and Dickson (1973), Might and Fischer (1985), Larson and Gobeli (1989) in their research of MIS projects, met time, cost, user requirement and the impact on computer operations. Some others discussed it as: meeting needed quality plane, within the range of company values and culture and meeting post-audit analysis (Cleland (1986), Stuckenbruck (1986)). However, Baker et al. (1983) point out that the perceived success is of supreme importance to the final success of software projects. The suggestion is that if any project does not meet the given time frame, budget and user requirements they will be considered as failures but projects can still be considered successful even if they are not within timescales and budget. However, projects carried out may not be seen as totally successful or complete failures and different participants may see the results of the same project in a different way (DeCotiis and Dyer (1979), Morris and Hough (1987)).
Morris and Hough (1987), in their study identified four criteria for success:
â€¢ The project delivers its functionality;
â€¢ The project falls to specified requirement like budget, on time and technical aspects.
â€¢ The suppliers would be commercially benefited by the project.
The project is to be commercially beneficial for the supplier.
â€¢ In time of cancellation, should be made reasonably and terminated efficiently
In the case of a cancelled project, the cancellation should have been made on a reasonable basis and terminated efficiently.
Overall the success criteria varies with time and the exact judgment of a successful project can only evaluated at the end of a project
2.4 QUALITY IN SOFTWARE PROJECTS
Quality is one of critical issue in project management and also one of the important key tenets for project management. Much has been written on the subject of quality which is seen as a very subjective issue (Crosby (1979), Deming (1982), Crosby (1984), Delgado (1992)). The current definition in industry for quality is ‘Fitness for purpose’. Though, to give a standard definition for quality is not possible. Different people will define quality in different ways. Block has identified two definitions for quality – maintainability and reliability.
On project manager point of view quality may be defined as ‘maintainability’, ‘capacity for expansion’ or ‘efficiency’; definition for quality varies with different users. Whatever are the definitions of quality, all the concerned parties must agree on one common factor i.e. the quality constraints, in order to give a quality end product.
Whitten (1990) States that quality of project can be defined, measured and attainable.
Duran.M.J (1951) Defines Quality as
“Conformance to requirements or fitness for use.”
Yeates (1991) supports the above statements by suggesting that quality will never be improved if some attempt is not made to quantify it. There are quantitative techniques like the number of faults per lines of executable code, etc may be used to measure quality.
2.5 THE ROLE OF A PROJECT MANAGER
If the areas that are to be addressed by a project manager in handling a project can be defined then the needed skills can be developed to satisfy that requirement but the requirement is not standardized it varies hence the project managers has to act accordingly. Robertson and Secor (1986) identified that:
‘An effective management process involves planning, organizing, monitoring and
controlling the project. It includes estimating product and project size, and – most
importantly – dealing with people’
According to Graham (1989) project management is more than planning, controlling, organizing and people management. According to (Kharbanda and Stallworthy (1990)) the project manager/leader is in effect the head of a ‘temporary company’. He/she is involved in setting up the project, supervising it through to completion and responsible for all functions outline by Fayol (1949) but more than that the project manager/leader needs to be people-orientated.
Consultation and cooperation play a major role in successful project management. The project manager/leader must be able to cultivate these areas. There are many other examples of authors identifying project management skills and giving a detailed description of these skills and attributes (Kerzner (1989), Turner et al. (1996)). It is the human factor, rather than the tools and techniques, which determine success (Kharbanda and Stallworthy (1990)). They are convinced that people are more valuable resource than materials or money. The formation of the team does not guarantee success but an effective project manager and his ability to lead the team is the main factor in the success of any project. Kerzner (1989) quotes an executive about the recruitment of project managers:
‘You give me an individual who has good communicative skills and interpersonal skills, and I’ll give him a job.’
According to Mintzberg (1973) the best part of project managers’ time is spent in communicating with the different interested parties. The characteristics and qualities mentioned by Taylor (1989) are paramount to today’s project manager/leader. According to him project management is people management. He believes certain characteristics in the makeup of a project manager: appreciation; empathy; patience; understanding; and persistence. Project Managers needs people to work for the team and project success and also he must ensure that they are around for future projects.
(Briner et al. (1990)) says that direction finder is the roles and responsible for detailing project manager’s
â€¢ manage the stakeholders
â€¢ manage the life cycle
â€¢ manage performance.
Many researchers have identified that project managers need leadership skills. Roman (1986) suggests that:
‘Leadership is an essential ingredient of good project management’.
According to Kerzner (1989) the planning is the major and important responsibility of the project manager. However, from the analysis planning alone is not considered as a main responsibility. Technical skills are particularly considered important for project managers to possess (Baker et al. (1983)) but from the evidence it is known that the technical skills, although considered as important, they are considered less important skills for the modern project manager. For a project Manager in 1970’s technical skills may have been important but now the focus is towards the communication and leadership aspects. Some other authors have also mentioned the leadership as the major skill for today’s project manager (Annett and Wetherbe (1986), Wright and Taylor (1984), Kothari (1986)). For the manager in the organization leadership is more important (Kanter (1989)), motivating the team to project success is also the role of project managers. There was the belief that planning and scheduling are the most important factors in project success. However, more important is the right amount of planning and scheduling at the right time. This is where project managers generally start on the path to failure by frequently construct complete plans at the very beginning of the project. It will be confusing for a project manager to know when to employ the appropriate skills. This is the very important issue and project managers must need training and experience to identify where the right skills can be applied for the project in order to deliver successful projects. The project manager will have to adapt his/her skills to the needs of the project, team and users. People (users, Developers and sponsorers) are seen as the major provider to the success of projects (Tampoe (1989)). The need to manage these people and to communicate with them is most important. However, each project the project manager handles may be different, people may be different, hence skills and qualities necessary to be recruit by project managers has to be different on each project. Motivation skills will be of important especially when the project is very extensive and possibly the momentum are lost. Technical skills will be of greater importance when planning and scheduling. While staffing a project team building skills are important. The project manager/leader has to ensure that there is successful project completion against the success criteria laid down.
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