Software project management takes knowledge, patience, skill and a lot of courage. The articles, tips, definitions and expert advice in this learning guide have been carefully selected to meet the unique needs of software project managers. They won't make you more courageous
If you know of an article, tip, book or blog that should be included, send me an e-mail with the information and I'll add it. – Jennette Mullaney, assistant editor.
TABLE OF CONTENTS|
Software project management basics
Agile project management
Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)
CMMI and Six Sigma
Team building and leadership
Other Useful Resources
|Software project management basics|
- Successful project management: It's the person, not the process: David Christiansen explains the Flying by the Seat of Your Pants Cycle and how this and similar "processes" work.
- 9 keys to effectively managing software projects (PDF) is definitely a basic guide (Key #1: Software development is not manufacturing) but as such it's a great introduction for the novice.
- Project management training, certification: In this Expert Response Bas de Baar discusses various certifications and the benefits -- and limitations -- of being certified.
- Tips for creating software project plans: David Christiansen details a simple way to approach planning in this Expert Response.
- Secrets of successful project management, compiled by our very own requirements expert Karl E. Wiegers.
- Giving managers time to manage: This is an article on Task-Oriented Applications (TOAs) and how these tools might ease the burden on project managers.
- Managing software engineers offers a series of tips on how to deal with the unique set of people who comprise a software project team. Some of the advice may seem silly (install a koi pond in the office?) and many of the links are out of date but there are many good ideas to be found.
- Software project management (PDF): This paper is from 1989, but it contains a lot of valuable information that's still relevant today.
- Seven characteristics of dysfunctional software projects: For when things just go wrong.
- Problematic system drags down software project: David Christiansen explains how to deal with a broken software project.
- Software project management expert David Christiansen discusses introducing project management methodologies and ideas in this Expert Response. You will find more advice on software project management methodologies in the next three sections of the Learning Guide.
|Agile project management|
Agile software development is so hot right now, it only makes sense that project managers would start applying agile ideas to their management style.
Many of the articles in this section describe agile software project management as a panacea to the current creativity-stifling, boring style of management. Read on and see if you start to feel the same way.
- Agile project management methods for IT projects (PDF) explains how the "light" aspects of agile can work with the "heavy" aspects of software project management. This easy to absorb article outlines approaches agile project managers can take.
- Agile project management (PDF) proposes that the problem with today's project manager is that he or she is an "uninspired taskmaster." In order to become a visionary leader, project managers can follow the agile philosophy and this article explains how.
- The Agile Revolution -- Agile Project Management is a sample chapter that promises to revolutionize project management using the agile philosophy. Agility is compatible with structure, and both can be found within the author's APM framework.
- Methodology guru applies agile principles to project management is a news story on the author of The Agile Revolution (see above) and provides more insight into agile project management.
- This "Herding Cats" blog entry on agile project management mentions the important difference between managing an agile project and managing a project in an agile manner and examines some criticisms of agile project management.
- The blending of traditional and agile project management (PDF) details the benefits and disadvantages of traditional and agile pm and examines the environment that gave right to agile project management.
- Agile project management tool from ThoughtWorks expected in June: This news article details how the tool, called Mingle, would work and looks ahead to the creation of similar tools.
- Agile project management and "normative" paradigms is an editorial highlighting the failings of a PMBOK approach and offering alternatives.
The elegantly named Six Sigma® methodology has its roots in manufacturing, not software development. Though it has been adapted for use in software engineering, its appropriateness to this industry and its effectiveness have many times been called into question. (Six Sigma has even been the inspiration for a Dilbert cartoon.) However, this methodology has its proponents as well -- and not just Jack Welch. The links below provide pro, con and neutral perspectives.
- This is a comprehensive definition of Six Sigma
- In the opinion piece Six Sigma not necessarily beneficial to software development, V. Viswanathan contends that the project management method works may work in manufacturing but is unsuited to software development.
- Software project management meets Six Sigma: Bottom-up project duration and variation prediction is an introductory article from the iSixSigma Software/IT site. Readers should also check out the second article in this 2 part series, Top down project effort, duration and defect prediction.
- Six Sigma meets software development is a short but link-rich article on how Six Sigma dovetails with software development.
- Six Sigma -- it's not just for manufacturers anymore offers an overview of Six Sigma from a CIO's perspective.
- Six Sigma and agile software development is a thorough, skeptical examination of Six Sigma as it relates to agile (and other forms of) software development. It should be noted, though, that the main source for information on Six Sigma is Wikipedia. However, the author is diligent and fair, questioning both the scientific validity of Six Sigma and the relevance of that validity to agile software development.
- Essentials of Lean Six Sigma -- Chapters 1 and 4, Introduction and Improvement , available free to SearchSoftwareQuality.com members, provide information about combining lean production with the Six Sigma methodology.
- Using Six Sigma methodology for software development project management. Hardly scientific, but this short article does objectively present one person's specific experience.
- The relationship between project management and Six Sigma (PDF) is clearly presented in this short, spare series of slides. Bare bones, but suitable for a concise introduction.
- For those interested in taking a course on Six Sigma Software Project Management, this one is Software Engineering Institute (SEI) authorized.
|Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI)|
CMMI was developed by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) as a process improvement methodology. It evolved from SEI's CMM.
- Here is a definition of Capability Maturity Model (CMM) that includes descriptions of the five maturity levels.
- CMMI definition and summary provides a concise history on the transition from CMM to CMMI.
- CMM vs. CMMI: From conventional to modern software management offers a more expansive view of the transition from CMM to CMMI.
- Jumpstart CMM/CMMI Software Process Improvements: Using IEEE Software Engineering Standards -- Chapter 1: This free book excerpt is a perfect for software project managers who are new to CMM, CMMI and IEEE software standards.
- CMMI: Guidelines for Process Integration and Product Improvement, Second Edition -- Chapter 1, About CMMI for Development is free to SearchSoftwareQuality.com members. The chapter introduces the concept of CMMI and its two representations, staged and continuous.
- A CMMI case study: Process engineering vs. culture and leadership is an interesting look at what challenges emerge when a medium-sized (400 employees) business takes on the CMMI methodology. This article advises readers on what steps they should take when implementing such a process.
- CMMI myths and realities seeks to debunk ideas about the methodology, that it's too big and only suited to large corporations. In this effort, the article does a good job. However, readers should keep in mind that articles from SEI are going to be supportive of the methodology.
- CMMI models, modules and reports is a resource for documents, release notes and more about various CMMI incarnations.
- CMMI-5 case study about quality and project management this example includes a few more details about moving through the five maturity levels of CMMI.
- CMMI level 2 within six months? No way! (PDF) Yes way, according to this article.
|CMMI and Six Sigma|
Even those who don't embrace either methodology might be interested in the integration off CMMI and Six Sigma. This integration, some believe, is more powerful than either methodology alone.
- Balancing Six Sigma and the Capability Maturity Model compares the methodologies and goes through each step of the CMMI to determine whether integration is useful at a particular level.
- Connecting Six Sigma to CMMI measurement and analysis is an excellent article describing the interrelationships between these two methodologies and the ways they can complement each other.
- Integrating CMMI and Six Sigma in software and systems engineering (PDF) Disclaimer: This is in a tiresome PowerPoint format and there are company plugs scattered throughout. Other than that, this is a comprehensive (there are 155 slides) guide to combining the methodologies, and the charts and illustrations provide useful clarification.
- After lengthy overviews of CMMI and Six Sigma, this article -- Relationship between CMMI and Six Sigma -- provides a number of great tactics for integration.
- CMMI and Six Sigma synergy (PDF) is, unfortunately, in annoying PowerPoint format. However, the information is solid and those interested will profit from it.
- Comparing lean Six Sigma to the Capability Maturity Model: Note that this article is concerned with lean Six Sigma, itself a combination of methods. Also, the comparison is with CMM, not CMMI. Nevertheless, the information is sound and readers may extrapolate what they wish.
- Connecting software industry standards and best practices: Lean Six Sigma and CMMI: Again, it's lean Six Sigma but this informative, chart-filled article is an handy resource for those wishing to connect these two methodologies.
|Team building and leadership|
Project managers can look forward to all sorts of adventures in team interaction. Prepare yourself with these links.
- Drawing introverted team members out of their shells: How to make team members more comfortable with one another.
- Rewarding team members for outstanding work: Praising improvements without being awkward and unintentionally condescending.
- Facilitate software development team decision making while avoiding infighting among enthusiastic team members.
- Project management problems: Team leader not sharing information: Expert Bas de Baar explores the reasons for this all-too-common stumbling block and offers advice for handling the situation.
- How to regain a team's trust following a massive screw-up on your part.
- Successful project team management: Tips for overseeing technical teams.
- Agile development across continents: Project management expert Bas de Baar knows how difficult it is to oversee distributed teams. Here are some of his tips.
- How to manage multiple test teams without losing your mind.
- How to control software quality in offshore development projects: Effective communication and quality control around the world.
- How to collaborate, conduct meetings virtually: David Christiansen on how to hold productive virtual meetings.
- Project management: Working an offshore development team: This blog chronicles the ups and downs of software project management from afar.
- Dual-Shore Project Management: Seven Techniques for Coordinating Onshore-Offshore Projects: This book excerpt contains a wealth of information on tools, meetings, quality reports and more.
Offshore project management
Managing software projects is difficult when team members share an office. Here are some tips on managing teams scattered around the globe.
|Other useful resources|
|Expert advice on software project management|
Do you have questions about project management? Let our project management experts, David Christiansen, Bas de Baar and Karen N. Johnson guide you. Read advice they have given or submit your own questions.
- Free software project management tutorial and course and guide from our very own Bas de Baar. Includes a link to receive 20% off his book, Surprise! Now You're a Software Project Manager.
- The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering, 20th Anniversary Edition: The classic book, with four new chapters.
- Blog: Project management advice, tips and feedback.
- Sotware project management resources: a Web site from Columbia University full of useful PM links.
Send in your suggestions
Are there other topics you'd like to see learning guides on? Send assistant editor Jennette Mullaney an e-mail at email@example.com and let her know what they are.
This was first published in June 2007