Software Project Management: What & How To Do It Effectively?
The business landscape evolves and changes alongside technology and software. As business organizations continue to rely on software for their operations, it’s important for organizations to be aware of the software development process, including the practice of software management.
In this blog article, let’s take an in-depth look at the software project management practice which is essential to allow organizations to build quality software products at scale and within budget, fulfilling their specific business requirements.
What is software project management?
As a branch of project management, Software Development Project Management refers to the discipline of planning and delivering software that functions as intended while optimizing for the resource constraints during the project lifecycle, including Time, Budget, and Quality.
Many software development projects take place according to the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC). The SDLC consists of various activities from Requirement Analysis, Design, to Development, Testing, etc.
Project scope & requirements
The very first thing that the software project team does is not to write code but actually determine the project scope and requirements, involving factors such as product functionalities and features and risks and constraints.
Like managing any other project, it’s important that the project team can carry out the tasks needed to create high-quality software meeting technical specifications while staying within budget. The steps are as follows:
- Establish the development process. Select the SDLC models, and methodologies, and assign the roles of the software developers, engineers, and other IT professionals that support the delivery of the software product.
- Architecture Design. Once project requirements and technical specifications are defined, they will be documented for operational processes. Specifically, at this step, the Technical Architect will design a system architecture to meet the functional and non-functional requirements.
- Planning & budgeting. Based on the project scope establish before, project managers will work with the team and stakeholders to estimate or identify the project budget, timeline, and resources needed, with specific milestones to achieve the software project goals. However, the actual figures may actually vary from the original plan.
Defining the needs
In this next stage, the project team will verify and finalize the project plan as well as the architectural design. Potential issues and risks will be identified for mitigation.
As project requirements and roadmaps are already confirmed, the project manager and the team will carry out the following to accomplish the project goals:
- Risks managements. Risks may arise at any stage over the software development life-cycle, hence, it’s essential to have a proper plan to identify, analyze and respond to any risks which may negatively impact the project goals.
- Modeling & Design. The Scrum Agile methodology and DevOps are among the most popular choices when it comes to software development. And before kick-starting, the development stage, the software development company and its team will have to choose the technology stack, product architecture, and the SDLC framework.
- Executing the project plan. Next, the roles and responsibilities of the dev team, project managers, and other IT professionals will be defined. Other needs like development tools and services are also selected at this stage.
This is the stage that actual software development takes place where the development progress(es) are tracked and measured according to the pre-defined requirements, requiring the project team to stay on track with the established timelines and milestones. The software development company will also equip the team members with all the essential tools, technical training, and support needed.
Testing and software QA activities are also happening here.
At this last stage of the software project management, the project team will verify the software build against all the technical specifications and business requirements.
The concept of continuous improvement in software development is applied here where the project team prepares for the subsequent release and iteration taking into account all the rights and wrongs happening in the previous release.
The software development team may release the finished product to end-users or other features updates, etc. depending on the product life-cycle as well as the SDLC methodology chosen.
Software project management to achieve project goals
The discipline of software project management seeks to not pile up more tasks on the development team but to direct the development work through a series of pre-defined stages and tasks which enable to delivery of the software products, within the constraints agreed upon beforehand.
Software management practice should aid the development team to deliver a quality product within budget. On the contrary, if the project goals are not met, then software project managers need to start over from the beginning and find out where the team is falling short, and rectify any issues there.