Project Management guide

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What Is Software Project Management?

Software project management refers to the branch of project management dedicated to the planning, scheduling, resource allocation, execution, tracking and delivery of software and web projects.

Project management in software engineering is distinct from traditional project management in that software projects have a unique lifecycle process that requires multiple rounds of testing, updating, and customer feedback. Most IT-related projects are managed in the agile style, in order to keep up with the increasing pace of business, and iterate based on customer and stakeholder feedback.

The role and responsibility of a software project manager

Software project managers may have to do any of the following tasks:

  1. Planning: This means putting together the blueprint for the entire project from ideation to fruition. It will define the scope, allocate necessary resources, propose the timeline, delineate the plan for execution, lay out a communication strategy, and indicate the steps necessary for testing and maintenance.
  2. Leading: A software project manager will need to assemble and lead the project team, which likely will consist of developers, analysts, testers, graphic designers, and technical writers. This requires excellent communication, people and leadership skills.
  3. Execution: The project manager will participate in and supervise the successful execution of each stage of the project. This includes monitoring progress, frequent team check-ins and creating status reports.
  4. Time management: Staying on schedule is crucial to the successful completion of any project, but it’s particularly challenging when it comes to managing software projects because changes to the original plan are almost certain to occur as the project evolves. Software project managers must be experts in risk management and contingency planning to ensure forward progress when roadblocks or changes occur.
  5. Budget: Like traditional project managers, software project managers are tasked with creating a budget for a project, and then sticking to it as closely as possible, moderating spend and re-allocating funds when necessary.
  6. Maintenance: Software project management typically encourages constant product testing in order to discover and fix bugs early, adjust the end product to the customer’s needs, and keep the project on target. The software project manager is responsible for ensuring proper and consistent testing, evaluation and fixes are being made.

How to manage a software project successfully?

A recent article in Forbes suggests that there are eight ways to improve and streamline the software project management process; these eight suggestions include:

  • Take non-development work off your team’s plate to let them focus on developing
  • Motivating your team by sharing others’ success stories—like those of tech giants, which will inspire and excite your team
  • Avoid altering the task once its assigned
  • Try to stick to the plan (until it needs to be changed)
  • Encouraging organization by being organized
  • Streamline productivity through effective delegation
  • Get to know your team and build a rapport
  • Break down the plan and give them specific daily tasks

Further reading: