Software Nuggets

“If software programme content is allowed to change freely, the rate of change will exceed the rate of progress”

Software Project Methods

A project management methodology covers all activity areas a project manager needs to consider regardless of whether the project is wholly or partly for software development.

Every concept covered in a methodology may not necessarily be applicable to every project (though there are core common processes). There are likely to be variations for valid reasons.  However, that does not mean the process should be left to the whim of each project team. There MUST be some guiding governance provided as to what is the sensible pragmatic approach for each project.

Gartner research found that an overarching methodology tailored precisely for each project could improve performance of the team by 30%. The same methodology applied rigidly without thought may give performance improvements of 10% at best.

A methodology should be a help to a project. Many people in companies (often quite senior executives) equate methods and process with bureaucracy and believe it slows down rapid progress. This can be the case if the method is poorly understood and/or not governed appropriately. But having no process or method will result in chaos (the same effect can be seen within companies that appear to have a method process, but that process is not controlled or governed).

All organisations should have a consistent project management methodology in place that is common to all types of project. In this way, people can move comfortably from and to any type of project and will be comfortable using the same approach.

Training people in project management can be independent of any type of underlying technology or software development processes (e.g. why, how and when to manage scope, why, how and when to manage risks).

Popular commercially available methodologies include the Project Management Institute (PMI)’s Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBoK) approach. Training and examinations in which can lead to professional certification; Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification.

Another, popular in the UK, is the Office of Government Commerce (OGC)’s - Prince 2 methodology. Again training and examination can lead to Prince 2 professional project management certification.

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