Software Project Management: Going From Good to Great

Software project management refers to the active process of planning, organizing, and managing resources to successfully complete new product development. Skilled software project managers use all of the available resources to deliver the best end-product possible.

When it comes to software project management, there is a considerable amount of variation. Great project managers strategically apply their knowledge, skills, and experience to effectively plan, manage and complete a project. If you are interested in learning more about how to improve your project management process, here are some suggestions.

Managing a Project? 7 Ways to Go from Good to Great

Although there is no set standard operating procedure for successful software project management, there are ways to improve overall effectiveness. Follow along to learn seven ways how to take a project from good to great:

1. Planning – Most deficiencies in a project are the result of poor or improper planning process at the beginning. During the planning phase, it’s vital to determine the project definition, the work plan, and basic management procedures. Having a clear understanding of the project helps facilitate a more fluid project management experience from start to finish.

2. Identify risks in advance – During the planning process, it’s important to identify possible risks that could occur at some point in the project. Once the risks are identified, it helps to assess the level of immediacy. Risk may be defined as high, medium, or low. Being aware of potential problems that may arise throughout the project can ultimately save valuable time and money, especially when these are evaluated early in the planning process.

3. Scheduling – Throughout the project, monitoring the work plan to identify what tasks have been completed and what tasks need to be done will help keep team members up-to-date on the process. Monitoring the work plan schedule helps determine whether tasks are completed on time, allowing any changes to be made quickly if necessary.

4. Budget – Similar to the work plan schedule, it’s important to keep track of the project budget on an ongoing basis. Keeping a project operating within budget is an important skill for any project manager. Careful and frequent monitoring is a key part of maintaining the established budget for a project.

5. Scope Management – During a project, stakeholders may request minor or major changes that were not part of the original project definition. Knowing how to effectively navigate change requests is imperative to the overall success of any project. Even the smallest scope changes in a project can accumulate over time, leading to so-called “scope creep.” This may negatively impact the resources, budget and deadlines.

6. Urgent Resolutions – Even when risks and issues are identified early in the planning stages of the project, a team may face unforeseen problems. Issues may become a big problem to the project if they are not resolved in a timely manner. It will do the team and the overall project a great service if everyone is focused on fixing issues with a sense of urgency. This keeps the flow of the project moving forward as smoothly as possible.

7. Communication – Communication breakdowns can lead to a number of problems throughout a project. Sometimes team members may have different expectations, or they may not fully know the status of a project. Open and honest communication between managers, team members, and stakeholders needs to be encouraged on a frequent basis. The most successful project managers ensure that everyone on the project is on the same page in all steps along the way.

Producing a great end product for a software development project should be the main objective of any software firm. Implementing effective project management may be the difference between delivering a good or great final product. For a company to remain competitive in the market, hiring a software outsourcing firm that uses best practices in project management will ultimately yield the best results.

Service Software Dreaming

We are all amassed and amazed in/by technology, as we know it…virtual wired, virtual here or there, virtual wireless, virtual…mobile! When was the last time that you visited/took advantage of the convenience of Pay-Pal, the ATM, the Kiosk, online financials, for example., banking, or HR services – The Submittal of Cvl/Resume(s)?

What about the “Digital Divide”, “Digital Age Dilemma” – where too many citizens are at a loss of access to the world of digitization? Did a robot take your job? Did a computer application make you obsolete? Data Mining, is it alive and well? Is it/was it a dream to wake up and go to work and receive a pink, blue, brown, or/and purple colored separation notice that was dated yesterday and effective now?

It has to be a damned dream! Yeah, I’m dreaming! I wonder…do robots dream?

It all started with the Ethernet, WAN, LAN, and Virtuality – Private Networks…Bell Telephone thrived in the planting of poles and telephone lines, as did the cable companies. What about their underground cables and telephone networked lines of communication? Could we survive without it?

Software As A Service – The Digital Age…the workforce, will it become Saas?

The 411, did you know that SaaS, a software delivering method that provides access to software and its functions remotely as a web-based/cloud service does a multitude of things? Saas allows organization(s) to access business functionality at a cost typically less than paying for licensed applications since SaaS pricing is based on a monthly fee. Because the software is located remotely, users don’t need to invest in additional hardware. SaaS removes the need for organizations to handle the installation, set-up, and daily upkeep and maintenance…defined as hosted applications.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a business management system that integrates all facets of the business environment, including planning, manufacturing, sales, and marketing. As the ERP methodology has become more popular, software applications have emerged to help business managers implement ERP in business activities such as inventory control, order tracking, customer service, finance and, human resources.

SaaS Strategy:

“Of all the Cloud Computing ideas out there, SaaS is the one that needs attention now!” “Many companies treat it Ad Hock!” As evaluated and concurred, a statement by Michael Bidding, CTO of Fusion PPT, Consulting and IT Services.

Vendor marketing, new services, and cloud strategy have caught business technology leaders in a cloud-computing deluge. Business technologists who now use SaaS described their apps as critical to the missions. Ad Hoc is not Saas. Ad Hoc is an autonomous system of routes (and associated hosts) connected by wireless links. Ad Hoc Network Systems (ANS) are complex systems with cross layer protocol dynamics and interactions that are not present in wired systems. Such a network may operate in a stand-alone fashion, or connected to the larger (system) Internet, operating as a hybrid fixed/Ad Hoc network. A polling of several companies and their CIO’s could gain the most from SaaS by incorporating it into or by making SaaS a part of the overall enterprise architecture.

Cloud Computing – the sharing of computing resources rather than having local services or personal devices to handle application(s). Its goal is to apply traditional supercomputing, or high-performance computing power, normally used by the military and research facilities. Cloud Computing Networks are also larger groups of servers, with specialized connection speed.

Data processing chores:

The shared IT infrastructure(s) contain(s) large pools of systems that are linked together allowing data centers to operate like the Internet while computing resources are utilized, accessed, and shared as virtual resources in a secured and scalable methodology.

Although SaaS is not described as being universal, users who were polled, agreed that it has moved beyond customer resource(s), Human Resource(s), Email, Sales Force Automation, Service/Help Desk, Financial (On-Line Banking), and Backup Applications. All of theses apps are used and more… Business Server Apps have used SaaS for nearly 100 % of its services. Billing, inventories, time sheets, sales, email, and pipeline management share in this Software As A Service Application(s). Businesses enjoy the quick setup and reduced capital expenditures. Another benefit is increased power and employee mobility by way of remote offices via a smart-phone or a home computer (PC). “Mobile Access is the name of the game”, says Michael Bidding. Cloud computing is overshadowing the education about Simple Software As A Service (SSAS). SaaS vendors say portability, privacy, and security is the main points of interest for businesses.

SaaS users say IT organization is the primary driver and C Level Managers or the Line of Business is behind the use of SaaS. Developing SaaS Strategy Teams are encouraged to address the selection of the Right Provider, Signing The Right Contract, having a Detailed Exit Strategy, Management of A Good Working Relationship, the Creation of A Contingency Plan, Digging Deeply Into Interoperability and System Integration In/On IT’s role in Supporting and Involvement, and Alignment to the company’s goals and objectives.

SaaS customers agree and are generally pleased with the apps. They say they are performing better with SaaS than conventional applications and will continue to invest in SaaS. When companies integrate, (and/or plan to), SaaS applications into other business applications, it shows a commitment to the product as part of an overall business architecture. The mixing of internally built custom apps, packaged, on-premises combined with customer configurations, SaaS Apps, and other tools, it becomes more difficult for company’s to understand the risks associated with app changes. The IT organization is ultimately responsible for the smooth operation and running of Federated Architecture.

The future promises to do more by way of companies monitoring their own SaaS performance(s). IT Staffing will not, and in most circumstances, do not have the local ability to determine whether the service is up and running, or if a user is experiencing a problem caused by a LAN on Internet failure. Performance problems are called into the IT Help/Service Desk.

SaaS prices are less transparent and the vendor controls reliance on performance data. IT Teams have to closely maintain bandwidth between the user and the server. Bandwidth is a range within a band of frequencies or wavelengths. The amount of data that can be transmitted in a fixed amount of time;

Digital bandwidth is expressed in bits per second (bps) of bytes per second. Another expression as described in analog, is cycles per second, or hertz (Hz). Bandwidth is the measurement of space and speed, i.e., a fast disk drive can be hampered or slowed by a bus with low bandwidth or space (room). I/O devices are particularly affected by low bandwidth, i.e., an Accelerated Graphics Port (AGP) – throughput demands of 3-D Graphics.

An application is a program of a group of programs designed for end-users. Two general classifications of software are systems software and application software. Systems software consists of low-level programming that interacts at a basic level, which includes the operating system(s) compilers, and utilities for managing computer resources. Application(s) software sits on top of systems software because it is unable to run without the operating system and system utilities – (Interface is the interaction between computer and user).

Customer Resource Management (CRM) tops the list(s) of SaaS utilization. Human Resource (HR) applicant tracking, for more than a decade, has grown from the tedious task of hand-to-eye sorting and is poised for more growth as SaaS has proven an invaluable tool in its People Resource endeavor(s), i.e., application(s), testing, benefits, and other personnel record tasks and core functions.

Business Intelligence (BI), Application Program Interface(s) (API) – Windows, Excel, Access, SQL, etc – routine sets, protocols, and relevant tools for building software applications – by providing all of the building blocks, API makes it all easier to develop a computer program. Programmers put all the building blocks together, ergo, a program interface designed for end-user(s).

SaaS offerings are limited compared to most conventional offered in a variety of platforms on premises, or in the cloud. “Microsoft is winning customers to its SaaS-Based Exchange”, says Mr. Bidding. “SaaS is growing.”

IT Organization members will have to learn new skills an craft new strategies that allow them integration legacy infrastructure with fast growing SaaS portfolios.

So the next time you’re taking advantage of the convenient Kiosk(s), ATM’s, Pay-Pal(s), Internet, or Smart-Phone Web Navigation, remember the software dream and its relationship(s) to your life style and/or livelihood.

Have you ever wondered if robots have dreams?

Til next time…

End.

Basic FAQs in Software Testing

1. What is the purpose of the testing?

Software testing is the process used to help identify the Correctness, Completeness, Security and Quality of the developed Computer Software.

Software Testing is the process of executing a program or system with the intent of finding errors.

2. What is quality assurance?

Software QA involves the entire software development PROCESS – monitoring and improving the process, making sure that any agreed-upon standards and procedures are followed, and ensuring that problems are found and dealt with. It is oriented to ‘prevention’.

3. What is the difference between QA and testing?

Testing involves operation of a system or application under controlled conditions and evaluating the results. It is oriented to ‘detection’.

Software QA involves the entire software development PROCESS – monitoring and improving the process, making sure that any agreed-upon standards and procedures are followed, and ensuring that problems are found and dealt with. It is oriented to ‘prevention’.

4. Describe the Software Development Life Cycle

It includes aspects such as initial concept, requirements analysis, functional design, internal design, documentation planning, test planning, coding, document preparation, integration, testing, maintenance, updates, retesting, phase-out, and other aspects.

5. What are SDLC and STLC and the different phases of both?

SDLC

> Requirement phase

> Desing phase (HLD, DLD (Program spec))

> Coding

> Testing

> Release

> Maintenance

STLC

> System Study

> Test planning

> Writing Test case or scripts

> Review the test case

> Executing test case

> Bug tracking

> Report the defect

6. What is a Test bed?

Test Bed is an execution environment configured for software testing. It consists of specific hardware, network topology, Operating System, configuration of the product to be under test, system software and other applications. The Test Plan for a project should be developed from the test beds to be used.

7. What is a Test data?

Test Data is that run through a computer program to test the software. Test data can be used to test the compliance with effective controls in the software.

8. Why does software have bugs?

Miscommunication or no communication – about the details of what an application should or shouldn’t do

Programming errors – in some cases the programmers can make mistakes.

Changing requirements – there are chances of the end-user not understanding the effects of changes, or may understand and request them anyway to redesign, rescheduling of engineers, effects of other projects, work already completed may have to be redone or thrown out.

Time force – preparation of software projects is difficult at best, often requiring a lot of guesswork. When deadlines are given and the crisis comes, mistakes will be made.

9. What is the Difference between Bug, Error and Defect?

Error: It is the Deviation from actual and the expected value.

Bug: It is found in the development environment before the product is shipped to the respective customer.

Defect: It is found in the product itself after it is shipped to the respective customer.

10. Describe the difference between validation and verification

Verification is done by frequent evaluation and meetings to appraise the documents, policy, code, requirements, and specifications. This is done with the checklists, walkthroughs, and inspection meetings.

Validation is done during actual testing and it takes place after all the verifications are being done.

11. What is the difference between structural and functional testing?

Structural testing is a “white box” testing and it is based on the algorithm or code.

Functional testing is a “black box” (behavioral) testing where the tester verifies the functional specification.

12. Describe bottom-up and top-down approaches

Bottom-up approach: In this approach testing is conducted from sub module to main module, if the main module is not developed a temporary program called DRIVERS is used to simulate the main module.

Top-down approach: In this approach testing is conducted from main module to sub module. if the sub module is not developed a temporary program called STUB is used for simulate the submodule.

13. What is Re- test? What is Regression Testing?

Re- test – Retesting means we testing only the certain part of an application again and not considering how it will effect in the other part or in the whole application.

Regression Testing – Testing the application after a change in a module or part of the application for testing that is the code change will affect rest of the application.

14. Explain Load, Performance and Stress Testing with an Example.

Load Testing and Performance Testing are commonly said as positive testing where as Stress Testing is said to be as negative testing.

Say for example there is a application which can handle 25 simultaneous user logins at a time. In load testing we will test the application for 25 users and check how application is working in this stage, in performance testing we will concentrate on the time taken to perform the operation. Where as in stress testing we will test with more users than 25 and the test will continue to any number and we will check where the application is cracking.

15. What is UAT testing? When it is to be done?

UAT testing – UAT stands for ‘User acceptance Testing. This testing is carried out with the user perspective and it is usually done before the release.

For more FAQs in Software Testing visit =>http://softwaretestingguide.blogspot.com