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Sunday, September 21, 2014

How To Lead a Software Project?

How To Lead a Software Project?

Where do I start if I need to lead a Software Project?What are best practices of Software Project Management?What are the do's and dont's of leading a Software Project?

If you have you come across any of these questions in your real life then read on...

1. How and Where to Start?

Identify the key elements of your project(formal approval)
  • Make sure your project is formally approved, that is, formal contract/ statement of work(SOW) is in place
  • Identify High level Requirements and Scope
  • Identify success criteria, key deliverable and high level risks
  • Identify Stakeholders

2. What are the key steps in Planning

Create planning documentation for the following:
  1. Scope management plan - How will you manage the scope and change requests?
  2. Schedule management plan - How will you manage the time lines? What are the key milestones? This is where you create the work breakdown structure
  3. Cost management plan - How will you manage the various aspects of project cost and how will you ensure that the project will be successfully completed with the approved cost.
  4. Quality assurance plan - How will you ensure quality of the project? Testing strategy.
  5. Communication management plan - Who will communicate with whom, how and with what frequency? Status reporting frequency, senior management review etc
  6. Stakeholder management plan - How will the stakeholders be managed? Refer following article for stakeholder management :
  7. Resource management plan - How and when you will load/ on board resources? How and when will you release resources from the project. What is the skill set and experience level required? Also, identify the roles and responsibilities.
  8. Risk and Issue Management Plan - How will the risks be identified, mitigated and resolved?
  9. Procurement Management Plan - How will you manage the procurement?
  10. Training Management Plan - Identify training need. Conduct training and perform assessment to measure effectiveness of training.
  11. Documentation management Plan - How will create the project documentation? Where will it be stored? Who will update and manage it on an ongoing basis?

3. Key steps of Project Execution

  1. Execute the project as per the project planning steps mentioned above. Make sure project is on track as per approved milestones.
  2. Communicate the project status on an going basis to key stakeholders. 
  3. Measure cost and schedule variance.
  4. Manage associated risks and issues.
  5. Track and manage the change requests.

4. Monitoring and Control

As a project lead you need to make sure that you are on top of daily, weekly and monthly activities at a low level. You should also manage the ground level details like leave plan, holiday plan. Impact of other projects on your project. Impact of organizational changes, resource attrition etc. Any change to the project scope or impact to project schedule or cost should be tracked and mitigated immediately.

5. Project Closure

Once the project has met the success criteria and you have received sign off to close the project then make sure you close the project formally in the system(organization specific project management tool). All the resources should be released and project documentation should be submitted to the project control office. Also before you close the project make sure that lessons learned and case studies are created for future reference.