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The Complete Software Project Manager

Book Description

Your answer to the software project management gap

The Complete Software Project Manager: From Planning to Launch and Beyond addresses an interesting problem experienced by today's project managers: they are often leading software projects, but have no background in technology. To close this gap in experience and help you improve your software project management skills, this essential text covers key topics, including: how to understand software development and why it is so difficult, how to plan a project, choose technology platforms, and develop project specifications, how to staff a project, how to develop a budget, test software development progress, and troubleshoot problems, and what to do when it all goes wrong. Real-life examples, hints, and management tools help you apply these new ideas, and lists of red flags, danger signals, and things to avoid at all costs assist in keeping your project on track.

Companies have, due to the nature of the competitive environment, been somewhat forced to adopt new technologies. Oftentimes, the professionals leading the development of these technologies do not have any experience in the tech field—and this can cause problems. To improve efficiency and effectiveness, this groundbreaking book offers guidance to professionals who need a crash course in software project management.

  • Review the basics of software project management, and dig into the more complicated topics that guide you in developing an effective management approach
  • Avoid common pitfalls by perusing red flags, danger signals, and things to avoid at all costs
  • Leverage practical roadmaps, charts, and step-by-step processes
  • Explore real-world examples to see effective software project management in action

The Complete Software Project Manager: From Planning to Launch and Beyond is a fundamental resource for professionals who are leading software projects but do not have a background in technology.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Foreword
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. About the Author
  8. Introduction
    1. Software Project Management
    2. A Holistic Approach
    3. For Medium-to-Large Projects
    4. Agile vs. Waterfall
    5. Why Listen to Me?
    6. Who Is This Book For?
  9. Chapter 1: Software Development Explained: Creativity Meets Complexity
    1. A Definition of Software Development
    2. Why Is Software Development So Difficult? Hint: It's <i xmlns="" xmlns:epub="" xmlns:m="" xmlns:svg="" xmlns:ibooks="">Not</i> Like Building a House Like Building a House
    3. The Simple, the Complicated, and the Complex
    4. Metaphor #1: Piles of Snow
    5. Metaphor #2: The Ikea Desk
    6. Metaphor #3: Heart Surgery
    7. Using the Three Metaphors in Project Management
  10. Chapter 2: Agile, Waterfall, and the Key to Modern Project Management
    1. Agile and Waterfall
    2. Waterfall
    3. Waterfall's Problems
    4. The Requirements Requirement
    5. Inflexibility
    6. Loss of Opportunity and Time to Market
    7. Customer Dissatisfaction
    8. Agile
    9. Lack of Up-Front Planning
    10. Lack of Up-Front Costs
    11. Stakeholder Involvement
    12. Extensive Training
    13. Where Agile Works Best
    14. The Need for Up-Front Requirements in Many Projects
    15. The Real World
    16. Agile Enough
    17. The Software Development Life Cycle
  11. Chapter 3: Project Approaches; Off-the-Shelf and Custom Development; One Comprehensive Tool and Specialized Tools; Phased Launches and Pilots
    1. The Custom vs. Off-the-Shelf Approach
    2. History
    3. The Benefit of Off-the-Shelf
    4. Off-the-Shelf Examples
    5. Thinking You're Editing When You're Actually Creating
    6. Common Challenges with Off-the-Shelf Software
    7. Business Compromise
    8. Discovering You Made the Wrong Choice with Packaged Software
    9. Breaking the Upgrade Path
    10. Locked into a Partnership and the Product Roadmap
    11. Expense of Off-the-Shelf
    12. Where Packaged Software Works Well
    13. Frameworks and the Blurring Worlds of Custom and Packaged Software
    14. Integrations vs. One Tool for the Job
    15. To Phase or Not to Phase
    16. Bigger Is Not Always Better
    17. The Pilot Approach
    18. Why Not Pilot?
  12. Chapter 4: Teams and Team Roles and Responsibilities Defined
    1. Teams and the Roles on Teams
    2. Project Leadership
    3. The Key Business Stakeholder
    4. The Project Sponsor
    5. The Program Manager
    6. Project Manager
    7. Multiple Project Managers
    8. Confusion About the Project Manager Role; It's More Limited than You Think
    9. Project Team
    10. The Business Analyst
    11. User Experience
    12. Designer
    13. The Programmers
    14. Architect
    15. Systems Administrator
    16. Team Member Choice and Blending Roles
    17. Getting All the Roles Covered
    18. Real-World Examples for Role-Blending
    19. Professionals and Personalities
    20. Insource or Outsource: Whether to Staff Roles with Internal People or Get Outside Help
    21. The Myth that Insourcing Programming Is Better
    22. Inexperience with Projects
    23. How Knowledge Goes Stale
    24. Outsourced Teams
    25. When to Use Internal or External Teams
    26. Roles Easiest to Outsource
    27. Roles “in the Middle”
    28. Roles that Are Usually Internal
    29. Vendors and Hiring External Resources
    30. Some Tech-Types to Avoid: Dot Communists and Shamans
    31. The Shamans
    32. Boundaries, Responsibilities, and Driving in Your Lane
    33. Techies Who Don't Drive in Their Lane
    34. Business Stakeholders Who Shirk Responsibilities
    35. Business Stakeholders, Step Up!
    36. Have a Trusted Technology Partner
    37. How Best (and Worst) to Work with Your Technology Partner
    38. Too Many Cooks
  13. Chapter 5: Project Research and Technology Choice; Conflicts at the Start of Projects; Four Additional Project Delays; Initial Pitfalls
    1. Choice of Technology, a Definition
    2. The Project's Research Phase
    3. Current State
    4. Integrations and Current State
    5. Data and Current State
    6. Business Needs
    7. Possible Technology Solutions
    8. Demos
    9. Comparison Grids
    10. Talk to Other People, a Journalistic Exercise
    11. How Do You Know When Your Research Is Done?
    12. Research Reality Check
    13. You Can't Run the Control
    14. Religious Wars
    15. Passion over Reason
    16. Business Stakeholders and Controlling Ego
    17. How to Stop a Technology Religious War
    18. Not So Easy
    19. Preventing a Technology Religious War
    20. Being Right
    21. Stopping a War in Its Tracks
    22. Détente and Finally Ending a Technology Religious War
    23. Clarity
    24. The Role of the CIO
    25. Two Most Important Factors in Core Technology Decisions
    26. Other Conflicts that Delay the Start of Projects
    27. The Project Charter, a Key Document
  14. Chapter 6: Final Discovery; Project Definition, Scope, and Documentation
    1. Budgeting and Ongoing Discovery; Discovery Work Is Real Work
    2. Budgeting Final Discovery
    3. What Comes Out of Final Discovery: A Plan
    4. Getting to a Plan
    5. The Murk
    6. Getting Out of the Murk
    7. The Plan for the Plan—Company A
    8. How Anyone Can Make a Plan for the Plan
    9. Different Approaches to Elicit the Plan for the Plan
    10. Exception to the Murk
    11. Breakout Sessions
    12. The Weeds Are Where the Flowers Grow
    13. Not All Questions Will Be Answered
    14. Agile, Waterfall, and Project Documentation
    15. The Scope Document
    16. Project Summary
    17. Project Deliverables
    18. Out of Scope
    19. Constraints
    20. Assumptions
    21. Risks
    22. Timeline
    23. Budget, Scope, Timelining, and Horse-Trading
    24. Metrics
    25. What About “the List”?
    26. Defining and Visualizing and Project Scope
    27. Where Does Design Fit In?
    28. Working with Marketing Stakeholders
    29. How You Know You're On the Wrong Track
    30. A Word About Ongoing Discovery
  15. Chapter 7: Budgeting: The Budgeting Methods; Comparative, Bottom-Up, Top-Down, and Blends; Accurate Estimating
    1. An Unpleasant Picture
    2. What Goes on Behind the Scenes; a Scene
    3. Budgeting Type 1: Comparative Budgeting
    4. Gotchas with Comparative Budgeting
    5. Budgeting Type 2: Bottom-Up Budgeting
    6. The Rub in Bottom-Up Budgeting
    7. Budgeting Type 3: Top-Down and Blends
    8. Why RFPs Don't Work
    9. Accurate Estimating and Comparison Budgeting
    10. Effective Estimating in Top-Down and Bottom-Up Budgeting
    11. Establish a Base Budget for Programming, Ongoing Discovery, Unit Testing, Debugging, and Project Management
    12. Percentages of Each
    13. Programming Hours—Raw and Final
    14. The Math Part
    15. Additional Items to Consider
    16. Budgeting and Conflicts
  16. Chapter 8: Project Risks: The Five Most Common Project Hazards and What to Do About Them; Budgeting and Risk
    1. Five Always-Risky Activities
    2. Want Versus Need
    3. Optimism Is Not Your Friend in Software Development
    4. Facing Risks
    5. A Few Words About Fault
    6. Identifying Risks Up Front
    7. Talking to Your Boss
    8. Hidden Infections
    9. The Contingency Factor
    10. The Cost of Consequences
    11. In the Real World
    12. The Good News
    13. A Common Question
    14. Long-Term Working Relationships and Contingency
  17. Chapter 9: Communication; Project Communication Strategy; from Project Kickoff to Daily Meetings
    1. Project Kickoff
    2. Project Kickoff Cast
    3. Project Leadership
    4. Company Leadership
    5. Who Gives the Kickoff?
    6. Kickoff Presentation
    7. High-Level Project Definition
    8. Business Case and Metrics
    9. Project Approach
    10. Team Members and Roles
    11. Project Scope
    12. Out-of-Scope
    13. Timeline
    14. Budget
    15. Risks, Cautions, and Disclaimers
    16. Monthly Steering Committee
    17. Monthly Steering Committee Attendees
    18. Monthly Steering Committee Agenda
    19. Weekly Project Management Meeting
    20. Weekly Project Management Attendees
    21. Weekly Project Management Agenda
    22. Daily Standup Meeting
    23. Well-Run Meetings
    24. Insist on Attention
    25. Timeliness
    26. Getting “into the Weeds”
    27. Needs to Be Kicked Upstairs
    28. Poor Quality Sound—Speakerphones and Cell Phones
    29. Too Much Talk
    30. Agenda and Notes
  18. Chapter 10: The Project Execution Phase: Diagnosing Project Health; Scope Compromises
    1. What Should Be Going on Behind the Scenes
    2. The Best Thing You Can Ever Hear: “Wait. <i xmlns="" xmlns:epub="" xmlns:m="" xmlns:svg="" xmlns:ibooks="">What</i> Was It Supposed to Do?&#8221; Was It Supposed to Do?”
    3. Neutral Corners
    4. What If Things Aren't Quiet?
    5. Making Decisions
    6. How to Listen to the Programmers
    7. SneakerNet and the Fred Operating System
    8. Demos and Iterative Deliverables
    9. Why Iterative Deliverables Are Important
    10. Why Iterative Deliverables Are Hard
    11. What You Can Do to Achieve Iterative Deliverables Even if It's Hard
    12. Demos
    13. Scope Creep
    14. Dealing with Scope Creep; Early Is Better
    15. Scope Creep and Budgeting
    16. Scope Creep and Governance
    17. Types of Scope Creep
    18. Scope Creep and the Team
  19. Chapter 11: First Deliverables: Testing, QA, and Project Health Continued
    1. The Project's First Third
    2. The Second Third
    3. A First Real Look at the Software
    4. The Trough of FUD
    5. Distinguishing a Good Mess from a Bad Mess
    6. An Important Checkpoint
    7. Getting to Stability
    8. First Testing and the Happy Path
    9. Quality Assurance
    10. Bug Reporting
    11. Regression Testing
    12. Bugs: Too Many, Too Few
    13. Testing: The Right Amount for the Job
    14. Too Much Testing?
    15. Bug Cleanup Period
    16. Timeline So Far
  20. Chapter 12: Problems: Identifying and Troubleshooting the Three Most Serious Project Problems; Criteria for Cancellation
    1. A Rule About Problems
    2. Additional Resources
    3. Fault—A Review
    4. Common Late-Stage Problems
    5. Lurking Infections
    6. Wrong Technology Choice
    7. Lack of Leadership
  21. Chapter 13: Launch and Post-Launch: UAT, Security Testing, Performance Testing, Go Live, Rollback Criteria, and Support Mode
    1. User Acceptance Testing: What It Is and When It Happens
    2. Controlling UAT and “We Talked About It in a Meeting Once,” Part Deux
    3. Classifying UAT Feedback
    4. Bugs
    5. Not Working as Expected—The Trickiest Category
    6. Request for Improvement
    7. Feature Request
    8. Conflict Resolution and Final Launch List
    9. Load Testing
    10. Performance Testing
    11. Security Testing
    12. Sign-Off
    13. Questions to Ask Regarding Launch Readiness
    14. Not Knowing Is Not Acceptable
    15. Criteria for Rollback
    16. Singing the Post-Launch Blues
    17. Was It All a Big Mistake?
    18. Metrics
    19. Ongoing Development
    20. Surviving the Next One
  22. Project Tools
    1. 1. Project Roles—Checklist and Blend-ability
    2. 2. Budgeting Formulas—Calculating a Budget Estimate
    3. 3. Budgeting for Contingency—Arriving at a Contingency Number
    4. 4. Project Meetings—Key Meetings, Participants, and Agendas
    5. 5. Running Effective Meetings—Tips to Keep Meetings on Track
    6. 6. The Trough of FUD—Graphic of Emotions in Software Development
    7. 7. Alpha Stage/First Look—How to Distinguish a Good Mess from a Bad Mess
    8. 8. Project Timeline—A High-Level Typical Timeline
    9. 9. Heat Map—A Tool to Track Project Status
    10. 10. Budget Tracking—A Tool to Report on Project Budget Status
    11. 11. Project Flow Graphic—A Graphic Showing Times of Project Conflict and Calm
    12. 12. Common Late-Stage Problems—The Three Most Common Causes of Problems
    13. 13. Classifying UAT Feedback—Instructions to User Acceptance Testers
    14. 14. Cyber Security—Important Safety Tips
  23. Glossary
  24. Index
  25. End User License Agreement