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Applied Software Project Management. Managing an Outsourced Project [ Modified version of Stellman and Greene’s Chapter 9 slides. Adapted for class use only in the CS 709B course at UNR. Slides updated by Rakhi Motwani and Hema Jayaprakash, 2009 ]. What is Outsourcing.

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applied software project management

Applied Software Project Management

Managing an Outsourced Project

[Modified version of Stellman and Greene’s Chapter 9 slides. Adapted for class use only in the CS 709B course at UNR.

Slides updated by Rakhi Motwani and Hema Jayaprakash, 2009]

what is outsourcing
What is Outsourcing
  • Sub-contracting a project to a third-party
  • May or may not involve some degree of offshoring
    • Offshoring is the transfer of an organizational function to another country, regardless of whether the work is outsourced or stays within the same corporation/company

why projects are outsourced
Why Projects are Outsourced
  • Cost savings (and possibly investing increased profits in growing business opportunities)
  • Focus on core business
  • Reduce time to market (boost in productivity due to rapid implementation of new strategies and initiatives)
  • Access to a larger talent pool
    • Supplement limited in-house capacity

why outsourcing fails
Why Outsourcing Fails?
  • No well-defined processes and governance structures in place
  • Poor project management
  • No metrics for measuring success
    • Most organizations are known to be unwilling to invest time at the outset to adequately plan and execute a project
    • Organizations also wrongly assume they have the internal capabilities to govern an offshore operation

why outsourcing fails1
Why Outsourcing Fails?
  • Gartner’s Report:
  • Unrealized cost savings
  • Loss of productivity
  • Poor commitment and communications
  • Cultural differences
  • Lack of offshore expertise and readiness
  • Most outsourced projects are:
  • Poorly planned, shoddily implemented & ineffectively managed

considerations for deciding to outsource
Considerations for Deciding to Outsource
  • Select the right projects to outsource
  • Select the right vendor
  • Availability of dedicated personnel for project & human resource management oversight
  • Offshoring
  • Manage time zone difference
  • Invest time for understanding the culture
  • Resolve work cultural differences
  • Have clear procedures for both knowledge and process transfer should the outsourcing arrangement not work out

prevent project failure
Prevent Project Failure
  • Outsourcers should figure out their IT process maturity. Mature processes have:
  • Standardized methodologies
  • Established mechanisms for managing change
  • Detailed service-level agreements
  • Strong skills in project and portfolio management
  • Weakness in these areas can translate into poor results from outsourcing projects

Don’t be a hands-off client (Get involved)
    • Get involved in the day-to-day management of the individual team members and their tasks
    • Do not leave all of the decisions up to the vendor
    • Do not assume that it\'s the vendor\'s responsibility to fix every problem that comes up in a way
    • "I\'m paying the bills, and the vendor will lose my business if they don\'t get this right, so they have to take care of everything!“
    • No SRS document is complete. The vendor does not have enough information to build the software properly

Constantly communicate project goals
    • Adequately communicate your needs and goals to the vendor
    • Integrate the outsourced team with your organization to provide context
    • Keep the team members on track; make sure they understand your organization\'s needs, and that the tasks they are performing are in line with organization’s goals
    • Have daily discussions with the team
    • Spot check work from selected team members to make sure you are getting what you think you are asking for

Estimate the work
    • Make sure the project is estimated well
    • “The further away you get from a task, the easier it seems; the devil is usually in the details”
    • Unrealistic estimates cause projects to fail
    • Vendors tend to promise things they can\'t deliver
    • Meet with the vendor\'s project team and hold your own estimation sessions, once the project team is assembled

management issues
Management Issues
  • Actively manage the project
    • Set up a communications plan with the team lead at the vendor
    • Know all your team members
    • Collect the daily status of the project (nightly build reports, unit test results, track the lines of code produced on a daily or weekly basis, access the defect tracking system)

senior management own
Senior Management (own)
  • Keep them in the loop
    • Senior managers may or may not have a realistic view of outsourced projects
    • Make sure your organization\'s managers understand what it is that you and your outsourced team are accomplishing, and how you are dealing with them on a day-to-day basis
    • You will need them to support you in case you make any controversial decisions, if you need further funding, or when you need their approval
    • Provide status reports to them, encourage them to visit with the vendor

the vendor s management
The Vendor’s Management
  • Build a relationship with the vendor’s management
    • Know who to approach when things go wrong
    • Establish trust both ways
    • The vendor should understand your goals
    • Don’t allow the vendor’s escalation process to interfere with the project (this “escalation” process is usually positive for the vendor, but it might work against you)
    • Make sure the management at the vendor recognizes and rewards good work
    • Security and intellectual policies at the client side might need to be modified as well

the project team
The Project Team
  • Build a relationship with the team
    • A project manager doesn’t have the same kind of relationship with the team that he/she would with a team in his own organization
    • Understand the needs of each team member; the project manager is the team\'s only resource for gathering the information
    • Keep the team motivated
    • Gain credibility by making good decisions

collaborate with the vendor
Collaborate with the Vendor
  • Tools and techniques for the project phase should be modified
  • Plan and manage the project scope
    • The project starts either with
      • A scope and a budget, or
      • A scope and a deadline

(as opposed to an in-house project, which starts with a scope and set of known resources, from which schedule, budget and due date are estimated)

    • Plan for knowledge transfer
      • Done through meetings, documentation, working off-site at the vendor, bringing consultants on-site
      • Vendor team on-site is less disruptive but has disadvantages

plan and manage the project s scope
Plan and Manage the Project’s Scope
    • Going directly to meet the team helps communicate your needs effectively
    • Knowledge transfer should be covered in the scope and vision document
    • Include the vendor as project stakeholder
  • Recognize that success for the project manager and success for the vendor are often two different things

do your own estimation
Do your own estimation
  • Learn about your resources and create a team
  • Follow one of the estimation methods for the in-house project
  • Renegotiate the contract or add more resources to meet the deadline
  • Better to know at the beginning at the project

maintain your project schedule
Maintain your project schedule
  • Can’t understand the complexities with status meetings
  • Don’t depend on the vendor to maintain the project plan and project schedule
    • When a project manager is responsible for the project, he/she must keep track of its status
    • Know who is doing what and how far they have progressed

hold reviews and inspections
Hold reviews and inspections
  • Identify and fix defects
  • Inspections as milestones in the project schedule
  • Discussion groups, mailing lists, log messages from the version control system
  • No inspection meeting required
  • Deskcheck to spot check the work
  • Mentor the team from the vendor


Hold Reviews and Inspections

design and programming
Design and Programming
  • Don’t delegate the entire design and programming of the project to the vendor
    • Establish design constraints early on
    • If possible, design the software in-house, or in collaboration with the vendor
    • Monitor the code base using code reviews and project automation

software quality
Software Quality
  • Take responsibility for the quality of the software
    • Quality is not just another deliverable that can be bought and paid for
    • Include testing in the scope document and if possible in the contract
    • Don’t make decisions that undercut the QA team
    • Ensure that adequate time and budget is allocated for test planning and execution

don t blindly trust the vendor
Don’t Blindly Trust the Vendor
  • Even though individual team members may have certifications or degrees, it doesn’t mean that they are competent
  • Just because the vendor’s organization is certified, that doesn’t guarantee that they know better than you do how to run your project
  • Don’t be intimidated by the vendor’s pedigree. If something on the project looks wrong, it probably is!