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Course material for software project management with Microsoft Project. Vangel Ajanovski Teaching assistant at the Institute of Informatics Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Skopje ajan@ii.edu.mk Wednesday, 12 March 2014. Software project management at the Institute of Informatics.

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Course material for software project management with microsoft project l.jpg

Course material for software project management with Microsoft Project

Vangel Ajanovski

Teaching assistant at the Institute of InformaticsFaculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Skopjeajan@ii.edu.mk

Wednesday, 12 March 2014


Software project management at the institute of informatics l.jpg
Software project management at the Institute of Informatics Microsoft Project

  • Starting from school year 2005/2006 there are both 3 year studies and 4 year studies at the Institute of Informatics

    • 4 year studies have 6 different study programmes

    • 3 year studies have 2 different study programmes

  • Software Project Management at present

    • As a separate course with 4 ECTS in the study programmes:

      • Software Engineering

      • Computer science

      • Information systems

      • Computer Architecture and Networks

    • As a separate topic in the courses

      • Software Engineering

      • Analysis and Logical Design of IS


  • Software project management topics in earlier curriculum l.jpg
    Software project management topics in earlier curriculum Microsoft Project

    • There were two courses including topics from project management in the past

      • Operations Research(8th semester – curriculum 1996 and 2000)

      • Management(8th semester – curriculum 2000)

    • These two courses included some of the following topics

      • Network planning with MS Project and/or PERT and Gantt charts

      • Time Scheduling

      • Resource scheduling

      • Optimizations for resources, time and cost


    The new software project management course l.jpg
    The new Software Project Management Course Microsoft Project

    • Main intent was to fit this course into the specialization module in the Information Systems study programme(Module as a structural group of courses)

    • Therefore the course was proposed according to the

      • IS 2002.10 – Project Management and Practice model course

      • IS 2002 Model Curriculum and Guidelines for Undergraduate Studies in Information Systems created by

        • ACM (Association for Computing Machinery)

        • AIS (Association for Information Systems)

        • AITP (Association of Information Technology Professional)

    • The course name was changed in order to include it in the specialization modules or electives in the other study programmes (SE, CS, CAN)

    • The course is planned with 4 ECTS

    • 2h/week lectures and 2h/week laboratory work


    Is 2002 10 course specification catalog and scope l.jpg
    IS 2002.10 Course specification Microsoft Project- Catalog and Scope -

    • CATALOG

      • Advanced IS majors operating as a high-performance team will engage in and complete the design and implementation of a significant information system.

      • Project management, management of the IS function, and systems integration will be components of the project experience.

    • SCOPE

      • This course covers the factors necessary for successful management of information systems development or enhancement projects.

      • Both technical and behavioral aspects of project management are applied within the context of an information systems development project.


    Is 2002 10 course specification topics l.jpg
    IS 2002.10 Course specification Microsoft Project- Topics -

    • Managing the system life cycle: requirements determination, design, implementation;

    • System and database integration issues;

    • Network management;

    • Project tracking, metrics, and system performance evaluation;

    • Managing expectations of managers, clients, team members, etc;

    • Determining skill requirements and staffing;

    • Cost-effectiveness analysis;

    • Reporting and presentation techniques;

    • Management of behavioral and technical aspects of the project;

    • Change management;

    • Software tools for project tracking and monitoring;

    • Team collaboration techniques and tools.


    Is 2002 10 course specification discussion l.jpg
    IS 2002.10 Course specification Microsoft Project- Discussion -

    • Capstone course for IS majors. It focuses on engaging in and completing a major system development project.

    • The project is a team effort and allows a final opportunity to practice personal and interdependence skills to ensure team member empowerment and success. Project management tools will be employed by the team to ensure tracking of the project and communication of project goals and accomplishments to the client.

    • Automated development tools may or may not be used depending on available resources. However, standards will be developed for all project deliverables. Software quality assurance methodologies will be employed to ensure a successful outcome for the project.

    • On-going presentation of project planning, analysis, design, conversion plan, and other documentation will be done by the team. Each team member should play a significant role in some aspect of presentation.


    The new software project management course goals and limits l.jpg
    The new Software Project Management Course Microsoft Project - Goals and limits

    • The Software Project Management course will start in 2008

    • At the moment no teacher/assistant is assigned yet, so detailed course lecture plans and topics’ coverage are not yet elaborated

    • Due to limitations in teacher resources what will probable happen is that we will (for this, and most of the other new courses)

      • Let the course evolve in time towards the original goals

      • Have detailed coverage for topics where a teacher is specialized and have the other topics covered with the bare minimum

      • Share material with other courses where topics coincide

      • At first have greater weight on theory than on practice

      • Learn only the tools, instead of work on real projects

      • Borrow from others with greater experience


    Other courses operations research l.jpg
    Other courses - Operations Research Microsoft Project

    • This course from the past was a 6 ECTS equivalent

    • Contents include 3 major parts:

      • Queuing theory

      • Simulations of real-world systems

      • Network planning (PERT and Gantt charts, resource scheduling, time, resource and cost optimizations, simulation of project execution)

    • The Network Planning part can be (and is) closely related to software project management

      • There is experience with tools like Microsoft Project

    • So this is where earlier experiences come in quite handy in the new courses

      • What can be used?


    Other courses operations research 2 l.jpg
    Other courses - Microsoft ProjectOperations Research [2]

    • Course material for the theoretical part of network planning

      • Typed in an old text-processor like Chi writer

      • No original document, only bad quality photocopies

      • aprox. 130-40 pages

      • It is rather good material, but some work has to be done in order to retype it and bring it to a more readable and portable form

    • The laboratory hours were planned for tools like Microsoft Project and Turbo Project, as good realizations of the theoretical concepts

      • There is some reading material for this – books translated in Serbian and help files

      • There are a dozen of case-studies developed by students in other courses using Microsoft project

      • There are few tools developed by students which could be the basis for discussing various heuristics and algorithms for optimization


    Network planning course material l.jpg
    Network planning course material Microsoft Project

    • Contents

      • Network planning

        • Activities and events

        • Defining the structure of the project

        • Time-based analysis of the project(time reserves, deadlines,…)

        • Critical path and activities

      • Cost-based analysis

        • Cost-time dependency

        • Direct costs, Indirect costs, Overall costs

        • Minimization of overall costs

      • Resource-based analysis

        • Minimization with constrained resources

        • Minimization with constrained time


    Network planning course material 2 l.jpg
    Network planning course material Microsoft Project[2]

    • Other literature

      • Lewis – “Project Planning, Scheduling & Control”3rd edition, McGraw-Hill, NY 2001

        • Rather narrative and not technical – but useful for all the other managerial issues in a general course of software management

        • Microsoft Project is not covered just mentioned in few occasions

      • Hillier, Lieberman – “Introduction to Operations Research”7th edition, McGraw-Hill Higher Education, NY 2001

        • Has very good on-hand examples on how to implement some of the models in Microsoft Project

        • Also includes examples how to implement some algorithms in Microsoft Excel

      • Petric - “Operations Research” (Operaciona Istrazivanja) Nauka, Beograd 1997

        • Several solved exercises on project planning and cost optimization


    Microsoft project as a course tool l.jpg
    Microsoft Project as a course tool Microsoft Project

    • The Network Planning material has to include

      • examples and instructions how to implement the mentioned concepts in MS Project

    • In order to be in close correspondence to the theory

      • special case study has to be built and elaborated in lectures and in labs

    • Since project management is not only about planning, but also includes

      • Project tracking, monitoring and change-management

      • Cost optimization

      • Team collaboration

    • … special focus has to be given on the support MS Project has for those activities

      • Microsoft Project versions (Standard, Professional, Central Server)

      • Links with other applications (Outlook, Sharepoint portal, Exchange)


    Student projects in microsoft project l.jpg
    Student projects in Microsoft Project Microsoft Project

    • Each student or team of students is given some project to manage

    • They should try to think and discuss in joint sessions and

      • List all activities

      • Find interdependencies between activities

      • Plan the resources necessary for performing all activities

    • After that make a project plan

      • Decide on project phases, milestones and deadlines

      • Create calendars of free project time

    • Start the project implementation and tracking

      • Unfortunately this is hard to do with students from an organizational point

      • There has to be some ongoing project that they should have planned before-hand and are tracking now

      • In a specialized course for project management the project can not be the actual development of a software – there is not enough time for that


    Student projects in microsoft project 2 l.jpg
    Student projects in Microsoft Project Microsoft Project[2]

    • In the last 2 years in the IS course we had a project management part and gave a special assignment

      • To plan the actual work in the course, and not the development of the projects that the students are designing

    • So their “project plan” did not include activities

      • how to plan, design and implement a CRM system (as an example), but instead

      • plan the planning and learning for planning 

    • The project plans were filled with activities like

      • When to read the course material

      • When to work on use-cases, when to make interviews etc

      • Work with constraints such as regular classes, parties, exams, colloquium weeks etc.

    • The expected results were

      • Amount of time and work spent by each student for the course, tracking and monitoring of their learning process

      • Cost of the learning process, and cost of the project planning


    Conclusion work to be done and questions raised l.jpg
    Conclusion: Work to be done and questions raised Microsoft Project

    • There are problems with needs for software project management topic in various courses and modules and there is lack of teachers and teacher time

      • Some of the materials have to be shared among courses

    • Lots of older materials that has to be renovated

      • Even rewritten from scratch

    • Decision has to be made on proper tools

      • Cost of tools (MS Project)

      • How to make things work in correspondence with theory

      • Model for working with students, teams and projects