Project Management Process
While the selection of the development process decides the phases and tasks to be done, it does not specify things like how long each phase should last, or how many resources should be assigned to a phase, or how a phase should be monitored. And quality and productivity in the project will also depend critically on these decisions. To meet the cost, quality, and schedule objectives, resources have to be properly allocated to each activity for the project, and progress of different activities has to be monitored and corrective actions taken when needed. All these activities are part of the project management process.
Hence, a project management process is necessary to ensure that the engineering process ends up meeting the real-world objectives of cost, schedule, and quality.
The project management process specifies all activities that need to be done by the project management to ensure that cost and quality objectives are met. Its basic task is to ensure that, once a development process is chosen, it is implemented optimally. That is, the basic task is to plan the detailed implementation of the process for the particular project and then ensure that the plan is properly executed. For a large project, a proper management process is essential for success.
The activities in the management process for a project can be grouped broadly into three phases: planning, monitoring and control, and termination analysis. Project management begins with planning, which is perhaps the most critical project management activity. The goal of this phase is to develop a plan for software development following which the objectives of the project can be met successfully and efficiently. A software plan is usually produced before the development activity begins and is updated as development proceeds and data about progress of the project becomes available. During planning, the major activities are cost estimation, schedule and milestone determination, project staffing, quality control plans, and controlling and monitoring plans. Project planning is undoubtedly the single most important management activity, and it forms the basis for monitoring and control.
Project monitoring and control phase of the management process is the longest in terms of duration; it encompasses most of the development process. It includes all activities the project management has to perform while the development is going on to ensure that project objectives are met and the development proceeds according to the developed plan (and update the plan, if needed). As cost, schedule, and quality are the major driving forces, most of the activity of this phase revolves around monitoring factors that affect these. Monitoring potential risks for the project, which might prevent the project from meeting its objectives, is another important activity during this phase. And if the information obtained by monitoring suggests that objectives may not be met, necessary actions are taken in this phase by exerting suitable control on the development activities.
Monitoring a development process requires proper information about the project. Such information is typically obtained by the management process from the development process. Consequently, the implementation of a development process model should ensure that each step in the development process produces information that the management process needs for that step. That is, the development process provides the information the management process needs. However, interpretation of the information is part of monitoring and control.
Whereas monitoring and control last the entire duration of the project, the last phase of the management process—termination analysis—is performed when the development process is over. The basic reason for performing termination analysis is to provide information about the development process and learn from the project in order to improve the process. This phase is also often called postmortem analysis. In iterative development, this analysis can be done after each iteration to provide feedback to improve the execution of further iterations.
The temporal relationship between the management process and the development process is shown in Figure. This is an idealized relationship showing that planning is done before development begins, and termination analysis is done after development is over. As the figure shows, during the development, from the various phases of the development process, quantitative information flows to the monitoring and control phase of the management process, which uses the information to exert control on the development process.