About Project Managing Artifacts & Tools Used In Project Management
The key to a successful project is in adequately documenting objectives and deliverables in the form of artifacts and using tools for the process to be effective. Generalized planning and scheduling artifacts and tools can be applied to any software projects with little modification. Changes or updates to the artifacts will be updated in the configuration management plan.
Given the wide range of artifacts available, we need to understand that different artifacts are appropriate at each phase of the project life cycle. During all phases of the software development lifecycle the project planning, estimation and quality related artifacts play a leading role. In the initiation phase, project framework and scheduling artifacts are essential. In the execution and control phases, the analysis, assessment and acceptance artifacts are required.
The project management artifact set, consists of the artifacts associated with project planning, execution and closure. The common artifacts used are the Project Charter, Business case, Software Development Project Plan, Status Assessment Plan, Risk Management Plan, Quality Assurance Plan, Product Acceptance Plan and Project Measurements.
The Project Charter provides definition for a project and is a statement of scope, giving details on objectives and stakeholders.
A Business Case has the reasoning for the project or task to be initiated. It includes the background of the project, the expected business benefits, the costs and the risks. From the information given in Business case, justification for the project is arrived.
The Software Development Project Plan defined how the whole project will be executed, monitored and controlled. It is created by the Project Manager with inputs from key stakeholders and the team. The Plan gathers all the necessary information to control the project and includes processes designing, implementing, documenting and testing.
It describes the approach and the direction for the development. It is used by project managers to plan the project schedule and track progress. It is used by team members to gain an understanding of their tasks.
The Status Assessment Plan is used to ensure that the expectation of all stakeholders is synchronized and consistent. It is a mechanism to address any issues or project risks.
The Risk Management Plan denotes the identification, management and control of risks associated with a project. This plan will be updated as when risk status or mitigation strategies changes.
The Quality Assurance Plan gives the details how the software quality objectives will be attained and compliance with standards achieved. It also contains review and audit plan.
The Product acceptance plan gives details of the acceptance criteria of customer and how the user will evaluate, that the product is in sync with it. It includes the tasks and activities that ensure the product acceptability.
The Project Measurement artifact is the repository of metrics related to product and process. It contains the data and the metrics derived from the data. On smaller projects it can be tailored as a defect tracking system and to track progress. On large scale projects it can be used to give reporting status and act as a distributed artifact.
Apart from the artifacts, the tools used to govern project management also play a vital role.
A Project Management Software tool can be implemented as a program that runs on the desktop of each user, implemented as a Web application and accessed through and intranet or extranet using a web browser, as a single user system, as a collaborative system supporting multiple users or as an integrated system combining project planning with other aspects. Some of the popular tools are Microsoft Project, GanttProject, Clarity and iPlan.
Microsoft Project, software developed and sold by Microsoft is one of the most commonly used tools for Project Planning. It deals with developing plans, task scheduling and resource allocation, denoting tasks dependency, tracking progress, managing budgets and analysis of workloads. The application can also be used to create Critical Path schedules.
GanttProject is a Java based project management software that features a Gantt chart for project scheduling and resource management. It also has reporting options via MS Project, HTMP, PDF and spreadsheets. It focuses on tasks hierarchies and dependencies and generation of PERT chart.
One of the most widely known project management software tool in the corporate world is Clarity Project Management software. This tool is useful to automate any task related to Project management such as resource task allocation, timesheet tracking, documentation and customer support. It integrates different services used by software developer and managers in one universal web based solution.
iPlan is a project management framework supporting the process driven corporate mechanism of an organization. It is a project and quality integrated management system developed by Integrated Strategic Information Systems (ISIS). iPlan is a project planning, monitoring and controlling tool with various separate interfaces for handling Requirement management , Initiative management , Metrics Management, Timesheet Management , Defect management, Exception Management etc.
Seeking and utilizing the appropriate artifacts and tools are essential for an organization to contribute to the success of its projects. The organization should create an environment wherein the processes, tools and methodologies are streamlined and processes systematic and refined.
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