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Software Project Planning Practices

Vision and Scope Document Print E-mail
When the project begins, the project manager has a unique role to play. The start of the project is the time when the scope of the project is defined; only the project manager is equipped to make sure that it’s defined properly. Everyone else has a role to play later on: users and stakeholders will provide expertise, requirements analysts will write specifications, programmers will build the code, etc. Everyone involved in the project has some input into the scope, but only the project manager is solely dedicated to it. Defining the scope is the most productive thing a project manager can do to get the project underway. The Vision and Scope document is the project manager's tool for doing that.
Software Project Plan Print E-mail
The project plan is used by many people in the organization. The project manager uses it to communicate the project’s status to the stakeholders and senior managers, and to plan the team’s activities. The team members use it to understand the context for the work they are doing. The senior managers use it to verify that the project’s cost and schedule are reasonable and under control, and that the project is being done in an efficient and costeffective manner. The stakeholders use it to make sure that the project is on track, and that their needs are being addressed.
Wideband Delphi estimation process Print E-mail
To someone who has never estimated a project in a structured way, estimation seems little more than attempting to predict the future. This view is reinforced when off-the-cuff estimates are inaccurate and projects come in late. But a good formal estimation process, one that allows the project team to reach a consensus on the estimates, can improve the accuracy of those estimates, making it much more likely that projects will come in on time. Wideband Delphi is an estimation process process that is straightforward to implement. Using it, a project manager can help the team to create successful estimates for any software project by using sound techniques and understanding what makes estimates more accurate.
Project Schedule Print E-mail
The project schedule is the core of the project plan. It is used by the project manager to commit people to the project and show the organization how the work will be performed. Schedules are used to communicate final deadlines and, in some cases, to determine resource needs. They are also used as a kind of checklist to make sure that every task necessary is performed. If a task is on the schedule, the team is committed to doing it. In other words, the project schedule is the means by which the project manager brings the team and the project under control.
Risk Plan Print E-mail
Risk assessment is an important part of planning a software project because it allows the project manager to predict potential problems that will threaten the project and take steps to mitigate those problems. Adding a risk plan to a software project plan is an effective way to keep the project from being derailed by surprises or emergencies.
Change Control Print E-mail
Change control is method for implementing only changes that are worth pursuing, and for preventing unnecessary or overly costly changes from derailing the project. Change control is essentially an agreement between the project team and the managers that are responsible for decision-making on the project to evaluate the impact of a change before implementing it. Many changes that initially sound like good ideas will get thrown out once the true cost of the change is known. The potential benefit of the change is written down, and the project manager works with the team to estimate the potential impact that the change will have on the project. This gives the organization all of the information necessary to do a real cost-benefit analysis. If the benefit of the change is worth the cost, the project manager updates the plan to reflect the new estimates. Otherwise, the change is thrown out and the team continues with the original plan.

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