To keep up with the demand, major IT companies and software development service providers in India are streamlining their project management procedures to further reduce cost, while maintaining international qualitative standards.
But, how do IT companies go about achieving that goals? That is a tricky question isn't it?
Proper planning and project management is the way to go forward. One has to keep in mind, firstly, what kind of control one want, how do we understand 'requirements,' which is ascertained before a project starts and are incomplete by nature, secondly 'resources' are decided in advance and may very in quantity and quality, and lastly, what should be considered as a 'successful result,' and what specific practices are both effective and practical.
To answer that, Eagles approach to project development methodologies is the right way to go about turning ideas into practical methods of management which can be relied upon regularly. Any project has to keep three things in mind; how to control the development process, means of achieving the project goals and doing it cost effectively, meaning the software should works as desired the very first time it's activated.
According to Eagles approach, “software project management is the control of the transformation of requirements and resources into a successful result.”
Management by Structured Task List (STL) is the most effective method mentioned in Eagles approach.
- It's objectives is to clear and pragmatic in approach to project management and avoid complexities.
- The project should follow a well defined path and avoid sudden changes in objectives, without delay in delivery.
- The cost of the project should be limited to certain parameter, so as not to waste any additional money, time and effort, while keeping in mind to use every opportunity to keep low cost without forfeiting quality, for increased return on investment.
- The project should be able to accommodate ever changing requirements with unfolding results.
The requirements should not be that taxing to the company.
- Take timely decisions on any course corrections if there is a problem as early as possible, to avoid cost over runs. The budget, cost effectiveness and project completion time depends of timely intervention.
- Measurement mechanism should be in place to ascertain the time it will take to complete a project within a budget, it should take into account quality and availability of resources and change in need.
Off-course all the above points will be irrelevant if there is no STL as a binding tool to guide the project and gather all the information and statics in a single database. STL plays two significant roles; through this requirements, resource use and results as well as stakeholders inputs are mediated and analyzed.
Structured Task List requires certain properties:
Group direction; It is related to modular or group distribution of task.
- The structure of the STL should relate to the physical structure of the end product as perceived in in the expected results. The final product must include specific documents, source code, built or compiled components, installed program, or other third-party components.
- There should be adequate coverage for the end product so that anything can be added or subtracted at any level or phase of the project.
- Repetition of the task should be to maintain fluidity of the project by assigning one task to one chosen employee, so that individual task don't overlap, thus saving time.
- No part of the end product should be unaccounted for, task should be designed in modular format, so that in the end all the task developed at the same time can relate, correspond and fit together in a hierarchy without any repetition, delay or glitch.
- All the phases should be accounted for and its outcome and it's interoperability analyzed.
- Phase” dimension; Refers to duration taken in the stages of development, such as R & D, requirements analysis, external design, implementation and deployment.
- The designated task must be completed within a stipulated period. Every task belongs to a group or a phase. The task should be 24 to 36 hours long, though 2 to 16 hours is ideal.
Positive windfalls of STL
- A look at various stages clearly shows the changes incorporated into the project, such as inclusion of any new task, addition or deletion of stages during development, etc.
- It helps determine whether the changes made is cheap or expensive in nature, and concludes its cost effectiveness. Unintended changes are clearly visible, and corrective action are taken immediately.
- Error in duration and resource estimates can be detected quickly due to assignment of task to single individual.
- Once the error in pattern is detected, the reason can be investigated.
- Early detection and diagnosis of problems, as it covers all groups of tasks. at all stages. All tasks have a fixed time allotted to them, hence the completion time of complete project is known.
- STL is updated frequently so that the real time taken for the task and estimated time can be tallied.
- STL helps in detecting unforeseen glitches which may make the project unattainable economically, thus reducing the waste of resources.
- STL helps project members a glimpse of the entire project and their place in it. They can see their contribution and how much time they had taken to complete a task in comparison to other members.
- It's easy to see when and where a project has changed and why.
- STL helps in communication with the beneficiaries of the project and the team members. The beneficiaries can easily see the change in objective and problems in the development, and communicate their inputs.
For an efficient STL, all the changes should be logged and up to date. It should also in short intervals or weekly review time estimates and update progress. Team work should be related to a project task at hand, and work outside the realm of the project should be discarded.
For successful delivery of a product on time and under budget estimates, a team member is an important part of the well clogged machinery. The individual team member assigned a work should stick to the specific task under STL. The person should be aware how long the task is supposed to take. If the task is supposed to take longer than expected then, do bring it to the notice of the team leader and discuss a new time schedule. If there is a problem or error detected, inform the project head. The individual should always report any bad new to supervisors as soon as one become aware and ask for help if unable to overcome it, ask question and clear doubts if there is any. If the team member knows a better and less time consuming way of accomplishing the task, that information should be made available to upper management immediately. Lastly an individual should always be honest about their progress in the project and refrain from suppressing facts.
Software Developers in India should always keep this in mind for a successful closure of a project with desired results. within a specified budget and the Eagle method seems to be the most cost effective approach to achieve that.