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Nugget: Project Management

Project Planning
Project Planning is an elective course offered during the (insert time) taken by (enter subset) entering software engineering students. The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the fundamentals of project organization, scheduling, and team management. Classes are taught from textbooks and actual project cases. Project cases will be used to illustrate course concepts, present sources of failure, and as scenarios for students to apply their knowledge. Project planning includes the following topics:

  • Students learn about the different software development life cycle models.

  • Students learn about different project taxonomies and objectives.

    • Decomposing the project into distinct phases and achievable processes.

    • Evolutionary and staged delivery models of planning

  • Students learn the elements required in rapid development and prototyping.
  • Introduction to Management Issues.
    • Planning
    • Staffing
    • Controlling
    • Organizing
    • Leading

  • Risk Management
  • Decision Making (formalized methods of decision making)
  • Students learn how to develop project reports that allow process traceability and progress assessments.
  • Students are taught basic skills in communicating with and managing people.
  • Students are exposed to some of the internationally recognized software process assessments.

    • Capability Maturity Model

    • ISO9000

Introduction to SE Process. Lifecycles. Project Planning
Week 1 is devoted to giving students an overview of the large scale process, of which they've only seen pieces. Lifecycle models are used as frameworks for describing ideal project schedules. The basic elements of project planning are also covered: resource identification, scheduling, and resource allocation.
Project Planning (cont.), Large-Scale Estimation, Case Study Presentations
Week 2 finishes project planning and continues with large-scale estimation. Project case studies are analyzed and presented as examples for discussion. They may be historical. They may also be presented by mangers of ongoing projects.
Intro to Management, Communication Skills
Week 3 gives an overview of basic management skills and roles. Students are presented with a series of exercises and roleplaying to simulate some average and extreme management scenarios.
Team building and structure, Motivation and Other Issues.
Week 4 discusses the dynamics involved in team interaction, types of teams, and how managers should function within a team. Motivation and other issues dealing with the psychology of working are also covered this week.
Risk Management, Project Recovery
Week 5 discusses Risk Management: types of risks, identifying them, planning for potential failures. It also gives an overview and presents cases where projects encountered failures and recovered (or didn't).
Rapid Development
Week 6 gives an overview of the techniques and process required for rapid development. Students will have an opportunity to build their teams and prototype something using these techniques.
Quality issues, TQM, ISO 9000, CMM, Best Industry Practices
Week 7 discusses the issues in quality management and some of the independent assessment organizations
Project Post Mortem and Assessment. Evaluation
Week 8 covers the steps and rationales behind closing the project. Covers problem diagnosis,

Assessment will have several components

  • Knowledge Assessment - Students will be asked to demonstrate their knowledge of the material in this course through a four exams given at regular intervals (every two weeks) throughout the term.
  • Scenario Evaluation - Students will be given several project scenarios derived from both actual and fictious projects and will have to produce a report that both evaluates the state of the project, offers a recommended course of action, and a project plan that includes schedules and estimated effort required. Students will be assessed on their ability to develop an efficient and workable plan and on their ability to present and defend their decisions.

Suggested Textbooks

  • DeMarco, Tom and Lister, Timothy, Peopleware, Dorset House, 1987.
  • McConnell, Steve, Rapid Development, Microsoft Press, 1996.
  • Paulk, M.C., et al., "A Capability Maturity Model for Software", SEI SEI-93-TR-24
  • Adams, Scott, The Dilbert Principle, HarperBusiness, 1996.

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