An effective management is almost an ultimate objective for all software project managers. Although there are many methodologies and techniques available to be used for software development, many projects still suffer from late completion time and exceed budgets. A great number of software applications fail to meet user requirements and quality requirements that result in unacceptable maintenance costs. To tackle the problems, many researchers and practitioners focus on the technical aspect to improve the reliability of estimating the software project size or effort [1,5]. However, software projects are still suffering from overshoots of plans and budgets [3,13]. In my opinion, there are a lot of unpredictable factors existing in the software development cycle that have become contributing factors to this problem. To tackle the “change” problem, a management framework is proposed in this paper to help project management to get better understanding and make all activities run on schedule.
The first section of this paper discusses two general problems, namely budget overrun and late delivery, for software application development. Experience and findings from numerous studies have shown that “change” issue is one the major problems in software project development. For instance, users may change the requirements at any time of the development cycle. All these changes may have a serious influence on the software development.
To address this problem, the rest of this paper presents a framework namely Software Development Management (SDM) framework. The author admits that the framework will not cover the issue of productivity and corrective actions selection. All these topics remain an open issue, but further discussion is beyond the scope of this paper. The major task of the framework is to closely monitor and control the development processing, using the estimates and pre-defined metrics as comparisons, so that corrective actions can be promptly taken if necessary.
2. REVIEW OF PROBLEMS
Before starting, project managers have to estimate the size of an application in order to determine an adequate resource level and a realistic completion time. Thus it is essential to find the accurate size and complexity of the software application as early as possible. During the development stage, project managers need to monitor the working progress and overcome all problems to accomplish the project on schedule.
There is no doubt that project managers have to confront with many different kinds of problems, such as technical, management, and personnel, in the software development cycle. They are responsible for ensuring that all development processes are controlled appropriately in order to meet the budget and schedule . Unfortunately, software projects regularly get out of hand in the development cycle. In other words, cost expended on software development frequently exceeds the estimated budget and results in the software has to be delivered after the deadline or has not matured. Many development problems cited in the literature are usually related to either late delivery or budget overrun
Due to budget overrun and late delivery, many projects are forced to be aborted; are missing implementation of some minor components; or are delivered without thorough debugging. In 1984, a survey study was carried out by Jenkins to address this problem . The developers of 72 information system development projects in 23 major American’s corporations were interviewed. Jenkins reported that the average cost and schedule overrun were 36% and 22% respectively. In summary, the overrun of cost and schedule are two serious problems for software project development. Successful project planning mainly relies on a good estimation of the cost and closely monitor the development process. A case study is included to show how the framework can be applied and the merit of this framework.