Software project management is essential because many companies today are becoming tech companies, developing their own software. This article will give you a close look at what software project management is. It also provides you with the process and phases of project management in the IT industry – that enables organizations to build high-quality software with speed and scale. Let’s read to know. 

What is software project management?

The term “project management” refers to the process of defining and applying skills, experience, techniques, knowledge and tools to achieve project goals. Similarly, software project management involves a number of activities, which include planning, leading, executing, managing and delivering software projects. 

Technology today is evolving at a rapid pace, driving a new wave of changes. Technology, especially software development plays a crucial role in influencing and changing consumer behaviors. In order to create usable, efficient, high-quality software that meets the customers’ needs, project management is essential to keep software development projects on time, on budget, on scope and on value. 

Detailed tasks in project management

The main objective of project management is to complete a project successfully, on time and within budget. A project manager can achieve this by using a variety of strategies to organize teams and manage resources. Generally, they have to do the following tasks:

Stakeholder management. Identify and communicate with key project stakeholders. Explore their expectations and then develop a strategy to manage them, keep them updated on the progress and ensure the project is aligned with the company’s initiatives. 

Resource management. Project resources include human elements, equipment and raw materials that are necessary to carry out the project activities. These resources need to be planned, managed and allocated to successfully complete a project. 

Scope management. This is a necessity for long-term project management. With it, project managers can keep their eyes on stakeholder and client’s expectations as well as dictate time, money and labor required to complete a project. 

Schedule management. In order to ensure that the project stays on track, project managers have to create, manage and monitor the project schedule. Inside it, they define scope, create work breakdown structure, estimate time, set due dates and milestones to achieve project goals. 

Budget management. Cost estimation is essential to the success of project management. In this task, project managers analyze and review costs to make sure the project does not exceed their budgets.

Communication management. There is no doubt that communication is a crucial success factor in project management. Project managers communicate not only with stakeholders but also with team members. This occurs through emails, phone calls, and daily meetings and aims at encouraging understanding amongst the team and keeping projects on time. 

Integration management. Leverage the use of various project management methodologies to develop a strategy that helps the team work together effectively. This way, teamwork is improved and data can be synchronized for greater clarity and better management. 

Risk management. This is the process of identifying, analyzing, evaluating and managing the risks you may have on the project, whether they are positive risks or negative risks.  

Quality management. The purpose of managing quality is to validate the deliverable to ensure the project meets stakeholder’s expectations. This process includes four main components: planning, control, assurance and improvement, to achieve objectives.

Project management phases and processes in software engineering

The project management life cycle consists of five phases. Every project manager needs to know to succeed. 

1. Initiating

The stage that marks the onset of the project is the project initiation. In this stage, a project manager is responsible for the following tasks:

Define project goals. Translate abstract ideas into clear and meaningful goals, which can then be made actionable. 

Develop a business case. This act determines the needs of the project, project objectives and the return on investment (ROI). 

Create a project charter. This document outlines the entirety of projects, including reasons, objectives for the project, benefits, risks identified and the main stakeholders. 

Identify project stakeholders. Decide key people involved with the project. List all of the essential roles, designation, influence, requirements and communication. 

2. Planning

This is the process of setting goals and creating a blueprint to help guide the team through the next phases of the project. In this phase, the main tasks are defining scope, creating a project plan, developing a baseline budget, establishing roles and responsibilities. A project plan consists of several components to manage, for example budget, schedule and management plan in scope, resource, stakeholder and more. You can use SMART and CLEAR methods to set goals. 

3. Executing

This is the stage where to put your project plan into action. The responsibilities of project managers during this phase are to supervise the execution, monitor progress, have regular check-ins with team members and create status reports. Daily stand-up meetings are important to quickly identify when a problem arises and to efficiently fix it. 

4. Monitoring and controlling

The third and fourth phases of project management often run simultaneously. As a project manager, you need to monitor progress, track effort and cost to ensure that the project stays on schedule and on budget. This way also helps prevent chances for disruptions. 

5. Closing 

Closure is the final phase of the project management process. In this stage, the responsibilities of project managers are to handover and review deliverables, get project results approved and document project learnings. 

Having structured software project management can help guide your work and lead your team through every stage of the process – to support the software delivery and achieve success within the existing constraints. Project managers should follow the above process to achieve success.