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INFO 638 – Software Project Management

Syllabus


Summer 2008

** Due dates changed 7/21/08 **


Professor:

Glenn Booker

E-mail:

gbooker@drexel.edu (please put course number & assignment in the subject)

Office and Phone:

Rush 334, 215-895-1004

Office Hours:

Mondays and Wednesdays from 10-11 am , or by appointment.

Text:

Required: Effective Project Management, Robert K. Wysocki, 4th Ed.,
ISBN 0470042618, Wiley, 2007.

Web Site:

Additional references and general course information (e.g. grading policies, etc.) are available on my web site: http://users.snip.net/~gbooker/. All course materials are posted on Blackboard, but usually are backed up on my web site.
Be sure to read General Course Information and Document Review Notes!


Course Overview
This course is an introduction to the basic principles of managing a software development or maintenance project. Just because we use the words “introduction” and “basic” does not mean the material we will cover is trivial. In fact, if you apply the principles from this course consistently, you will be managing your project better than over 90% of all software projects!
To help understand the steps involved in establishing and managing a software project, we will walk through creating key elements of a project plan. Imagine you are facing the start of a new project to develop something which involves software, and want to develop a plan which will describe what you want to do, when it will happen, how you will control the project, and how much effort will be needed to make it happen. The project plan captures that information. A project plan can be used both as a marketing tool (as in “Here’s what I will accomplish if you give me $x,xxx,xxx in seed money”) and to manage a project throughout its life (i.e. the project plan can be a living document which is updated many times during a project to reflect its changes in scope and focus).
The course will cover both traditional project management, as well as more iterative methods (the Adaptive Project Framework, using the text’s terminology).

Class Participation

In the weekly discussion forums, I’m looking for your thoughts about application of the subject matter at hand. Typical ways to participate include:

  • Discuss ways you’ve already used the techniques described professionally, or speculate on how you might be able to use these techniques in your work.


  • Describe other approaches you’ve used, or seen used, for achieving the same objectives as the course material.
  • Ask questions to improve your understanding of the material. If you don’t ask questions, I assume everything is perfectly clear. Please ask basic questions if needed – I don’t expect you to be experts.

  • Do a little research, and share more information sources on the topics of the week, or find examples where they are used in someone else’s work.

  • Respond to others’ comments – beyond the shallow (even if sincere) “me too” or “thank you for sharing” feedback.


  • Feel free to answer each others’ questions. I claim no monopoly on knowledge. 

  • It’s okay to start new discussion threads. Please do so.

  • Questions to clarify the scope of the assignments are fair game, too. Try to avoid those at 11 pm on the day they’re due, however…



Course Outline


Week

Week’s
Monday


Lecture

Topics


Text
Chapters


1

6/23/2008

Week1

Introduction to project management

1 & 2

2

6/30/2008

Week2

Project scope and activities

3 & 4

3

7/7/2008

Week3

Estimation and scheduling

5 & 6

4

7/14/2008

Week4

Resource availability and critical chain

7 & 12

5

7/21/2008

Week5

Joint project planning & controlling project

8 & 10

6

7/28/2008

Week6

Team management and project closeout

9 & 11

7

8/4/2008

Week7

Intro to Adaptive Project Framework

13 & 14

8

8/11/2008

Week8

Cycle plan and build

15 & 16

9

8/18/2008

Week9

Conclude Adaptive Project Framework

17 to 19

10

8/25/2008

Week10

Project portfolio and support

20 & 21

11

9/1/2008

-

(finals week)





Course Assessment
Assignments are due at 11:59 pm (Eastern time) on the dates cited. Submit one Word file for each assignment. Assignments involving schedules or other figures will need to have them pasted into Word. Please post assignments to the Digital Dropbox, and include your last name(s) in the file name, e.g. Smith-hw1.doc.


Assignment


Activity

Date Due

Weighting


1

POS and WBS

7/14/08

20%

2

Estimation and Scheduling

8/4/08

25%

3

Project Control & Management

8/18/08

20%

4

Adaptive Project Plan

9/2/08

25%

-

Class participation and discussions

ongoing

10%




TOTAL




100%

All of the assignments may be group assignments, so choose your group members promptly.



There are no tests, quizzes, midterms, or final exam.
Lots of Writing
All of the assignments involve some degree of writing. If your English skills are weak, you can get your work reviewed by a Writing Intensive Tutor (WIT) at the Writing Center (Room 0032 MacAlister, http://www.drexel.edu/academics/coas/writingcenter/). They can’t tell if you meet the technical needs of the assignment, but they can help you write more coherantly and correctly.
References
Make sure to cite references properly. See the Academic Honesty section in the General Course Information handout for examples of proper and improper citations – there are hyperlinks in the footnotes.
MS Project Tips & Tricks
Mostly helpful for the second and especially fourth assignments:


  • To edit a task, double click on its Task Name.
    To set the task duration, define the Start date and Duration (4h = four work hours, 1d = one work day, 2w = two work weeks, etc.), and clear the Finish date field. That will force it to calculate the finish date when you stop editing that task.

  • To connect tasks, highlight the tasks, and click the icon of a chain link. The finish of the first task will be the start of the second task, and so on. To do this manually, look up the Predecessor field and the type of precedence (FF, SF, FS, etc.).

  • Indenting a task makes it a subtask of a summary task above it. To do so, select the subtask and click on the icon of a right-pointing arrow.
    To unindent, click on the left-pointing arrow icon.

  • To show the WBS number for each task automatically, right click over the Task Name column heading, and select Insert Column. Scroll down the list until you get to the entry named WBS. Add it.

  • The default time scale is generally huge (often spans more than one page left to right). To edit it, right click over the existing time scale (the week dates or days of the week) and select “Timescale…”.
    Typical time scale settings: Change the Middle Tier’s Units to show Quarters, and pick a Label that shows what year it is also (otherwise your project could be starting in 2012). Change the Bottom Tier’s Units to show Months. If it still doesn’t quite fit, reduce the percentage shown for Size.

  • To copy a Project schedule into Word, click-and-drag down the left side of the rows (the grey boxes with the sequential task numbers in them) and select 20-30 rows. Right click and Copy Task.
    Go into Word, and select Paste Special. Select the Picture (Windows Metafile) option. The rows of tasks, AND the column headings and time scale will be pasted into Word.

  • Use Section breaks in Word to turn the page landscape format before pasting your schedule.

This outline is tentative, and topics may change or be reorganized due to the direction and flow of the class.




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