The significance of Software Engineering Management in Software projects : A study on Project Management success factors, an ideal Project Manager and the current state of Project Management Education

University essay from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Institutionen för programvaruteknik; Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Institutionen för programvaruteknik

Abstract: Background. Management is an essential factor in any organization let alone its kind and size. Project management is the art and science of planning and implementing a project to achieve the desired outcome. Project Management (PM) plays a crucial role in businesses which are bound to function in a team-based environment regardless of the type of business. Although a variety of project management practices are employed in different kinds of industries, it is well understood that the style and level of employment of these project management practices have a significant impact on the project success. The software engineering industry has its own project management practices and the employment of these practices depends on the project manager who thus plays a key role in project management. Project manager has been a ubiquitous feature of traditional software projects. Project managers are a merger of personal characteristics and areas of competency that act together to integrate the various components of a project. In this study, the author discusses about the concept of software engineering management, various characteristics and key competencies of a project manager and also the factors influencing the overall success of a project. The authors also discuss about the current state and importance of PM education and its influence in the real time industry. Objectives. This research study is to analyze and make conclusions about the ideal features of a project manager and therefore attempt to understand its association with critical factors of PM for a project’s success in terms of delivering the product as scheduled and also understand various non-PM factors that are critical for project success. The study also attempts to show the significance of studying PM specifically in the context of Software Engineering as different from other contexts and the importance of PM education in academics and teaching PM in the industry. Methods. To achieve the objectives of this research, we attempt to study project management in the context of Software Engineering by conducting a literature review followed with a descriptive Survey as our research methods for this study to show how far literature complies to the present-day views and overall form a common opinion on this subject by comparing both the findings. Results. The results yielded by conducting a literature review conclude that Project Management or Software Engineering Management plays a vital role in software projects. Various factors that contribute towards successful project management were identified. Also, relevant literature was reviewed to identify the characteristics and competencies of an effective project manager and the status of project management education in academics and in the software engineering industry. The results obtained from the literature review were used in designing a survey and were further used to compare with and validate the results of this survey. A thorough analysis of these results yielded in capturing the current status and views with a snapshot of the situation in the present Software Engineering industry. A clear view on the subject area and results from a sample population of 73 software engineering professionals consisting of up to 41 experienced managers were analyzed, commented and documented. Conclusions. Various conclusions were drawn including discussions on the compliances and contradictions between present literature and software professionals in the present industry have been made. It was found that the majority of software professionals believe that project management in software engineering is unique from project management in other disciplines. It was found that professionals believe project management to be highly to very highly crucial for the overall success of software projects and that the most important key factors for successful project management were team motivation, communication and risk management. It was found that ‘Ability to foresee a problem’, ‘Decision making’ and ‘Inspires a shared vision’ were among the top three characteristics and ‘Team management’, ‘Leadership’ and ‘Ability to work under pressure’ were among the top three competencies of an effective project manager. It was found that managers feel the need to be taught about project management standards and that the ‘PMBoK’ and ‘ISO 9001’ were the most popular standards implemented. It was found that there are very contrasting views among companies on training project managers before promoting them to managerial positions whereas managers expect to be trained. Keywords: Software Engineering Management, Software Project Management, Project Manager, Project Success, Project Management Education, Software Engineering.

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