Software & IT projects

Location:  PMKI > IT & Construction Industries > Software & IT projects. 
The PMKI Library

PMKI Index
the PMKI

This subject looks at the aspects of project controls and management specific to the ICT industries.

Topics included in Software & IT project Management:

- IT Project Management Overview
- Agile Approaches to Development
   -  Calculating status and completion 
   -  Agile resources
- Traditional Approaches to Development
- Useful External Web-links & Resources.

Other related sections of the PMKI:

- Product Development 
- Project management software


Software & IT Project Management Overview


Planning poker, also called Scrum poker, is a consensus-based, gamified technique for estimating, mostly used to estimate effort or relative size of development goals in software development. In planning poker, members of the group make estimates by playing numbered cards face-down to the table, instead of speaking them aloud. The cards are revealed, and the estimates are then discussed. By hiding the figures in this way, the group can avoid the cognitive bias of anchoring, where the first number spoken aloud sets a precedent for subsequent estimates.

Click through for a list of estimating tools.

Art: The Insidious Effect of Technical Debt - The concept of technical debt refers to the costs of having to go back and resolve problems that arise because an earlier decision was made to take an easy option, instead of the best one.

Note: A comprehensive list of software suitable for managing ICT projects can be found at Project Team Management & Collaboration software



Agile Approaches to Development

Agile is a general term, derived from the Manifesto for Agile Software Development which states:

We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

This statement is supported by twelve principles that define a way of developing software and other ‘soft products’ focused on flexibility and adapting to changing user or customer requirements to maximize value. The agile approach (or philosophy) is, with a few word changes, applicable to most projects most of the time. Whereas the specific methodologies created for software project management such as Scrum have a significantly more limited sphere of application. 

We are not experts in any of the various and evolving agile methodologies, the most prominent seem to be Scrum as the method of working, with Disciplined Agile (DA) and SAFe® (Scaled Agile Framework) as the overall management approach, where DA can be used to create context-sensitive options that optimize SAFe practices and ensure the delivery of business solutions. The papers in this section are written from a business and governance perspective, not a technical agile perspective, for up to date technical resources see the 'agile resource links' below.

This topic looks at the practical application of Agile in a business environment. Click through to see more on Product Development & Maintenance

DP: Thoughts on Agile.  Agile is a way of developing software and other ‘soft products’ focused on flexibility and adapting to changing user or customer requirements to maximize value. This paper looks at the implication of managing an agile approach to product development.

Art: There’s Agile and there’s Agile, understand the difference!  This article defines three very different business environments where 'Agile' approaches can deliver real benefits and identifies the differences in management approach needed to maximize value for the organization.

Art: De-Projectizing IT Maintenance. Not everything in IT needs to be a project – by de-projectizing maintenance work major improvements in delivery are possible.

Art: Processes -v- People. You can get the best of both worlds by embedding organizational agility into your procedures, methodologies and management.

PP: The Paradox of Project Control in a Matrix Organisation. This paper explores the hypothesis that, within complex matrix organizations, the ‘zone’ between the strategic vision set by senior management and the projects created to fulfil it, is a highly complex and dynamic organism that's reaction to stimuli cannot be predicted. Succeeding in this environment needs a different management paradigm from that developed for management in traditional project industries. The characteristics of a complex matrix organization include: multiple/competing lines of authority, virtual and partial/part time teams, divergent objectives, and many competing levels and types of authority. This paper describes the paradigm shift in management thinking needed to succeed in managing projects across this ‘zone’. To succeed, managers need to combine vigilance and agility to identify and capitalize on unexpected gains and deal with unexpected problems.

Prs: Controlling Agile. A review of the decisions, questions and options for effectively integrating project controls with an 'agile' product delivery methodology.

Prs: Governing Agile – the changing role of project controls in an ‘agile’ environment. The challenges of governing and managing an 'agile' environment are significant. This presentation suggests an appropriate framework for the overall governance of agile projects (including the role of a steering committee) and outline the controls framework needed to support both the management and the governance of the project.

Calculating status and completion

The core elements of an agile approach are the project team and stakeholders develop a backlog of work to be done to achieve the desired objective, and then at regular intervals the project team select the items to do next from the list. The underlying assumption is a committed and skilled team actively involved in the work are the best people to decide what should be done next, and the best way to do it. However this agility introduces a range of controls challenges, in particular assessing the current status from a time perspective, and calculating an expected completion date.

PP: Calculating Completion. Tools used for assessing status, and predicting the completion of projects include: Bar Charts, Burndown Charts, Kanban Boards, Velocity, CPM, EVM + ES, and Work Performance Management (WPM). This paper considers each of these options against a highly simplified project, with a focus on the subjective and objective information available from each tool and how they compare.

WPM works within than Agile paradigm to assess progress and predict completion based on comparing the work achieved to the work planned to be achieved up to a point in time. See more on Work Performance Management (WPM).

Work Performance ManagementThe Easy WPM Workbook, is a practical spreadsheet that performs the calculations needed to implement Work Performance Management (WPM) on agile projects to calculate the status and anticipated completion dates based on the work performed vs the amount of work planned to be achieved at a point in time. Any convenient metric can be used, ideally one that is already part of the project management systems such as story points, function points or development hours.

To download sample files and see how the tool works see Easy WPM Workbook 

Agile Resources

GAO Agile Assesment GuideGAO Agile Assessment Guide discusses best practices that can be used for Agile adoption, execution, and program monitoring and control. Use of these best practices should enable organizations to better transition to, and manage, their Agile programs.
Download the Guide.


Agile Alliance - the home of the 'Agile Manifesto' -

Best Management Practice products, UK Government (formally OGC, now Axelos) - the umbrella site dedicated to making access to information quick and easy: 
- PRINCE2 Agile - a complete agile project management solution:

Disciplined Agile (DA) tool kit from PMI -

SAFe Scaled Agile Framework a system for implementing Agile, Lean, and DevOps practices at scale -  

Agile Business Consortium - A not-for-profit organization, that pioneered Agile and has unrivaled expertise in the field:

Scrum AllianceⓇ - a nonprofit organization that is guiding individuals, leaders, and organizations with agile practices, principles, and values: 

SCRUMstudy - Global Accreditation Body for Scrum and Agile Certifications (owned by VMEdu):



Traditional Approaches to Development


The Waterfall model as developed by Winston W. Royce includes the option for iterative development. The waterfall model, requires the following phases to be followed in order:

  1. System and software requirements captured in a product requirements document
  2. Analysis of the requirements resulting in process models, database schema, and business rules
  3. Design of the software resulting in the software architecture
  4. The development, proving, and integration of software (coding)
  5. Testing, including the systematic discovery and debugging of defects
  6. Transition to operations including installation of the new program, migration of data to the new platform, support, and ongoing maintenance of the new system.

The waterfall model is based on the premise that the project should only move to a new phase when its preceding phase is reviewed and verified. However, waterfall can include slight or major variations on this process, including returning to the previous phase after flaws are found downstream, or returning all the way to the design phase if downstream phases identify major deficiencies.

Waterfall may be used in an 'iterative' development (ie, the phases are applied to each iteration), But the term 'iteration' may mean developing a program in sections, releasing one capability at a time; or it may mean an intention to develop and release a prototype followed by a minimum system followed by progressively more comprehensive systems. Care is needed to ensure everyone understands the project strategy.  Download our White Paper on Project Strategy.

Prs: The Effective Management of Time in Complex Projects. An ICT Perspective. The IT industry’s inability to effectively manage time has been widely documented. Other industries are no better, if the Burj Khalifa in Dubai had been built at the same speed as the Empire State Building (completed in 1931) it would have opened two years earlier! Research by the CIOB undertaken in 2007 found most complex/mega projects failed to adequately mange time, most finished late and the situation was getting worse over time. Interestingly, the degree of failure seems to be the same regardless of the size of the penalties imposed for late completion and regardless of the form of contract used. PPP, Alliance, Partnering, D&C, and traditional forms of contract all experienced similar trends and similar levels of failure.

What the CIOB research did uncover was the significant difference in performance between simple and complex projects and on complex projects, between those using effective time management compared to those that did not. The research found:

  • The outcome on simple projects was not influenced by the use, or non-use of time management; success and failure rates remained the same.
  • The outcome on complex projects (mega-projects) was directly influenced by the effective use of time management processes. The better the use, the better the outcome.
The CIOB has introduced a range of practical ideas to enhance the effective management of time in mega-projects which will be the focus of this paper: The need for effective planning ahead of scheduling and the different objective of these two processes. The need for on-going dynamic scheduling to manage time. Processes for proactively minimizing delays using schedule density. The need to contemporaneously assess the impact of delaying events in real time based on accurate and current schedules to allow effective mitigation. This paper identifies the key elements within the Guide that proactively contribute to the successful delivery of mega projects and relate these ideas to the practical management of Information technology projects..



Useful External Web-links & Resources

Australian Computer Society (ACS) - Computer industry professionals:

ISBGInternational Software Benchmarking Standards Group - The mission of the ISBSG is to improve the management of IT projects through the use of public repositories of software engineering knowledge and metrics:

PGCS For papers on Agile presented at the PGCS Annual Symposium see:


A course in a book

Work Performance Management

Risk management template

A course in a book

A course in a book

Work Performance Management

A course in a book

Work Performance Management

Work Performance Management

A course in a book

Work Performance Management