Software Project Management Tools

Need software project management tools for an information management project and want some practical suggestions to ensure rapid project delivery? Information management projects require the same set of tools that most other projects require with some specific exceptions. The following identifies some of the software project management tools I have used on projects together with some things you might want to consider early in the project. Project planning Project scheduling tools such as Microsoft Project or Omni Plan are needed and licenses are expensive. Consider…

  • Can you publish the project schedule, in pdf format, in a central repository, to minimize the number of copies needed; and
  • Can you use other tools like Microsoft Outlook or Ical to assign tasks and follow-up with team members?

Project reporting Many organizations have a link from the project schedule to a central time reporting system. The project plan is uploaded to the time reporting system and tasks are assigned to team members by the time reporting system. Some thoughts…

  • All team members will need to be assigned to your project in the time reporting tool;
  • Access request may be required;
  • You may need to be attentive to assigning project tasks as some systems will not allow team members to report time without assigned tasks;
  • Some contractor payments are tied to completion and approval of automated time reporting—this requires attention to the approval process to avoid delayed payments; and
  • Time reporting orientation might be a good topic for the project “kick-off” meeting.

Requirements management software project management tools Many organizations use a requirements management tool like IBM Rational RequisitePro. These tools are very powerful and offer many features that may not be required for your project. Consider…

  • An administrator may be required to tailor the tool for your use and to maintain user access (most team members will need read access);
  • Team orientation will be required and some one will need to prepare this (perhaps an external project team resource can help?);
  • How will requirements traceability be handled? (This should be tailored for your specific project);
  • What is the base-line process?
  • How to ensure requirements are not changed after base line.

If you don’t have a requirements management tool, you will need some method of creating the requirements and base-lining them. Consider posting a pdf version of the base-lined requirements in a team folder. Data modeling software project management tools Data modelers will need a data-modeling tool e.g. Oracle Designer, CA Allusion ERwin Data Modeler, or Sybase Power Designer, and perhaps access to a central repository. Consider…

  • Access request for the repository;
  • Licenses (these are expensive); and
  • Training, if team members are not familiar with the specific tool set.

Data Analysts will need some form of data flow diagram and data movement modeling tool like Microsoft Visio. Licenses may be required. Data profiling tools Data analysts will need a tool for data quality analysis and data profiling. Sometimes, the ETL tool can perform this task. Consider…

  • What tools will be used and who will use them?
  • Source system access request to conduct the data profiling (or make arrangements to get sample data moved to a location where your team has access); and
  • This is usually a “one-time” effort—can a shared license work?

Data movement tools You will need ETL tools and licenses for each development member. You will probably need to request access to the code repository. Testing tools Many organizations use a testing tool like IBM Rational ClearQuest or Mercury Test Director. These tools are very powerful and offer many features that may not be required by your project. Consider…

  • An administrator may be required to tailor the tool for your use and to maintain user access (most team members will need read access);
  • Training (basic training plus project specific training); and
  • If these tools can handle defect reporting.

Configuration management tools Does the organization use a software configuration management tool such as Serena ChangeMan or a configuration management database? Consider…

  • Access for appropriate development team members; and
  • Basic training.

Documentation management Many organizations use a common document management system such as Microsoft SharePoint. Consider…

  • Folder structure set-up (who will handle this?);
  • Access request for all team members;
  • A project team administrator; and
  • Can it be accessed off-site?

If you plan to use a shared folder for all documentation—Consider…

  • Folder structure;
  • Can it be accessed off-site?
  • How to “lock” documents after they are base-lined; and
  • How to avoid documentation proliferation.

Communications Many project teams today are geographically dispersed with some team members working remote. Email is not always the best means of communications and team members will need remote access to project resources. Consider…

  • Conference calling lines;
  • Instant messaging;
  • Collaborative desktop sharing software for presentations and deliverable review;
  • Firewall limitations that may prevent instant messaging and desktop sharing; and
  • Web-based services like Web Ex, or Adobe Acrobat that will work with your firewalls.

Summary… Project resources and software project management tools  are required to ensure successful information management projects. It is critical that these be identified early in the project management plan together with any training required. It’s a lot easier to get approval for software project management tools at the project planning stage than to have to justify expenses part way thru the project.

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