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CS615 Software Project Management Assignment No. 1 Fall 2012 Solution

Problem Statement: Online Library Management System

 Description:

Borrowing books, returning books or viewing the available books at the library of ABC University Computer Science Department is currently done manually. The student has to go to the Library and check the available books at the Library and borrow the books only if the book is available. Then the librarian makes manual entry on the Library card issued to the student and allows the member to check out the book. The searching, booking and maintaining the records become difficult due to lack of a database.

This project aims to develop an Online Library Management System for ABC University Computer Science Department. This system would be used by students and faculty members for checking the availability of the books and borrowing the books. It will also be used by the librarian to update the databases. The proposed system focuses on providing the capabilities and facilities provided by a real library.

Considering the above scenario,

Question 1)
a) Scope, Time and Cost are three major constraints for almost all kind of Software projects. In the context of the above scenario discuss the role of these Constraints where the project needs to deliver on fixed time frame? Marks: 8

Solution:

Question No 1

Project Management – Scope, Cost, Time

The Project Management Triangle
Time – This refers to the actual time required to produce a deliverable. Which in this case, would be the end result of the project. Naturally, the amount of time required to produce the deliverable will be directly related to the amount of requirements that are part of the end result (scope) along with the amount of resources allocated to the project (cost).

Cost – This is the estimation of the amount of money that will be required to complete the project. Cost itself encompasses various things, such as: resources, labor rates for contractors, risk estimates, bills of materials, et cetera. All aspects of the project that have a monetary component are made part of the overall cost structure.

Scope – These are the functional elements that, when completed, make up the end deliverable for the project. The scope itself is generally identified up front so as to give the project the best chance of success. (Although scope can potentially change during the project life-cycle, a concept known as ‘scope creep’) Note that the common success measure for the scope aspect of a project is its inherent quality upon delivery.

Managing Scope:

Scope refers to the quality and quantity of project deliverables specific to a particular project. Scope, unfortunately, has a tendency to increase as a project progresses. This can be due to a number of factors. Often as the project progresses it becomes more clearly defined and we realize the actual requirements as opposed to the perceived requirements we based our estimation on. Sometimes people, both on the customer and vendor sides, can get caught in the trap of ‘wouldn’t it be good if it could do…..’. So we need to be constantly mindful of our scope and stick to it. Adding scope means increased cost in terms of project budget and possibly project time, so project managers need be on top of scope issues:

> Ensure you have formal, written, agreement on the scope of the project – if the scope is ‘fuzzy’ you’ll get stuck in issues of what is in scope and what is out of scope. It helps when you can clearly see that a proposed item is a variation from what is document.

> Recognize the scope creep – know your specification/requirements. Recognize a variation to the agreed document and highlight it as a project issue.

> Assess the Impact and determine the options. Assess the time and cost impact of the increase in scope and present this to whomever you need in order to get a decision. Depending upon the level of autonomy the project manager has within the project you may be able to make decisions upon the outcome yourself. Otherwise present the options to the decision makers in a succinct manner to enable them to make an informed decision.

> Revise the Plan – depending upon the outcome of your discussions you may need to: Remove other functions to accommodate, increase time, increase the resourcing (and associated costs), increase the material costs to accommodate. Whatever your outcome, document it and make sure everyone is clear of the impacts on the project. Revise your plan to reflect the changes.

Managing Cost and Time

The following tips relate to both cost and time:

> Careful estimation – being able to estimate against clearly defined scope is the best way to go here, but we all know, that this is often not the reality. Fixed price, up front quoting can make this very difficult and we often have to work with what we have at the time. Use you and your team’s knowledge of how long a task takes, refer to past projects. Know that you will most likely underestimate, so don’t base everything on best case scenario, give yourself a little breathing room.

> Contingency time planning – be mindful of applying an adequate time contingency. This contingency should be based upon the level of detail of scope you have to work with, your knowledge of your organization and it’s current level of resourcing, the size of the project and external factors that may impact upon the project, such as dependencies on other projects. Remember to factor in adequate review and approval times and keep in mind the more people involved in review and approval, the longer it takes.

> Track your project – know when your project is heading outside of your acceptable parameters so that you can quickly take action. The Project Plan is your key planning, tracking and managing tool throughout the project so make sure you look at it regularly and update it to reflect what is actually occurring.

Question No. 2

a) Define the scope baseline for the above Scenario. Marks: 8
b) Changes are inevitable to the every software project, to handle these changes there are two different ways, changes at the beginning, at middle and at end or low, medium and high. In context of above scenario which of the given approach you will prefer. Justify your answer with solid argument(s). Marks: 4

Scope Baseline

The scope baseline is “the approved detailed project scope statement and its associated WBS” (PMBOK, 2004). The detailed project scope statement describes “the project’s deliverables and the work required to create those deliverables” (PMBOK, 2004, chap. 5.2.3.1). Using the scope statement, the project team creates a list of the deliverables they will need to produce in order to achieve the project objectives. The deliverables are broken down into sub-deliverables, and eventually into work packages that the team will execute. Without a scope statement, a project team can not determine the work that is to be done.

At a high-level, included in the software distribution upgrade project scope is the training, design, testing, and deployment of upgrades to all existing system servers and client software in the United States. The scope also includes deployment to existing servers at international locations. However, until a detailed technical analysis of the international location servers is conducted, the project team will not know if the servers are sufficient to host the system deployment software.

Changes to the project scope, like the need to upgrade or replace servers, could impact the project baseline. If servers are identified for upgrade or replacement, the project team will need to add additional tasks to the work breakdown structure.

The addition of tasks could affect the project schedule by pushing out the completion date. The cost of adding new servers might increase the funding needed for project completion, impacting the cost baseline.

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