Software Project Management
Here is some interesting stuff to check out from a mailing list I'm on (for ex-Sceint folks). PMI courses are offered at St. Ed's in Austin and I've seriously considered taking them and going for certification (which requires 3000+ hours of PM experience.... That'd be the hold-up.)
Subject: Complied responses - Software development project manager resources?
Thanks to the many PMs who responded. I received six responses and as many requests to forward the responses, so I've decided to post them back to the list.
=== (1) ===
Anything by Ed DeMarco, but specifically "The Mythical Man-Month" and "Peopleware"
=== (2) ===
Tac -- the critical thing is to get the team working as a team -- clear roles and responsibilities, and clear communications across the team are critical. You need to have a very clear grip on scope and quality management too.
None of this is rocket science, but your efforts will be pulled in many directions, and you have to encourage the team to share the responsibility for delivery -- as teamwork is so important, focus on that first. I strongly recommend you get the book Peopleware by de Marco and Lister, as it focuses precisely on this area -- it is the short and readable, and the standard text on teamwork
=== (3) ===
There are numerous courses, etc. However, if you want to get up to speed quickly I can recommend two books. "Software Project Survival Guide" - Steve McConnell (Microsoft Press) (Can be obtained from Amazon, that's where I got mine anyway!)
"The Complete Idiots Guide to Project Management" - Sunny & Kim Baker (Alpha
Books) (Sounds daft but this book explains really clearly and as it says on the cover is idiot proof! Very useful to cover the bases quickly)
There are other books going into specific methodologies, etc, but these are the two I recommend to new PMs to get going.
=== (4) ===
This book is a great way of familiarising yourself with some of the team process/interaction failings that can lead projects to fail.
=== (5) ===
I would go the PMI route (project management institute). Though you won¹t have the experience to qualify for their exam (they require 3000+ hours of PM work), the prep materials for the exam will give you a foundation in PM principles, and will enable you to produce the kind of results/reporting expected from a seasoned PM. The Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) is considered by PMI to be the bible on PM practice, but you will find it somewhat dry. Software development is one of the project types discussed in PMBOK, but in no great detail. When I took the exam I used the PMBOK as a reference and supplemented it with ³Preparing for the Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification Exam² by Michael Newell, which converts the PMBOK into something digestible, and includes sections to test your knowledge ($20 from Amazon). If you add maybe the ³fast forward MBA in Project Management², you will have the basics of project management.
The next thing you will need is a second string to your bow, especially if software development is your primary project type where many projects are required in a shorter timeframe than you would like. In such circumstance the traditional approach to PM, often called the waterfall approach, lacks flexibility. For instance you might hear people talking about RAD, or other fast attack approaches to PM to cope with the special problems of SW dev. My preference is Dynamic System Development Methodology (DSDM). DSDM is more popular in Europe than in the US, but you should be able to find materials on both sides of the pond. I did most of my DSDM learning with Cap Gemini using tailored materials, so not sure what books to recommend.
If you have the time and the money, you could do a PMI approved crash course and within a week have a strong foundation in project management. Another way to expand your knowledge, if you decide you like the idea of the PM role, is to become a member of the PMI, which provides a monthly magazine, a quarterly journal, and you can become a local chapter member. As a chapter member you can attend meetings and mix it up with all those fun PMI folks. Furthermore, if your chapter is good, it gives you a chance to ask all the dumb questions you wished you could ask someone in a work environment.
I know it sounds trite, but mastering project management software, such as MS Project, is an enormous help. Report generation becomes a breeze, and you can get down to the more important (and fun) aspects of being a PM. Once you have the basic principles of PM under your belt, start looking for texts on managing teams, managing people, motivation, etc. As the PM you are put in an accelerated position of management; where a normal manager might have a year to work our the kinks in a team, a PM might only have the first few weeks of a three month project to achieve a similar level of harmony and cohesion.
=== (6) ===
You may want to look into PMI cert (and there is a junior no years experience pmi cert as well). if anything it will help you build your tool chest to be prepared with. and as past managers have told me, it will all come with experience and developing your own style for managment and Communication.
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