Goal management
Prototype of a Software Project Management Tool!
Goal management was developed as part of my masters thesis in Computer Science at the Technical University of Vienna, Austria.

In spite of years of experience in and research on software development, software development still is a troublesome and risky endeavor. In recent years managerial aspects of software development received more attention, while technical aspects remain important.

This thesis deals with some important aspects of managing software development projects and introduces a new software-tool to ease corresponding management. Specifically, it builds upon earlier research results that identified poor planning (i.e. estimation and scheduling) and failure to monitor and react to changes as belonging to the main causes of project failures.

The software intends to ease a number of tasks in this project planning, monitoring and adaptation process:
  • Workload estimation and scheduling: A team sets up a project by estimating the workload (not duration) of individual tasks; Tasks can be grouped to define goals and team members can be assigned to tasks. Based on estimates, priorities and team member availability, a scheduling engine creates project schedules; Only then are task durations and probable completion dates visible.
  • Automatic estimate and schedule refinement: During a project, progress information entered by team members is used to automatically refine estimates and schedules.
  • Monitoring: A metrics collection engine and a graphical interface were developed, allowing data analysis at all project levels and between different projects. The monitoring system can be used to determine and compare a projects status at different times, identify trends and implement an early warning system.

To asses the models usability, as test-cases, two complex real life projects were re-managed and the results compared to actual values. The same projects were then re-managed using commercial tools (MS-Project, Teamflow). The ease and support for project management by these three tools was then compared and showed that the new software delivered better results in these cases.

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