Author : DAOUDI Samir | Context : MSc Software Engineering – IT Project Management

Numerous IT projects fail for different reasons. It is difficult to point one specific part of the project as the common main reason for failing; Some projects fail due to unclear and inexact SOW, others fail because the project managers have misestimated the time and budget required for the project…etc. (Oman.et.al, 1997). So different factors and risks might alter and influence the project; sometimes these risks can have a dramatically impact on the project. The project managers are fully aware about these risks, this is the reason why in all project a risks analysis is conducted. This phase of the project consist in the analysis of possible situations that might influence negatively the project and try to identify any possible mitigation to avoid these risks. Even, if the risks analysis is a good approach that can help companies avoiding many known risks, however continuous controls over the project are also mandatory.

Controls are used to check if really we are doing what we have planned, expected and promised to do in the project? These controls are really important to avoid any conflicts and issues with customers and to avoid any issues that might lead the entire project to the failing.
The controls are conducted in general internally and based on metrics; the Metrics are what we need to control or measure and this data is generally compared to some baselines that have been collected from previous experiences. Metrics can also help in adjusting the baselines as new elements are added to the project and might update these baselines (Goodman, 2004).

An example of metrics in a software development project is IHM satisfactory. This metric can be used to see how satisfied can be the end users with the software interface (Oman.et.al, 1997); and how easy is it to interact with. The interface of any software solution is really important, and we should not only take into consideration the developers point of view as they made that, so certainly they can see some features and functionalities easy to perform and accessible. However, if we conduct a set of tests with end user and check how they feel when they start interacting with the solution, things can be really different. The power of software does not only reside in its ability to perform the required tasks, but also how easy and intuitive can any end-user interact with the software. Some surveys might be conducted during the development of a software-solution to check the feedback of the end users when they

I had a personal experience with IHM satisfactory; I was involved in a development project for a specific ERP two years ago. And we’ve developed a very complex and powerful ERP software; We were about 30 members in the project and we all worked hard to provide the customer with the required ERP in respect with the schedule. All the tests were very good and the product did what was expected; however, we faced a very big issue which costs us too much efforts and additional budget, it was the software’s interface that was very complicate and it was really painful to browse the different menus to go to the required functions. After this experience; the project manager and senior management have decided to include in the future projects the IHM satisfactory survey, which was simply a set of tests and questions to determine how easy and simple the interface can be without any training.

The measure was numeric value in the interval of 1 to 10 that should be conducted at different stages of the project. It helps not only the developers to make things easier, but also it was a sort of progressive introduction of the software to the users. We avoided the surprising effects and get sure that the end users participate in the design of their software’s interface.

It is important to have a set of metrics to control the project and these metrics should be reviewed and compared at different stages of the project (Goodman, 2004).

References

– Paul Goodman (2004). Software Metrics: Best Practices for Successful It Management. ISBN: 1-931332-26-6.

– Paul Oman, Shari Lawrence Pfleeger (1997). Applying Software Metrics. ISBN: 0-8186-7645-0.

Originally posted 2013-10-06 18:03:14.

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