Virtual Project Management: Software Solutions for Today and the Future, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Virtual Project Management

Software Solutions for Today and the Future, 1st Edition

By Paul E. McMahon

CRC Press

319 pages | 40 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2000-10-25
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Description

Virtual Project Management: Software Solutions for Today and the Future explores the technical management issues involved in the revolutionary new way of building complex software intensive systems faster and cheaper by employing the power of distributed operations. The book examines the implementation issues that cut deep inside present day collocated engineering organizations and recommends practical and affordable actions to aid organizations seeking increased productivity through distributed operations.

The demand for integrated solutions constructed from a combination of existing and newly developed software increases daily. Many organizations find themselves with shortages of the critical skills necessary to compete in many of these newly created markets. Employing virtual collaborative development provides a dramatic increase in a company's opportunities to successfully compete. Virtual collaboration provides a broader skill and product knowledge base coupled with a deeper pool of personnel to potentially employ. It removes two of the major barriers - company affiliation and physical location.

Virtual Project Management: Software Solutions for Today and the Future focuses on critical characteristics underlying how work actually gets done in traditional collocated engineering environments. It examines the changes taking place on virtual projects through a series of anecdotes based on real project experiences. The book provides an 8 step practical and affordable plan that can be used as a framework in either setting up and executing a new virtual project, or in instituting improvements to a project that has drifted off course. Others have lived through the pain of learning lessons the hard way. You don't need to follow their path. The insights and solutions offered by Paul McMahon answer the questions virtual project leaders will be asking well into the 21st century.

Reviews

"…addresses one of the most challenging problems facing modern software development in an Internet world."

-Dr. Jeffrey S. Poulin, Chief Technology Officer, Atlas Commerce

"…hits a grand slam in Chapter Seven!"

-Bob Epps, Manager, Architecture Integration Technology Center, Lockheed Martin Management & Data Systems

"I got "hooked" and couldn't put it down…This book will guide managers to make collaboration-at-a-distance a far smoother, more reliable operation. It introduces just the right amount of rigor; it discusses methods for preventing things from falling through the cracks; it shows managers how to deal with the many very real human emotional reactions in working with collaborators (especially competitors) with whom communication is necessarily restricted; and it illuminates the strong role of informal communication."

-William S. Bennett, Independent Consultant, Author: "Visualizing Software: A Graphical Notation for Analysis, Design, and Discussion,"

"I would highly recommend that Engineering/Program Managers read the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section in Appendix J…This book will help you understand the inevitable problems and put you on track with effective techniques to create an efficient and successful collaborative team on day one of the contract; earlier if you implement the recommendations during the proposal phase."

-Bruce Crandall, Program and Technology Development Manager, TRW Corporation

"The cultural semantics in today's global economy is a big deal. The notion of using a common project memory (RFPM) makes a lot of sense to those of us that grew up in a culture that embraces collaboration."

-Dr. Frank Tsui, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Southern Polytechnic State University, Chief Technology Officer, River Logic, Inc.

"A timely answer to a pressing management dilemma - how to bring distributed critical skills together without collocation…accurately hits the "high nail" issues facing today's management challenge of collaborative development…excellent job in highlighting both the potential pitfalls as well as recommended formulas for success."

-Bob Wuestner, General Manager NLX Corporation

Table of Contents

Introduction

Why do many collaborative ventures fail?

Background

What do we mean by Virtual Collaboration?

Today's Virtual Collaborative project characteristics

Why should you care about Virtual Collaboration?

Why was this book written?

Specifically, what problems will this book help you solve?

A note about the recommendations in this book

What does the future hold?

An Overview and a Roadmap - For Busy Project Leaders

1. TRADITIONAL COLLOCATED ENGINEERING FROM THE INSIDE

1.1 HOW DOES AN ENGINEER BECOME EFFECTIVE AT HIS JOB?

1.2 THE ROLE OF INFORMAL COMMUNICATION

1.3 ORGANIZATIONAL SUBCULTURES

1.3.1 Engineering effectiveness and subcultures

1.4 ORGANIZATIONAL VARIATION

1.4.1 Large and Small Engineering Organizations

1.4.2 Systems and Software

1.5 ORGANIZATIONAL EVOLUTION

1.5.1 Push-Pull Organizational Tale

1.5.2 Common Key Characteristics of Successful Organizations

1.6 ORGANIZATIONAL EXPECTATIONS

1.7 FORMALITY AND INFORMALITY

1.8 PROCESS MATURITY

1.8.1 Is it easy to physically distribute a mature process?

1.8.2 What makes a mature process mature?

2. THE TALE OF TWO CULTURES (THE SCHIZOPHRENIC PROJECT)

2.1 THE TALE

2.1.1 Observations on the effect of personal experience

2.1.2 Culture, adversity and communication

2.1.3 Hindrances to effective virtual team communication

2.1.4 Why conflict resolution often fails on virtual projects

2.2 A FUNDAMENTAL DILEMMA FACING VIRTUAL PROJECT LEADERS

2.2.1 The schizophrenic project memory

2.2.2 The integrated project memory

2.3 THE ADJACENT CUBICLE HEAD POPPING (ACHP) TALE

2.4 ABOUT THE CREATIVE DESIGN PROCESS

2.4.1 Light bulbs in our heads

2.4.2 Relationship to past experience

2.4.3 Incubation and assimilation

2.4.4 Virtual projects and the creative process

2.5 COLLOCATION AT THE RIGHT TIME

2.6 AN IMPLEMENTATION OF A VIRTUAL CULTURE

2.7 CONCLUSION

3. REMOTE TASK MANAGEMENT: AM I DOING WHAT YOU THINK I'M DOING?

3.1 THE ARCHITECTURE TALE

3.1.1 Causes of task miscommunication

3.2 WHY ARCHITECTURE IS CRITICAL to Effective Remote Tasking

3.3 A VIEW OF ARCHITECTURE

3.4 EVOLUTION OF LOCAL MEANING OF TERMS & ITS RELATIONSHIP TO ORGANIZATIONAL RESPONSIBILITIES

3.5 RELATIONSHIP AMONG CRITICAL ISSUES, RISK AND PAST EXPERIENCE

3.6 USE ARCHITECTU RE TO AID TASK COMMUNICATION

3.7 The database process tale

3.8 FUNDAMENTALS, STRONGLY HELD BELIEFS, AND RISK

3.9 BACK TO OUR TALE

3.10 CONCLUSION

4. AN IMPLEMENTATION OF A VIRTUAL CULTURE: THE RAPID FILTERED PROJECT MEMORY (RFPM)

4.1 RFPM CONSTRUCTION AND MAINTENANCE GUIDANCE

4.2 WHY DO WE NEED INCREASED FORMALITY ON TASK ASSIGNMENT DEFINITIONS?

4.3 WHAT IS A CPDM AND HOW CAN IT HELP?

4.4 EXAMPLES OF VIRTUAL PROJECT PITFALL AVOIDANCE THROUGH THE USE OF A CPDM

4.5 CPDM BENEFIT 1-INTEGRATION OF SYSTEMS AND SOFTWARE

4.6 CPDM BENEFIT 2-FLEXIBILITY OF END-PRODUCT DELIVERABLES

4.7 Conclusion

5. TEAM COMMUNICATION: THE RULES OF THE GAME HAVE CHANGED

5.1 THE TEAM LOYALTY TALE

5.1.1 Tale observations

5.1.2 Categorizing team information

5.1.3 Team rule 1-Be true to your team

5.1.4 Virtual projects and multiple team allegiances

5.1.5 Are we asking too much of our remote teammates?

5.1.6 Back to our tale-the predicament

5.1.7 Self-directed teams, tiger teams, and control-oriented managers

5.1.8 The tiger team

5.1.9 An alternate approach

5.1.10 "Having a say differs from having a vote"

5.1.11 More on team loyalty

5.2 THE USE OF VIRTUAL COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES

5.2.1 Electronic mail

5.2.2 Teleconferencing

5.2.3 Small things and big things

5.3 THE RULES FOR EFFECTIVE VIRTUAL OPERATIONS

5.3.1 Recommended rules and maintenance of an RFPM

5.4 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

6. THE INTEGRATION SIDE: IT ISN'T A SEAMLESS WORLD JUST YET

6.1 THE DOCUMENT PRODUCTION DISASTER TALE

6.1.1 Stepping back-the good news

6.1.2 The not so good news

6.2 THE TALE OF "DOWN HERE, AND UP THERE"

6.2.1 The tale

6.2.2 The "lets use the most mature process available"

6.2.3 Observations on process

6.3 WORK SPLIT OPTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

6.3.1 Development phases

6.3.2 Architecture considerations (subsystems)

6.4 THE INTEGRATION DILEMMA

6.5 GLOBAL COMPONENT RECOMMENDATIONS

6.5.1 What is a global component?

6.5.2 Advantages of global components

6.5.3 Does the global component approach contradict the virtual concept?

6.5.4 Terminology clarification

6.5.5 Three key characteristics of the global component

6.6 ANALYSIS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

6.6.1 Tasking

6.6.2 Quality

6.6.3 Integration

6.7 CONCLUSION

7. EIGHT PRACTICAL AND AFFORDABLE STEPS TO SET UP AND MAINTAIN A SUCCESSFUL VIRTUAL PROJECT

7.1 ELEVEN VIRTUAL PITFALLS

7.2 INTRODUCTION TO THE EIGHT (8) STEP PLAN

7.2.1 How to use the material in this chapter

Section I - Project Creation

7.3 STEP 1-ESTABLISH THE HIGH LEVEL PROJECT ORGANIZATION

7.3.1 Assign team leaders

7.3.2 Develop charters with clearly defined responsibilities

7.3.3 Initiate RFPM

7.4 STEP 2-ESTABLISH WORK SPLIT

7.4.1 Establish approach

7.4.2 Establish initial system architecture

7.4.3 Establish CPDM-a bridge from architecture to subsystems

7.4.4 Define work split

7.4.5 Delaying work split definition for the wrong reasons

7.5 STEP 3-SYSTEM PLANNING

7.5.1 System build planning

7.5.2 Requirements allocation

7.5.3 Integration planning

7.6 STEP 4-SPECIAL TASKS-INFRASTRUCTURE AND PROJECT RULES

7.6.1 What is infrastructure and how do I determine my project needs

7.6.2 Project rules-communicating the lessons

7.7 STEP 5-ESTABLISH THE THIRD LEVEL OF THE ORGANIZATION

7.8 STEP 6-DETAILED PLANNING

7.8.1 Cultural differences in approaches to detailed planning

7.8.2 A closer look at three prerequisite tasks

7.8.3 First things first

Section II - Project Dynamic "testing"

7.9 STEP 7-TESTING THE CONCEPT OF OPERATION OF THE PROJECT ORGANIZATION

7.9.1 Task direction-when roving and hierarchical leaders collide

7.9.2 Task management-a strict versus integration approach

7.9.3 Cross-site or cross organizational interaction-using a checklist

7.9.4 Integrated engineering responsibilities-using a checklist

7.9.5 Customer communication-establishing a well-defined policy

Section III - Execution Phase Warning Signs

7.10 Step 8-Execution-with a focus on conflict management

7.10.1 The non-technical side of project execution

7.10.2 Two forms of conflict

7.10.3 A sign of healthy conflict

7.10.4 Key warning signs of destructive conflict

7.10.5 Preventative maintenance

7.10.6 Conclusion

8. Conclusion

8.1 THE VIRTUAL COMPANY

8.2 SUMMARIZING OUR APPROACH TO THE COLLABORATIVE CHALLENGE

8.3 A FINAL NOTE ON THE "INFORMAL" SIDE

8.4 VIRTUAL PROJECT STRATEGIES OF THE FUTURE

8.5 MAKING THE STRATEGY WORK

8.6 SUMMARIZING THE VIRTUAL CULTURE CONCEPT

8.7 SAMPLE PRODUCTS FROM A VIRTUAL CULTURE

8.8 THE PHILOSOPHY OF A VIRTUAL CULTURE

8.9 VIRTUAL CULTURES OF THE FUTURE

8.10 WHAT SHOULD YOU DO NOW?

8.10.1 New Projects

8.10.2 Existing Projects

8.11 THE VIRTUAL PROJECT MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK

8.12 HOW TO USE THE FRAMEWORK

APPENDIX A CPDM GUIDE

APPENDIX B DEFINITIONS

APPENDIX C TEMPLATES

APPENDIX D FORMS

APPENDIX E SAMPLE FORMS

APPENDIX F CRITERIA

Appendix G Warning signs

Appendix H Checklists

APPENDIX I RULES

APPENDIX J FAQS

Appendix K The "Big Picture" Views

Appendix L Synopsis of 34 Insights and 50 Solutions

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUS083000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Information Management
BUS101000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Project Management
COM032000
COMPUTERS / Information Technology