Quality Assurance and Project Management

Mar 11 2009   10:15AM GMT

6 mandates for Supplier Organization on Software Project Ownership

Jaideep Khanduja Jaideep Khanduja Profile: Jaideep Khanduja

Ownership is a big issue in a software project. Customer organization assumes that since they are spending money, it is the sole responsibility of supplying organization to make the project a success. Vendor organization on the other hand assumes otherwise. Who is right? I think both are wrong at their ends. A Project can never become a success while the two agencies involved act as separate islands. Both have to take the equal ownership to make it a success.

The six important mandates that a vendor organization should follow in that regards can be listed as below:
1. Involvement of top management is mandatory: Involvement of top management of the organization engaged in development of software product for an external customer has to be involved in the complete project lifecycle to make it a success. This does not mean a day-to-day involvement in monitoring the progress but there should be some metrics to monitor the overall progress at any moment of time. Another aspect is involvement of top management gives a serious impact on the progress of the project.

2. A dedicated project manager should be nominated for the complete project lifecycle: Right at the Project Initiation phase, a dedicated project manager needs to be assigned for the project. The selection of project manager should be very carefully done, keeping in mind that not only he should be expert in managing a project but he should have ample business knowledge also related to the project he is being assigned to manage.

3. Role of project manager and team has to be well defined at the start of a project: The roles and responsibilities are important to be defined well in advance to clear any ambiguities and to smoothen the progress path.

4. The project manager will act as a consultant to the customer regarding project plan and its adherence: It is the sole responsibility of customer project manager (and in turn their top management) regarding availability of customer project manager and key users in various stages of the project as agreed upon. Project Manager and the supplying organization have to act as a consultant. The responsibility to gear up the progress falls on the customer team. Vendor team can help them in support and educate them on how to achieve it.

5. The management has to ensure that the project manager and the team chosen for the customization/ development have to have enough business knowledge (of their respective domain) apart from technical skills: As mentioned above regarding the project manager, the same holds truth for developers, and testers too. Without reasonable business knowledge, even the expert developers and testers will not able to do the full justification to the product being built/ developed.

6. Project Manager has to ensure during the project lifecycle that the person who is signing off the requirements, UAT, and other stages from customer end is authorized person from customer management to do so: Many a times it happens that in a very busy scenario or with some other top priorities in hand, the customer management instead of releasing appropriate person for the relevant job, ask some junior person to do so which creates lot of issues.

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