Integrated approach to progress control for global software implementation projects

Developing software in the context of projects is extremely difficult because of the corresponding abstractness and complexity. This difficulty, in spite of its history beginning in the 1960s of the 20th century, has lost none of its challenge. 

Even today, especially large-scale projects have an above-average frequency of failure. Beside the natural complexity due to the scale of the project that complicates both communication and the general overview, for large-scale projects the highly dynamic nature of the environment prevails. Continuous changes of customer demands are inevitable, especially due to the abstractness of software and its increasing tangibility as the project advances.

With the introduction of process models for complexity management, the development of “best practices” and the outsourcing of complex areas to specialized service providers (outsourcing/offshore development), a large step towards the accomplishment of these problems was taken. Yet another important module for the reduction of complexity is the progress control that, depending on the particular stakeholder, keeps ready at one glance appropriate information for project control and project administration in the so-called Project Cockpit (also: Software Project Control Center, Project Dashboard). This Project Cockpit can also be used for the detailed analysis of variations and causes. The evaluations that are made available through this process are the basis for decision making and are part of all status reports. Having been established as an early-warning-system, the progress control points to current variations, or, if it is applied as a prognosis tool, it offers forecasts of the future projects sections.

Since in a project, especially in the case of the widely spread V-model, the different stages and the delivery items  which were meanwhile created are built upon one another, it is essential for a progress control to integrate these into a model and to compare them. Therefore it is preferential to ensure the completeness of the requirements even at later stages of the project, as well as to be able to preserve the level of transparency of the project and its corresponding delivery items . Furthermore it is necessary to allow for the increasing globalization by means of analyzing outsourced software development as well as its corresponding difficulties in communication and knowledge transfer. Also, in order to be able to make a reliable statement concerning the status quo of the project, it is essential to consider its destination factors such as performance, time and costs in an integrated way in order to come up to the goal that is pursued by project management: meeting the customer’s demands.

Such an integrated concept that can furthermore be established within an ordinary project system landscape with conventional limitations to both time and budget during the period of the project is neither focused by local literature nor by scientific research. The scientific paper titled “Integrated approach to progress control for global software implementation projects” aims to close this gap.