Whether you have decided to work on a small cycle project with modest business goals or you have your eye on a large, multi-departmental initiative, understanding the process before-hand is the key. Every project has fundamental objectives at different stages of the project which need to be addressed simultaneously. That can be a beginning, in the middle, or at the end, following the right path from initiation to completion is necessary. When you have a complete understanding of the right set of tools, it becomes relatively easy to keep the project organized and on track.

Software process

Software methodologies include the set of all related activities and task which leads to the production of software. That process can be of two types. Making a completely new software from scratch or modifying and updating an already existing system for better results.

Just like any other project, there are few steps which counts as the baseline for production of every software and every developer has that basic graph in mind while starting working.

Any software process must include the following four main activities:

1- Software specification:

In the very beginning, the main functionalities along with the limitations of the software are defined in detail. Here the demands and expectations are expressed to help the developers to have a clear mind on their needs.

2- Software design and implementation:

After the defining phase is over, the next step is to design and program the software. Once the software is created, implementation happens afterward.

3- Software verification and validation:

Moving forward, the main step is about to start where the software goes through testing in order to confirm if it is according to the needs and standards of customers.

4- Software evolution

After being verified, the software has to meet the market standard and in order to make a real profit, it is very much compulsory. The software is later on modified to meet requirements and standards later on.


The software developing process does not such consist of these four steps, there are also supporting activities which help the procedure. In addition to the main 4 steps, there are quality assurance, project management, user experience, configuration, and change management.

These additional set of activities aim to improve the main procedure.

And many new techniques and tools are used to produce the best and standardized results.

The software process is not everybody’s cup of tea, it is a complex process. Because it is highly depended on the decision making. As a result, there is no one universally accepted ideal process.

Most of the organizations have developed their own software process, which works according to their own needs and requirements.

Sub-division of the process

The process also includes the process described in addition to the activities which are a part of it.

Products:

In the product, the outcome of the whole procedure is in focus. For example, the outcome of architectural design would be a model for the software architecture and with the advancement in technology; everything is transferred from physical form to software.

Roles:

The division of responsibility of every agent which is involved in the process is defined in this stage. For example, the manager of project, programmer, coder or graphics designer, all of these responsibilities is assigned according to the aptitude.

Pre and post-condition

Furthermore, the main conditions on which the whole process is standing need to remain exactly true before and after the activity. For example, the preconditions of a design can be the requirements approved by the customers, the sum of their needs. While the post-condition is the practical diagram describing the needs, just according to customer’s demands.

Project management life cycle

Project management is a universal practice which includes a set of developed techniques used for planning, estimating, and controlling activities. The project management life cycle illustrates high-level processes to deliver successful projects, just according to the demands of clients. Companies of America have faced losing up to $122 million with an investment of every $1 billion. As a result of terrible project management.

But according to Project Management Institute Research, wasted resources can be prevented with effective project management and by using the right set of tools. Most noteworthy, 57% of the projects turn out to complete failure just because of communication breakdown.

Phases of the project management life cycle

The project management life cycle is usually divided into four main phases: initiation, planning, execution, and closure. We will look at each one of them.

In these phases, you come up with the idea for a project, define its goals, plan for execution and try to make the whole road map to guide it to completion.

Although in some methodologies, there is a fifth phase, i.e., controlling or monitoring.

Initiation:

Purpose, need, problem or opportunity needs to be identified firstly. In the initiation phase, the main objectives and brainstorm ways that are going to help your team in solving the problem later is acknowledged. Major Deliverables of the project have to be discussed at this point as well. And determining the nature of the project, i.e, feasible or impossible needs to be done here.

Project management steps for the initiation phase

Following are the few steps.

Undertaking a possibility study

Identifying the main purpose of the project along with the possible outcome. So would there be any problem under process? Will a solution be produced by the end of it?

Looking for scope: measuring the depth and the breadth of the project in the real world comes in this category

Defining deliverable

Defining the purpose of your services or explaining the product which will be produced through this process is very crucial to discuss at this point.

Identifying project stakeholders

Figuring out your target users at the start is very convenient as it will help in getting to know who the project affects and what their need can be.

Developing a business case

Comparing the potential costs and benefits before and after the process will help in determining if it moves forward or backward.

Statement of work

It defines the basic road map which developers are going to use throughout the procedure.

Planning:

After the completion of the initiation phase, you move into the planning phase. In this phase, the whole project is divided into smaller projects and multiple teams are formed as the result. Each team is assigned some task with an achievable time frame. And to take things in a smooth flow, a schedule is prepared for keeping a track on completion of assignments.

Smaller goals have a high potential for success. Planning is the phase where the whole team comes in and a kickoff meeting happens. It is very important to make as crystal as clear for the team members so that they can get to work in the next phase.

Project management steps for the planning phase

Few steps are given below:

Creating a project plan

it is basically the mapping stage where you just have to identify the project timeline, including the phases of the project. The tasks which need to be performed is also analyzed in this stage.

Creating workflow documents

Making graphs or diagrams of the project to have a visual representation is the main purpose of this phase.

Estimating the budget

Making a rough calculation of how much is going to spend and what would be the possible maximum return of investment in the shape of profit.

Gathering resources

Targeting the right people and building your functional team with a possible best set of talent. And providing the team with essential tools to complete their tasks effectively.

Predicting possible risks: anticipating issues that may cause loss to the quality or timeline of your project beforehand will be very helpful.

Execution:

Moving forward, after getting your project proposal, developing a plan, and building a compatible team. It is the time to get in the ground and do the practical work. This phase is going to turn your plan and the whole discussion into action. In this phase of the project management life cycle, it is the duty of the manager of the project to keep a strong eye on every happening. Like keeping work on the track, organizing the team members, managing timelines and making sure everything is happening according to the original plan.

Project management step for the execution phase

Steps for execution may include the following:

Creating the task and organizing workflow

Assigning the right kind of task to the right member with right aptitude takes half of the worry away. And keeping a track that no member is overloaded with work is also very important.

Briefing team members on task

Taking your whole team with is very integral. Explaining the task to the team members and providing proper guidance on how that should be completed is a major responsibility. And organizing process-related training for your team if there is a requirement of it also comes in duties of project manager.

Communication

it is the key to the whole procedure. Communicating with the team members, your clients, and the higher authorities is very much significant. And providing updates to project stakeholders at all levels also fall in this category.

Monitoring

Keeping a check on the quality of the work is the main focus here. It is the duty of the project manager to make ensure that every member of time is giving his 100% and keeping the quality to set standards.

Managing budget

Not just the quality of the work matters but the resources are also very much important. Monitoring that the project is on track in terms of assets and resources is a crucial part of this phase.

Closure:

Furthermore, the closure phase starts. In the project management life cycle, the closure phase comes with the final deliverable, release project resources, and determining the success of the project. After completion of a major project, it is the duty of the project manager to evaluate things and see what did and did not work out in the project.

Project management steps for the closure phase

These are the steps for the closure phase:

Analyzing project performance

Basically, evaluation is supposed to be done in this phase of the whole project. Determining whether the set goals are achieved and if yes, then to what extent. Checking if all tasks are completed on time and on assigned budget. And examining if the initial problem is solved.

Analyzing team performance

Investigating if all the members completed their assigned tasks on assigned time. And check whether they met their goals keeping the quality of work high.

Documenting project closure

Checking for loose ends in the project before handing it over to the clients. And also reporting to the key stakeholders comes at this phase of the project management life cycle.

Conducting post-implementation reviews

it is the step where the final analysis happens. And also note the new lessons down for coming similar project in the future.

Accounting:

Checking the amount used and unused money from the project. In case of excess money left, assigning it to some future project.
The project is done by now, either it was a complete success or your team failed in reaching the heights, no matter what the outcome is. You have learned so much, which will be so helpful for the future projects you are going to work on. You will be ready to implement all the lessons in the coming projects.

Project management life cycle or Process models in software engineering

Finding the right and suitable tool according to your requirements can make any difficult project easier. Selecting one model out of many is a little tricky. But if you pay close attention to project management life cycle models advantages and disadvantages, half of your stress will fade away. Mapping out your project beforehand and then looking for some process models of software engineering to assist you is the correct approach.

Which life cycle will work best for you? This is an important strategic question. Because selecting the wrong model could lead to disastrous results. Project life cycle models are not interchangeable.

So, it is way smart to first lay out your risks and problems which your project might face at any point of the procedure and then selecting a process model that reduces those risks. On the other hand, think about delayed deliveries, unhappy clients, project overruns, and canceled projects. Nobody is looking forward to such a disaster.

So here is a comparison of most of the project management life cycle models and explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of process models in software engineering.

Waterfall model:

This is the most traditional approach to software development. In fact, when it came out in 1998, the US Department of Defense was actively promoting the use of this method in all the projects. Traditional project management includes a set of developed techniques used for planning, estimating, and controlling activities.

The main aim of this model is to reach the goals in assigned time, assigned budget, and in accordance with specifications. Traditional project management basically uses on projects where activities are complete in a sequence and there are very fewer chances of changes.
The concept of traditional project management is based on predictable experience and predictable tools. Each project has to follow the same cycle assigned.

The waterfall defines as a sequential development model with clear deliverable for every phase to come. This is the classical system development model. It consists of discontinuous phases:

  • Concept
  • Requirements
  • Architectural design
  • Coding and development
  • Testing and implementation

Advantages and disadvantages of traditional project management

Here is an overview of some of the advantages and disadvantages of traditional project management or the waterfall model.

Advantages:

  • Simple to use and as well as easy to understand
  • Easily manageable and every phase has a defined result and process review so there is no overlapping
  • Development stages go one by one
  • Ideal for small and middle-sized projects
  • Perfect for those projects where requirements are clear and not equivocal.
  • Easy to determine the key points in the development cycle
  • Easy to prioritize tasks

Disadvantages:

  • The works end only after the completion of the last stage.
  • High risks and uncertainty
  • Not the best choice for complex projects
  • Not ideal for object-oriented projects
  • Out of place for long-term projects
  • The progress is hard to measure on every stage while it is still in progress
  • Integration happens at the end of the project only
  • Lack of feedback process at every stage which doe not give the option of identifying the problem in advance.

These are some highlights which explain the advantages and disadvantages of the traditional project management approach.

Iterative model:

Iterative development model aims to build the whole software in terms of small portions of all the features. The software builds while keeping the initial scope in mind and chunks release quickly to get customer feedback instantly. An early version of the original project with limited features release beforehand. In order to create market value and get customer feedback. In each phase, a portion of the system delivers, passing through requirements until the deployment.

The phases of iterative development are:

  • Inception
  • Elaboration
  • Construction
  • Transition

Advantages and disadvantages of the iterative model

Here are some main points which will draw attention to the advantages and disadvantages of this process model in software engineering:

Advantages:

  • Some functions can be easily and quickly develop at the very beginning.
  • A parallel development applies.
  • Progress is easily measurable at any point
  • Risks are easily controllable in this approach
  • Problems define within one iteration will not be in the next sprints
  • Flexibility is always an option and changes can be on the table in the requirements any time.

Disadvantages:

  • More expensive than the traditional model needs more resources than the waterfall model.
  • Constant management requires with strike surveillance.
  • Issues can occur during the designing stage as all the aspects are not on paper after the short planning stage.
  • Bad choice for a small scale project
  • The whole process gets too hectic sometimes and difficult to manage.
  • Sometimes the risks are not completely visible even at the final stage of the project.
  • Highly qualified specialties require for proper functioning.

These are some main points which explain the project management life cycle model’s advantages and disadvantages.

Spiral model:

This process model of software engineering is a risk-reduction base model. It breaks the complete software project into mini projects like an iterative model. Each mini model has one or more major risks to handle. For projects with risky elements, it is beneficial to run a series of risk-reduction iteration beforehand.

Spiral iterations involve six main steps:

  • Determining objectives
  • Identifying and resolving risks
  • Evaluating alternatives
  • Developing the deliverers and verifying for every iteration.
  • Plan the next iteration.
  • Commit to an approach for the next iteration.

Advantages and disadvantage of spiral model

Just like any other approach, this process model also has some advantages and disadvantages which come it different and unique for special projects.

Advantages:

  • Risk concentration is high because of the small divisions of the project.
  • The whole development process is accurate yet scalable to the changes.
  • The ease of making changes helps in adding new functionality even at the late stages of the procedure.
  • Feedback is fast, sooner users can point out the flaws.

Disadvantages:

  • It is relatively very expensive.
  • Highly-skilled professionals require to make the process go smoothly.
  • Can be a wrong choice for small projects
  • Excessive documentation requires to cover all the changes simultaneously.

An Agile project management model

Agile methodologies introduce as the result of the needs of software development applications. It accommodates the fast-paced evolution of the internet. Agile submit the deliverable in stages. The main characteristics which make agile standout are the delivery time, which is in matters of weeks. Agile also covers the concepts of collaboration, documentation, and others. XP and Scrum are two of the practical uses of the agile model.

Advantages and disadvantages of Agile model:

Here are few points describing the advantages and disadvantages of the Agile process model in software engineering:

Advantages:

  • Focus on competitiveness
  • Correction of functional requirements addition in the development process.
  • One big project divides into short iterations
  • Risks are minimizes
  • Flexibility for changes at any time of the process
  • Fast release of the first version.

Disadvantages:

  • Difficulty in measuring the final costs because of constant changes
  • Requires highly-skilled professionals and client-oriented people on the team
  • New changes can destroy the already developed structure
  • Expected time increases because of constant changes from the client.
  • These few points make the agile to have a separate identity in the field of software development.

Final thoughts:

With the evolution in the world of the internet, everything needs to create a presence on it, in order to make a mark in the present world. Over the decades, different models are developed with had the specifications to complete the need of the hour. There is no only one suitable model for all the projects.

All the models available in the market have their merits and demerits and it’s the job of the developer to decide according to his requirements.

Many companies around the globe use Agile and still, it is not universal. Because of its customers’ unpreparedness to scale the budget concept.

Although models often cross in the solutions and particularly look similar too. So, it solely depends on the developer to find the exact one according to his demands.