February 08, 2019

Software Project Management - Comprehensive Paper Solution

Note: This is just a reference paper which you can go through,  we are facing some issue with the website. Thanks for sharing some answer key with us, let us know if you have more answer keys so we can share with others too.
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Question:
1. Pick the odd one out and say why?:
a. WBS
b. Gantt chart
c. Prototype
d. Slip Chart
e. Time chart

Answer: c. Other four relates to methods of project scheduling.

Question: How do you create agile processes to manage unpredictability?

Answer:  Software increments must be delivered in short time periods and Software processes must adapt to changes incrementally

Question: Which of the following does not take account of the dependencies between activities? 
a. Activity network  
b. Resource histogram 
c. Work breakdown structure   
d. Gantt chart

Answer: WBS, rest of the activities involve multiple activities linkages.

Question:  Based on what SDLC deliverable, acceptance criteria for a project be derived and why and also give one example of NFR acceptance criteria.

Answer: The acceptance criteria should be derived from the Requirements Specification, which is where the users’ stated needs are documented. Eample, ‘a response time of less than 2 seconds for 90% of transactions’ is a lot more precise than ‘a fast response time’.

Question:  Explain the difference between effort and elapsed time. What is the significance of this difference for project planning purposes?

Answer: Effort is the total volume of work involved in a task and is best thought of as how long it would take to accomplish if one person were assigned to it.  Elapsed time, on the other hand, is how long the task will take from start to finish and this will depend on the effort involved, how many people are assigned to the task and what delays or external dependencies are involved.


Question:  Compute the function point value, corresponding effort (state your assumption) and the Minimum time to develop for that effort for a project with the following information domain characteristics.
Number of user inputs.                 - 32
Number of user outputs.              - 60
Number of user inquiries.             - 24
Number of Files.                              - 8
Number of external interfaces.   - 2
Assume that all complexity adjustment values are average.                                        Marks  10

Answer: ( 4+2+4)
For Average adjustment values,               
32 X 4 = 128
60 X 5 = 300
24 X 4 = 96
8 X 10 = 80
2 X 7 = 14
So, Count Total is equal to 618.
FP = Count Total X [0.65 + 0.01 X Summation (Fi)]
FP = 618 X [0.65 + (0.01 X 30)] = 587.10.

Effort:  assumption : 1FP/person/day or any similar no. = 587.10X1= 587 persondays. (persondays is important)
Duration: use the formula :  2.5*(Effort)exponent   Exponent can be :0.32,0.35,0.38

Question: Read the following project scenario and suggest your best approach by precisely answering the questions (make your own assumptions and state them clearly)
You are currently the Project Manager (PM) for the first development project of EuroShell—the prestigious customer who has recently signed an MoU with your company—XcelPro--for a multi-million-dollar business over the next 5 years. The project spans a period of 9 months and it involves several new technologies/tools. In addition, the customer keeps changing the requirements at an average rate of 1-2 change-requests (CR) per month. You are asked to send regular weekly status reports to the customer’s PM. The customer has not raised any major issue (nor responded to your regular status reports) till the final product is delivered for acceptance testing (UAT) during which your Delivery Head (your boss) received a major escalation (mail) from the customer (with a copy to XcelPro’s CEO) citing various defects observed and in turn seriously doubting XcelPro’s capability to develop and deliver software product.


Q1) You are asked to prepare a report/PPT as response to the escalation mail by holding a meeting via video conference call with customer.  Who are all the people to be involved in the meeting? What are agenda/items in your report/PPT? What are your recommended methods/techniques for presentation of data/issues so that the meeting concludes well with renewed trust in the company’s management and its QMS?  5 Marks


Q2) What was the format/Template of your project report?  Why do you think your customer did not respond to your regular weekly status reports (and of course, jumped with an escalation only at the end of delivery)? What factors (internal/external) contributed to this escalation?  If you were to redesign your project status report to elicit frequent responses from customers, what would you do?   5 Marks


Answer:
Q1 <<Such cases could have been discussed in the class and also as part of students’ assignment. There’s no one clear answer to this question, we can award marks if the student comes up with any of the below set of answers or related:
- Meeting participants:  XcelPro side (PM, Delivery Head, Quality Head, Key Team Leader,…) / EuroShell Side (PM, PM’s boss, as minimum,…)
- Agenda Items:  Issues from XcelPro side (number of CRs raised and their cumulative additional effort which has not been recognized/endorsed by the customer, customer-side delays in responses, XcelPro’s internal issues of team attrition, training on new technologies,…)—all this to be supported by Data/Analysis (extracts from past project reports which the customer didn’t pay attention to, etc…
- Recommended Techniques: Simple Tabular Analysis / Histographic analysis or  FISH-BONE Diagram which is the best method of Root-Cause-Analysis in such situations  (without resorting to explicit finger-pointing on the issues which can always originate from either side)


Answer

Q2. <<again subjective answer…no silver-bullet solution,…but good practices include any of the following>>
Project Report Template (Simple Excel sheet or MS Project report):  Containing detailed WBS of the project work-items, start and end-dates, schedule overruns, %ge completion, Issues faced during the period, Resolved/Pending, Actions needed from customer-side, etc, etc..
Some of the contributing factors for this escalation: Probably no frequent review meetings with customer; wrong assumption that customer is reviewing all the status reports sent; keeping issues/problems related to CRs within the team and not getting escalated on-time; poor team management by the PM (inadequate training on new technology/tools,…); poor Change Management (ability to say ‘No’ to customer / push-back with detailed analysis for each CR), etc..


Question: Suppose you are managing a software development project. The project is expected to be completed in 8 months at a cost of $10,000 per month. After 2 months, you realize that the project is 30 percent completed at a cost of $40,000. You need to determine whether the project is on-time and on-budget after 2 months using EVA methodology and using different EVA indices. 
10 Marks

Answer:
Step 1: Calculate the Planned Value (PV) and Earned Value (EV)
From the scenario,
•    Budget at Completion (BAC) = $10,000 * 8 = $80,000
•    Actual Cost (AC) = $40,000
•    Planned Completion = 2/8 = 25%
•    Actual Completion = 30%
Therefore,
•    Planned Value = Planned Completion (%) * BAC = 25% * $ 80,000 = $ 20,000
•    Earned Value = Actual Completion (%) * BAC = 30% * $ 80,000 = $ 24,000
Step 2: Compute the Cost Performance Index (CPI) and Schedule Performance Index (SPI)
•    Cost Performance Index (CPI) = EV / AC = $24,000 / $40,000 = 0.6
•    Schedule Performance Index (SPI) = EV / PV = $24,000 / $20,000 = 1.2

Interpretation: Since Cost Performance Index (CPI) is less than one, this means the project is over budget. For every dollar spent we are getting 60 cents' worth of performance. Since Schedule Performance Index (SPI) is more than one, the project is ahead of schedule. However, this has come at a cost of going over budget. If work is continued at this rate, the project will be delivered ahead of schedule and over budget. Therefore, corrective action should be taken.


Question: Project manager has identified “Lack of using test automation tool in the project” as a big risk in completing the project on time, and of high quality. As a PM how will you address this risk, considering team, cost, schedule, training etc…in the project. Discuss the pros and cons of each decision as a PM will take. 
10 Marks

Answer
Mitigation: - Develop a training schedule for all software staff that is "just-in-time." That is, training will be provided just before the tool is required for use. -  Have one or two experts on staff for each tool. These people will be available to mentor others in the use of the tool and answer questions.

Monitoring: - Log number of hour’s tools is being used. - Debrief staff to determine how tools are perceived; whether frustration is setting in; - examine work products created using tools for quality; - determine time required to create work products using tools vs. manual approach—look for anomalies.


Management: Assumes that tools are not working. Determine reasons why. If staff is untrained, then provide one-to-one mentoring/training using staff experts and vendor trainers (budget for this contingency). If training is OK but tools don’t work, then consider alternative work product generation approaches using a semi-automated approach, e.g., word processors and graphical tool and a stripped down version of required models.


Cost: Evaluate whether to use Open source tool or COTS product and analyze the cost implications and project profitability will be impacted.


Question: You are dissatisfied with the general level of performance of  your project team. The quality of work is below your expectations. What are the issues identified for this poor performance and how will you deal with those identified issues?     10 Marks
 

Answer:
a.    Are your expectations about the quality of work clear and well understood by this team member?  Is s/he new to the team?
b.    Are there reasons that you know about that might be influencing the level of performance?  Home, family, travel issues or unfamiliarity with the kind of work.  Is it a question of competence or commitment?
c.    This is a problem solving or coaching opportunity and not a disciplinary situation.
d.    Having prepared, establish with the individual the level of performance expected, and the gap between the expected and actual performance.
e.    Explore the reasons for the gap.  Get the individual’s point of view first.
f.    Agree actions to eliminate the gap.
g.    Summarise with precision.  Fix a follow-up review.

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