Saya Systems logo Project Management
for Software & Systems R & D
Applied Technology for
Science, Engineering
and Business


Project Management

At RAHD Oncology Products, as Development Manager, I designed (in conjunction with the Customer Support Manger), a comprehensive project management system for our geographically distributed software and hardware development groups and customer support group, which also supported FDA 820.30 requirements. This provided a web interface to a relational database backend, usable by both managers and staff, with additional support through integration with other tools, such as a version control system (CVS), and the raw file system. It was implemented by another developer and myself. 2000-2006

At the University of Utah, Computer Center, as a Senior Programmer and later as Manager of Networking and Unix Systems, and as a member of the Campus Network Advisory Committee, I saw firsthand the importance of project management, especially in a matrix management structure (which existed even across department boundaries). For example, ProjectA, being the responsibility of ManagerA in DeptA, requires resources from DeptA, but also from DeptB and DeptC, with ManagerB and ManagerC. In this type of environment, it can be extremely difficult to guage the impact of one project on another, even with project management tools. 1988-1995

At the University of Utah, Computer Science, as Assistant Project Director for the the URSA Project (R&D in distributed information retrieval systems for the CIA), I first saw the value of project management in achieving goals and producing deliverables on time, resulting in continued funding. 1984-1985

Why bother with project management?

Software developers may tend to view "project management" as an annoyance, or as management meddling in thigs it does not understand. Although both are often true, some form of project management is nevertheless needed when multiple projects compete for limited development resources. Some entity must be responsible for setting the priorities, and further, for mediating incoming project change requests and new projects, as well as unexpected problems, in order to control the impact on the current project schedule.

Without this, the impact of changes and new projects is not only unpredictable, but is likely to be wasteful of scarce development resources. For example, say that projects A and B are under development, when an urgent need for new project C arises. The developers are told to shift gears; C is top priority. Although this might achieve C in the shortest elapsed time, it can cause A and B to now consume more resources than if they had been completed before C was started. If nothing else, the developers must reestablish the project A and B mindsets and "flows" that existed prior to C, which consumes time and energy, but the impact can go deeper.

While project management is important, it is equally important to not over do it. This can result in resentment and failure, the failure then validating the resentment. It is an important balance to find.

To learn more, see selections under Project Management at left.

Copyright 2003-2015  Saya Systems Inc. Web design by  Saya Systems Inc.