Preface

Preface

The genesis of this book dates back to 1996. For my sabbatical, I joined Infosys as the head of quality, with the charter of improving the processes for project execution. Seeing the problems faced by project managers, I felt that software project management must be the toughest job on the planet. And I thought that delivering high-quality software within budget and on schedule must be an oxymoron.

The situation, I now realize, is not quite that hopeless. By using sound project management processes, project managers in some organizations are successfully executing projects.

Infosys, one such global organization, has successfully executed more than 500 projects last year alone. It has about 10,000 employees spread across 25 cities in more than a dozen countries around the globe, and it has been assessed at the highest maturity level (level 5) of the CMM. Its revenues and profits have grown at about 75% per year for the past five years. The level of customer satisfaction can be judged by the fact that despite the company's huge growth about 85% of its revenue comes from repeat orders from existing customers.

I have used my experience and knowledge of Infosys processes to cull out and describe in this book the key project management practices that have been used to successfully execute project after project. The beauty of these practices is that despite being highly effective, they are not complex; rather, they are grounded in common sense and are supported by simple measurements and analyses.

In describing project management processes at Infosys, the book offers a unique combination of two value propositions. First, it provides the complete set of processes employed for project management in a highly successful organization. The use of these processes is illustrated with real examples and a running case study. Second, because the processes satisfy the requirements of the Capability Maturity Model (CMM), this book demystifies the way projects are managed in a high-maturity organization, and it provides the benefits that the CMM offers to project management without the need of a detailed understanding of the CMM.

The book is written primarily for project managers and for professionals who plan to become project managers. By using the methods described in this book they can systematically improve the planning and execution of their projects. It can also be very useful for an organization that wants to reach a high maturity level. If project managers start using the methods described here, they will lay the foundations for high maturity in the organization.

Because most chapters begin with an overview before describing the details of the Infosys method, this book can also be used as a text in a software project management course. In a general software engineering course, it can serve as a supplementary text, providing a view of how a software project is managed in a business environment.

Chapter 1 contains a brief introduction to Infosys and the relationship of the CMM and project management. The remainder of the book is divided into two parts. Part I, consisting of Chapters 2 through 9, focuses on project planning and covers topics such as planning infrastructure, process planning, effort and schedule estimation, quality planning, risk management, measurement planning, and configuration management. Part II, consisting of Chapters 10 through 12, focuses on project execution and completion and covers reviews, project monitoring and control, and project closure.

To the extent possible, each chapter has been kept independent and stand-alone and has been organized as follows. The relevant concepts and background material are given in the first section, followed by a discussion of methods used by Infosys. Next come examples of the use of these methods in real projects and in the case study. Each chapter ends with a summary that lists the key takeaways from the chapter and describes which aspects of CMM are satisfied by the methods discussed in the chapter.

Although this book draws on my earlier book CMM in Practice (Addison-Wesley, 2000), it has a different focus and substantially different contents. Whereas CMM in Practice considers the entire software process and focuses on implementation of the CMM in an organization, this book focuses exclusively on project management.

Many people helped to make this book a reality. Because the book has its origins in CMM in Practice, my thanks to all the people who helped in that project. In addition, I would like to again express my gratitude to Infosys and its directors, whose cooperation and help made this book possible. My sincere thanks to members of the quality department at Infosys for providing information whenever needed, and to the many people who shared with me their experiences, which find their way into mini-cases throughout the book (although with the names changed). My special thanks to Naresh Agarwal for his help with the main case study, and to Sanjay Joshi for his help in bringing a sharper focus to the chapters. And finally, my thanks to my wife, Shikha, and my daughters, Sumedha and Sunanda, for bearing with me and my odd hours once again.

Any comments about the book, or any inaccuracies that might be present (which are entirely my responsibility), can be sent to me at jalote@iitk.ac.in. For information regarding Infosys, visit www.infy.com or send mail to public-relations@infy.com.

Pankaj Jalote

 



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