PROJECT TRACKING

11.1 PROJECT TRACKING

Let's first examine basic project tracking at Infosys. Once a detailed project plan is made in which all schedulable tasks are listed along with their start and end dates and the people assigned to them at the very least the project manager must track the execution of these tasks. That endeavor constitutes activities tracking. In addition, a project manager must track the unresolved issues that crop up and the defects that are detected. The outcome of this tracking is captured in the status report of the project. This status report is also distributed to senior management and the customer, thus ensuring that they have visibility into the project.

11.1.1 Activities Tracking

One of the first tasks in project tracking is to ensure that planned activities are done on time. As mentioned earlier, at Infosys activities are usually scheduled using Microsoft Project (MSP). Hence, MSP is also used for activities tracking.

Every day (or more or less frequently), the project manager checks the status of the scheduled tasks and updates the status in MSP. Although MSP allows users to specify an activity as partially completed, for tracking purposes an activity is typically specified as 0% done until it is completed. When the activity is finished, it is marked as 100% done. This level of tracking suffices because tasks are decomposed so that the lowest-level, schedulable tasks take less than one or two days. Using MSP features, a project manager can then determine which higher-level tasks are lagging behind, what percentage of a task has been done, what effects slippage will have on the execution of the overall project, and so on. For the current phase (the next milestone), based on the activities completed and the actual time they took, the project manager reschedules the remaining tasks as needed to ensure that the milestone is met.

11.1.2 Defect Tracking

Tracking of defects is another key point in tracking. As mentioned in Chapter 7, Infosys uses a defect control system for tracking defects. Once information about a defect is entered in this system, it remains open until it has been fixed. The defect is marked as "closed" when its removal has been verified. In this way, each defect is logged and tracked to closure. Sometimes, project managers track the state of a defect by recording the date of submission and the date of closure for each defect. At the end of the project, ideally no open defects should remain (or a deliberate decision has been made to leave them uncorrected). At any time, the project manager can check the overall rate of defect injection and defect closure, information that is useful in seeing whether the gap between the number of defects submitted and the number of defects closed is in control.

Table 11.1 shows parts of the defect data for the case study, the ACIC project. In addition, other columns (not shown here) captured the submitter ID, the submit date, the owner ID (the ID of the person assigned to fix the defect), and the closing date. As you can see, standard information, such as stage injected, stage detected, severity level, and so on, is recorded for each defect.

11.1.3 Issues Tracking

Inevitably, many small jobs or clarifications come up during a project. These problems are called issues. Managing issues is an important task for any project manager because they can be numerous and can potentially delay a project. For example, a clarification sought regarding a requirement from the customer (an issue) can delay many activities unless it is resolved. Many such issues have the potential to stop some activities. Hence, it is important for a project manager to track and manage issues properly.

One method is to simply write the issues down and check them off in due course. But because any team member can raise an issue, the list of issues can become large. Formal methods are therefore useful for tracking them. For this purpose, projects usually open an issues log.

In the issues log, issues are recorded as they arise, along with related information. When issues are closed, they are marked as closed. For the issues log, project managers can use a spreadsheet, maintain a document, use an issue tracker utility, or use the defect tracking system. If an automated tool is used, simple queries become feasible. Table 11.2 provides part of the issue log for the ACIC project to give you an idea of the type of items that go into it (the actual log contains the submit and close dates and other information for tracking).

Project managers must regularly monitor the status of issues, particularly if all team members can enter them. As mentioned in Chapter 8, unresolved issues pose a risk to the project. If issues remain open for too long, escalation channels need to be used to resolve them, as specified in the project management plan.

11.1.4 Status Reports

Status reports are the main mechanism for regularly communicating the state of the project to senior management and the customer. The parties who receive the status reports are specified in the project management plan. Typically, status reports are generated weekly and contain these items:

Table 11.1. Defect Data for the ACIC Project

ID

Title

Description

Stage Injected

Stage Detected

Defect Type

Severity

7

Redundant import statement.

In ActivitiesMaintenanceJPanel, AccountSearchResult class is imported twice.

Coding

Code review

Redundant code

Minor

10

Naming convention not followed.

The panel has been named ActivityMaintJPanel, and it should be ActivitiesMaintenanceJPanel.

Coding

Code review

Standards

Cosmetic

15

Transaction handling.

Transaction started for reading need not be committed as other methods can make use of it. It is done in addTask and updateTask.

Coding

Code review

Logic

Minor

16

Panel structure not proper.

In Options/Services panel of View History, Regy block panel and Options/Services panel were put on a parent panel. However, the correct method would have been to place it on the Option Services Panel.

Detailed design

Detailed design review

UI

Minor

21

Layering not followed.

Business model Party is imported in ViewPartyHistoryPanel.

Coding

Code review

Architecture

Major

22

UI standards not followed.

The labels in the screens are not in black.

Coding

Code review

Standards

Cosmetic

26

TypeCasting is incorrect.

TypeCasting to IIndividualName and IOrganizationName in methods getIndividualNames and getOrganizationNames should be changed to IName.

Coding

Code review

Logic

Major

27

Incorrect assigning

Author wanted to assign the value of existing vector to another vector. The assigning is not done correctly. It creates a new vector of the existing vector size.

Coding

Code review

Logic

Critical

30

Null Value acceptance

Need to check whether null values are allowed.

Coding

Unit testing

Logic

Major

35

Financial info

Clicking on other panels should not clear the fields on the screen for financial info.

Coding

Unit testing

UI

Major

39

Financial info

Exception handling in refresh panel from ApplicationContext not done.

Coding

Unit testing

UI

Major

152

Tab setting

Tab movement is not set in the panel.

Coding

Integration testing

Performance

Cosmetic

153

Disabled Add button

Add button is disabled in Address after a role is selected in the Account Roles Table.

Coding

Integration testing

Performance

Major

154

Clear button not clearing AssociatedAccounts table

Clear button in address maintenance panel is not clearing the Associated Accounts table.

Coding

Integration testing

Performance

Minor

155

Phone dissociation not working

In phoneMaintenance panel, dissociating the phone is not working.

Coding

Integration testing

Performance

Major

156

Updating phone not working

When you update a phone number, the changes are not saved.

Coding

Integration testing

Performance

Major

157

E-mail updating not working

Following a certain sequence of actions updating an e-mail without clicking the button Update, selecting another role, clicking Yes on the confirmation dialog and then selecting the previous role, only the updated e-mail is shown; other e-mails are missing.

Coding

Integration testing

Performance

Major

158

Account type not updated

When you change the account type and click Update, the account type is not saved.

Coding

Integration testing

Performance

Major

         Customer complaints

         Milestones achieved this week

         Milestones missed this week and the reasons for them

         Milestones planned for the next week

         Issues requiring clarification or attention

         Escalation, if any

         Estimated work versus available time by milestone

Clearly, the focus is on ensuring that the project continues to progress according to the plan and on resolving pending issues. Project managers can also check the project's "comfort level" by seeing whether the available time matches the required effort. A project manager may add more items, such as the number of requirement changes, and may delete some of those shown.

Figure 11.2 gives a sample status report for the ACIC project. This weekly status report focuses on what was done last week, what needs to be done, what open issues remain, and so on.

Figure 11.2. ACIC project status report for week ending July 3

graphics/11fig02.gif

Table 11.2. A Sample Issues Log for the ACIC Project

Issue Description

Comments/Closure Comments

Status

For what fields will the record be sent to the business partner of ACIC?

Use case updated.

Closed

Alternate scenario 1 in UC 3 is not clear. Why does 9 mean manual update?

Added alternate scenario in use case 4.

Closed

Wizard allows only one value for both Stmts and Confirms. Why should it be different for the Maintenance screens?

Included the explanation in the use case.

Closed

Clarify all the conditions when the Address Change should be sent to the business partner of ACIC.

 

Open

Primary indicator was removed in Synergy. If it must be put back, it must be mentioned as a requirement in the use case.

Refer to the PPT sent yesterday. It has the field on the screen.

Closed

In Update, the alternate scenarios are not discussed. What if the updated e-mail is associated with other accounts?

Clarification added to the use cases.

Closed

In the table in which history of service options is displayed, there is one timestamp for all three service options types. Will this not cause problems in dealing with the options separately?

 

Open

Regarding populating the tables, they should be populated with some meaningful data.

 

Open

If any change is made on tax liable role or interested party, should it affect other accounts?

This is mentioned in the use case. Please look at "Flow of Events" in the main scenario.

Closed

Does Country Combo Box need to be prefilled with country code values, or does it have to be changed to a text field?

 

Open

Can the text field ForeignAddressLine4 be deleted?

 

Open

Foreign Address and Foreign Phone number from the Maintenance team may not be ready for integration.

 

Open

VAJ 3.0 conversion is going to impact this project.

This conversion will be done only after this project is completed.

Closed

 



Software Project Management in Practice
Linux Annoyances for Geeks: Getting the Most Flexible System in the World Just the Way You Want It
ISBN: 0596008015
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 83
Authors: Michael Jang

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