Basic Project Control Tools
Inexperienced software developers often wonder: “What are project control tools?” However, it is hard to answer this question because it is not formulated properly. In this article we will try to answer it and to give you some necessary facts about project management and control tools. Before doing that, it is essential to provide the definitions of project management and control.
Project management in software development is a complex process aimed at creating high quality software products and delivering them in time. A software development project cannot exist without project management. This process is necessary both for traditional and Agile developers. Regardless of the methodology you use, the process of project management has four stages.
The first of them is called project planning. A good plan is the most important thing for every software development project. It helps the developers forecast the terms of product delivery and define the tasks they should perform during their project. The plan is based on customer’s requirements. However, its creation is not a simple task because the developers have to adapt the client’s demands to their abilities.
After the plan is formulated, the second stage of project management process takes place. It is called project monitoring and it is conducted constantly during the entire period of project realization. The main goal of project monitoring is to define all problems with plan implementation and to detect their sources. It is necessary to finish the project in time and to avoid defects in the final software product.
The third stage of project management process is called project control. It is aimed at removing all plan implementation issues and testing the final software product. Tests are required in order to make sure that the problems in plan implementation didn’t cause any bugs in the final product. The methods of project control may be different. In most cases they depend on the software development methodology you use. For example, in Waterfall methodology the tests are conducted only at the last stage of project realization. That may lead to some problems because the team cannot fix all bugs at this stage of the project. Agile developers, on the other hand, test their products constantly. They conduct tests after every iterative cycle. That helps them fix all defects in time.
Now let’s return to the question from the beginning of our article. The answer to it is quite simple: there are no special tools for project control. However, there are lots of project management tools in the software market. They are capable of performing all project management activities including project control automatically. Such applications are often used at the stage of project control to test the final software product. Their greatest advantage is that they can do that without human involvement. Some of these project management tools are capable of working as issue tracking systems. That means that they can detect bugs and report on them automatically.