CMMI Software Project Planning and the PMBOK
Software project planning is a Key Process Area (KPA) that
spans many of the knowledge areas from the PMBOK as it describes activities
performed during the planning phase of a software project. The knowledge involved
include: Integration Management, Scope Management, Time Management, Cost
Management, Human Resource Management, Procurement Management, Risk Management,
and Communications Management. The only area not touched is Quality Management.
Many project managers also define a change management process that covers each
area of the project and describe that process in a Change Management plan. This
plan also supports the Software Project Planning KPA.
CMM divides this KPA into goals, commitments, abilities, activities,
measurements, and verifications. This article will attempt to relate each of
these to its PMBOK component.
CMM defines 3 goals for this KPA: software estimates are
documented and used to plan and track the project, activities are documented
and planned, and affected groups agree to their commitments. These goals are
supported by the Time Management knowledge area with the exception of the agreement
of "affected groups” to their commitments. Agreement of senior management and
other stakeholders to the plan is accomplished by Gate Review meetings
described in the Communications Management plan and agreement of other team
members is described in the Human Resources Management plan.
Commitment to Perform
The first commitment is that a project software manager is
designated for managing the work. This would be you. The Project Charter is the
document that speaks to this. The next commitment is that the project follows a
written organizational policy for planning a software project. Unless your organization
includes a PMO, or PMC, you won’t be able to meet this commitment to perform;
your plans apply only to the current project and aren’t part of a standard
applicable to all projects. Some of the specifics of this commitment can be
supported by your plan, however. Some will be supported by your Project
Management plan. This could be one document or a compilation of plans for each
of the knowledge areas. The second commitment requires negotiation of the
requirements with the project manager, software project manager, and other
software managers. This process is described in your Scope Management area in
the Requirements Gathering process. The process of negotiating the
participation of the various software development groups on the project should
be described in your Human Resources Management plan. This is described for you
in the Acquire Project Team process. Keep in mind that while the PMBOK is
referring to the entire team, CMM refers to only those groups engaged in
The second commitment also specifies that senior management
reviews all software related commitments made to external stakeholders. This
review should take place at a Gate, Phase Exit, or Business Decision Point
review meeting which will be described in your Communications Management plan.
Keep in mind that this meeting will review all project commitments, not just
software related ones. These reviews are described in more detail for you in
the Context and Integration Management areas of the PMBOK.
Ability to Perform
CMM requires the work of the project to be described in a
Statement of Work (SOW). Again, CMM only refers to that portion of the work
related to software development. The PMBOK describes the SOW and its use in the
Integration Management and Procurement Management knowledge areas. The
description in the PMBOK will deliver an SOW that satisfies CMM criteria.
Although the PMBOK specifies this artifact for work that is procured
externally, an SOW must be produced for each project to satisfy the CMM
The second ability requires responsibility for developing
the project plan to be assigned. This is your work and responsibility should be
defined in your Project Charter. The third ability speaks to the provision of
adequate resources and funding. The Estimate Activity Resources and Activity
Duration Estimating processes in Time Management describe how resource
requirements are derived. Human resources are assigned to your project by the
Acquire the Project Team process in the Human Resources Management area and any
other resources, such as software testing tools, are acquired by the
Procurement Management plan. Funding is addressed in the Cost Management area,
but CMM refers specifically to the provision of the funding. This provision
should be negotiated and committed to at the Gate Review meeting that happens
between planning and implementation. Funding for planning activities will only
be negotiated and committed to when your organization is performing the project
for an external customer under contract.
The fourth ability refers to your training in the area of
software project planning. This criterion can easily be satisfied by a project
manager who has been certified by the PMI as a Project Management Professional
(PMP). PMI is the most recognized certification body in the area of project
management and certification is relatively straightforward for those who meet
PMI’s criteria. Certification requires eligible candidates to pass an exam
testing their project management knowledge, including planning knowledge. There
are numerous PMP courses or PMP exam preparation training products available to
prepare you to pass the exam, including AceIt, available from three O Project
Solutions Inc. You can learn more about the certification process by visiting
their web site at: http://threeo.ca/pmpcertifications29.php.
The ability also calls for any other person involved in
planning to be trained in software estimation and planning. This is a somewhat
more difficult criterion to meet. Since you will rely on Subject Matter Experts
on your team to provide accurate effort estimations for the various tasks in
the WBS, you will need to identify the process you will use to do the
estimating and provide any tools and training required to use the chosen
process. The process of training those individuals will be described in your
Human Resources Management plan (Develop the Project Team).
Activities called for by CMM include:
software engineering group participates on the project proposal team. The
software engineering group will be engaged in the project as team members and
SMEs as described in the Project Charter (critical or key resources) and the
Project Staff Assignments produced by the Acquire the Team process. If your
project entails drafting a proposal in response to an RFP (Request for
Proposal), then these documents should assign key engineering group resources
to this work. The documents should also assign responsibility for review of the
work commitments to the engineering group.
planning is initiated in the early stages of, and in parallel with, the overall
project planning. It is.
software engineering group participates with other affected groups in the
overall project planning throughout the project’s life. This participation
will be defined by the Project Staff Assignments document, and other project
plans which define roles and responsibilities. These SMEs should also be
assigned responsibility for providing analysis and estimation for change
requests in the Change Management plan.
made to external groups are reviewed with senior management according to a
documented procedure. This procedure will be your Gate Review meetings as
- A software
life cycle with predefined stages of manageable size is identified or defined.
The Software Development Lifecycle Method (SDLC) should be specified in your
project charter as part of your approach to the project. Stages or iterations
will be further defined in the WBS and schedule.
project’s software development plan is developed according to a documented
procedure. This documented procedure is called the Project Management Plan.
This can be one document or many. This activity also specifies that the plan is
negotiated with the software engineering group doing project work and other
groups that are stakeholders, and that the plan is managed and controlled.
Management and control activities are specified in the Project Management plan
and Change Management plan.
- The plan
for the software project is documented. Documentation will be the Project
Management plan, including the project schedule. This activity specifies
software configuration management and this process should survive the project.
If there is no software configuration management plan in place for your project
to use because you are creating a new system, your project management plans
should include creation of a configuration management plan.
work products that are needed to establish and maintain control of the software
project are identified. This refers to the files that will be checked into
the source library and managed by the configuration management plan. These
files will be specified in Detail Design Documents (DDDs), the WBS, and the
is done according to a documented procedure. This activity specifies that
organizational experience in estimation be used to guide the current estimation
and that historical information be consulted when available. This refers to the
"Enterprise Environmental Factors” and "Organizational Process Assets” which
are inputs to many PMBOK processes including the Activity Duration Estimation
process. The activity further specifies that the estimates should be agreed to
by the folks performing the work. Although this is not spelled out in the PMBOK
it is always a good idea to have the resource agree to the work and deadline
they are asked to commit to. This agreement and commitment needs to be
documented somewhere in the Project Plans.
documented procedure is used to estimate project effort and cost. These
procedures should be documented in the Time Management plan and Cost Management
plan. Agreement to effort estimations is described above and agreement to cost
is achieved during Gate Review meetings described in the Communications
documented procedure is used to estimate critical computer resources. This
is a specific instance of the resource estimation produced by the Estimate
Activity Resource and the Activity Duration Estimation processes and captured
in the Time Management plan.
project’s software schedule is derived according to a documented procedure.
This is accomplished by the procedures described in the Time Management area,
up to and including the Schedule Development procedure.
- The risks
are identified, assessed and documented. This is part of your Risk
- Plans for
the project’s software engineering facilities and support tools are prepared.
This is part of the Estimate Activity Resource procedure. Acquisition of
non-human resources is managed by the WBS, or the Procurement Management plan
where resources must be procured externally.
planning data are recorded. The estimates will be recorded in the schedule
and estimation information, including assumptions, will be recorded in the WBS.
In most cases the schedule and WBS will be one and the same document, your MS
Measurement and Analysis
CMM requires you to track the progress of your planning
activities. The Time Management processes culminate in the project schedule so
we can’t say that this measurement is supported by Time Management. The
initiation of the project will usually result in a preliminary schedule of
planning events, milestones, and deliverables in your MS Project file. The
planned and actual dates in this file are what you will use to track progress.
CMM calls for project planning activities to be reviewed
with senior management periodically. These reviews will be described in your
Communications Management plan. The senior management referred to may be the
project business sponsor, the project IT sponsor, or a Steering Committee, or a
combination of these. Your Gate Review meeting to move the project forward from
the initiation phase to the planning phase is also verification. CMM also calls
for a summary report from each of these meetings to be prepared and
distributed. Status review meetings are also called for and a summary report is
to be issued for these meetings.
CMM requires a software quality assurance group to
review/audit the project plans. This audit or review may be a service that your
PMO or PMC provide, if your organization has one. This software quality
assurance group could be an existing group in your organization or that role
could be assumed by your PMO or PMC. If your organization has neither of these
groups, it will have to create one in order to satisfy this point.
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