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Software Resource Management

Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

What is Software Resource Management?

Software resource management is about forecasting, allocating, scheduling, tracking and optimizing your team, their time and budgets to deliver software and web projects with maximum efficiency. Other benefits of resource planning include accurate planning and prediction of resource availability, improving job satisfaction and retention in your team, preventing your staff from burning out and improving your relationships with clients.

Stages of Software Development Life Cycle

To distribute resources successfully and manage software projects effectively, you need to be aware of software development stages. The process of software development hardly ever reaches the final point, because new bugs and feature requests constantly appear, bringing the progress a few steps back. The stages may depend on the chosen paradigm and methodology, but the key stages are the following.

1. Requirement Collection & Analysis

The first stage of SDLS where development teams, customers, stakeholders, sales, subject matter experts (SMEs) collaborate. During this phase, all the relevant information is collected from the customer to develop a product that meets their expectations: what software to build, what’s its purpose, who is the end-user. Requirements analysis also helps identify the risks at the very start so that risk mitigation strategies can be worked out from the very beginning.

2. Feasibility Study

Once the requirement gathering is done, you need to check the feasibility of the product development. Feasibility analysis displays technical, economical, legal, operational and schedule aspects impacting the software development process: time, resources, tasks, estimates from the team members, which help calculate ROI and determine project cost and profit. In case of any ambiguity, further discussions with clients are required.

3. Software Design & Prototyping

At this stage, the team uses the software requirement specification document to design the optimal architecture for the product. The requirements in the SRS dictate the design approaches that are included in a Detailed Design Specification (DDS) document. These aspects include:

  • User Interface (UI): a product interface that is clear and simple-to-use for the customer or the end-users.
  • Platforms: the computing platforms on which the software will run.
  • Communications: how the software will communicate with servers or other parts of the software.
  • Security: security measures that may include data encryption, password protection, and more.

4. Software Development

The development phase is usually the longest of the SDLC process. At this stage, developers build the product and write the code that matches the DDS and conforms to the client’s requirements. Each development module is divided into tasks and assigned to developers for coding, unit testing and finding logical errors. Depending on the methodology, software development may be conducted in “sprints” (Agile) or may proceed as a single block of effort (Waterfall). The output of this phase is testable, functional software.

5. Software Testing

Testing may take place during the development stage, but there can be no testing if there’s no code, right? That’s why testing is number 5 on this list.

6. Deployment & Documenting

Now that most of the bugs are fixed, it’s time to put the product into production and release it in the business environment. At this stage, the software is moved to production and User Acceptance Testing (UAT) takes place. During UAT, the limited group of the end-users verifies that the software is easy to interact with and everything works as it should.

7. Product Maintenance

Finally, the last stage of the software development life cycle — the maintenance phase. No software is meant to last forever and requires updates, new features and bug fixes. Moreover, at this stage, you receive real-world feedback that often calls for more fine-tuning and polishing. With more features and new changes in the interface comes the need for documenting. The cycle goes back and forth and is never over.

How to Manage Resources in Software Projects

Resource management in software projects requires an understanding of the whole software development process. Software Development Life Cycle is a process that varies from company to company and aims at delivery of the best quality software. SDLC can be adjusted to the needs of each particular project, so can resource distribution inside the team or the project. If you’d like to learn more about SDLS and project management activities in software projects, you might enjoy SDLC Life Cycle Document (PDF) by the University of Illinois.

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