Software Project Survival Guide

Top level milestones and deliverables

Beginning of Project

  • Key project decision-maker identified
  • Vision statement created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Business case for the software established
  • Preliminary effort and schedule targets created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Team of 2-3 senior developers on board
  • Change Control Plan created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Initial Top 10 Risks List created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Software Project Log started

The work done during this part of the project is open-ended. It includes, among other things, coming to an understanding of just how large the project is. Consequently, the schedule and effort involved in this part of a project varies greatly from project to project.

Project launch/feasibility study complete

  • QA lead on board
  • Documentation lead on board
  • Key users identified and interviewed
  • Simple user-interface prototype created, reviewed by users until acceptable, and baselined
  • User Interface Style Guide created, reviewed, and baselined
  • First project estimates (accurate to +100%, -50%) created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Preliminary Software Development Plan created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Top 10 Risks List updated
  • Software Project Log updated

The work in this part of the project is also open-ended and varies from project to project.

Preliminary requirements development complete

At this point, the open-ended work on the project has been completed. Now a little more work is needed to support making a go/no go decision about the project.

  • Detailed user-interface prototype created, reviewed, and baselined
  • User Manual/Specification created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Software Quality Assurance Plan created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Detailed Software Development Plan created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Project estimates updated (accurate to +75%, -45%)
  • Top 10 Risks List updated
  • Software Project Log updated

At this point, about 12 percent of the project-lifetime schedule and 6 percent of the effort will have been expended. These percentages do not include the work done on the project launch/feasibility study and preliminary requirements development.

Detailed requirements development complete

Planning Checkpoint Review and Go/No Go Decision

  • Most of development team on board
  • Most of QA staff on board
  • Documentation staff reduced after completing User Manual/Specification (unless other significant documentation products will be produced)
  • Software Architecture document created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Software Integration Procedure created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Staged Delivery Plan created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Software test cases for Stage 1 created, reviewed, and baselined
  • User Manual/Specification updated
  • Project estimates updated (accurate to +40%, -30%)
  • Top 10 Risks List updated
  • Software Development Plan updated
  • Software Project Log updated

At this point, about 20 percent of the project-lifetime schedule and 14 percent of the effort will have been expended.

Architecture complete

  • Full development team on board
  • Full QA staff on board
  • Beginning-of-stage planning completed
  • Detailed Design Document for Stage 1 created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Detailed Software Construction Plan for Stage 1 including miniature milestones created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Software test cases for next stage created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Software test cases for Stage 1 updated
  • Software build instructions (make files) for Stage 1 created
  • Software source code for Stage 1 created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Install program created, reviewed, and baselined
  • User Manual/Specification updated
  • Stage 1 "feature-complete" product
  • Project estimates updated (accurate to +30%, -20%)
  • Top 10 Risks List updated
  • Software Project Log updated

At this point, about 45 percent of the project-lifetime schedule and 40 percent of the effort will have been expended, assuming the project has 3 stages.

First stage code complete

  • Same activities as above

At this point, about 65 percent of the project-lifetime schedule and 65 percent of the effort will have been expended.

Second stage code complete

  • Detailed Design Document for last stage created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Software test cases for all stages updated
  • Software source code for all stages updated
  • Software build instructions (make files) for all stages updated
  • Install program updated
  • If software is a business system, deployment document (cutover handbook) complete; user training complete; and deployment team ready
  • Integrated "feature-complete" product delivered
  • Project estimates updated (accurate to +5%, -5%)
  • Top 10 Risks List updated
  • Project Log updated

At this point, about 85 percent of the project-lifetime schedule and 90 percent of the effort will have been expended.

Last stage code complete (third stage, if three stages are used)

  • Release checklist created, reviewed, and baselined
  • Release approval signed by all parties and put under change control
  • Functionally correct product delivered
  • Functionally correct install program delivered
  • Final test cases delivered
  • Software duplication media ("gold disks") delivered
  • Project archival media (source code, build environment, etc.) stored offsite
  • Final Software Project Log updated
  • Project History document created, reviewed, and baselined

At this point, 100 percent of the project-lifetime schedule and effort will have been expended.

Product release