SOFTWARE IN PRACTICE
Project services facilitate, monitor and guide product development. They are required where some project or product characteristic will not be realised without leadership and focus. For example, if we are to deliver a project's scope of works at a predictable cost in a predictable timeframe we will need project management services. The table below provides a checklist of services that should be considered for all software and systems engineering projects.
Project Services Checklist
Representing Project Services in a WBS
So far we've documented WBS elements that represent our end deliverable. This focus on product design and construction has given us a clear view of product scope. But our WBS isn't complete. If we're to deliver this scope at a predictable cost in a predictable timeframe our project needs management services.
What is a Project Service?
Project Management is an example of a project service. In general a service is required where some project or product characteristic will not be realised without leadership and focus. Services require resources, impact schedules and consume project budget; they therefore must be represented in the WBS. Services are a different class of WBS element to deliverables. Services facilitate, monitor and guide product development. With the exception of some documentation, they don't, of themselves, create deliverables.
For example, in a previous session the Systems Engineering Service produced an Electric Vehicle Concept Document and a Preliminary Design Description. These documents helped us discover and elaborate our concept car's major subsystems. As we saw with the Electronic Control Unit, once discovered, a subsystem's detailed design, development and testing work can then be represented in the WBS as child elements of the subsystem. This allows us to compartmentalize all work required to produce an individual component so we can easily track its progress.
In contrast the Systems Engineering Service performed the analysis and design work that applied to the project as a whole. We therefore represented it at level two of the WBS.
Do Services Generate Deliverables?
All services do have some major document deliverables. For example, the project manager commits to developing a Project Management Plan. In the context of a contract the customer usually wants visibility of the plan. It therefore becomes a project deliverable and has a WBS element.
In contrast a project progress report is a recurring document that's considered part of the service and is not explicitly represented in the WBS.
All Services Deliver a Plan
As a minimum requirement all project service providers should deliver a plan. A plan typically describes the mission of the service, its modes of interaction with the project, roles and responsibilities, deliverables and records to be generated. For integration with the overall plan we'll also need, resource and budget requirements and a schedule of activities.
All Projects Need Services
Your project may not need do-wop singers and firemen but it will need some service disciplines. These disciplines have evolved over the past 50 years to deal with the problems largeness and complexity that we encounter in most modern projects.
A well formed WBS identifies your service needs and integrates them into your resourcing, scheduling and budgeting activities. In the following sessions we'll summarise these services and focus on how they can benefit your project.