Introduction to the 34 Competencies

Introduction to the 34 Competencies

In the early stages of software project management, the best programmers were promoted to the role of project manager because they showed capability with the tools (programming languages, compilers, etc.) and often displayed knowledge of a domain, such as a scientific, business, or real-time application. They often did not succeed in this position because they were not ready for conditions outside of the technical area. Now we know that every software manager requires skills far beyond knowing how to code. A working knowledge of software engineering is essential to succeed, but a good software manager requires to excel in people and project management skills, too.

We have accumulated a list of the important competencies employed by the most successful software project managers and organized them into three categories: product, project, and people, as shown in the following figure. This list came from the experiences of many practicing software project managers who contributed to the Software Project Management (SWPM) certificate program at The University of Texas at Austin from 1993 to 2001. It represents the Software Quality Institute's Body of Knowledge for Software Project Management (SQI BOK).

Thirty-Four Competencies that Every Software Project Manager Needs to Know
The remainder of this introductory section will discuss each of these categories in more detail, while topics in the sections that follow will show how to use each skill in practical situations. Many of these techniques and skills will be further illustrated.

Product Development Techniques

01.    Assessing processes - Defining criteria for reviews
02.    Awareness of process standards - Understanding process standards
03.    Defining the product - Identifying customer environment and product requirements
04.    Evaluating alternative processes - Evaluating various approaches
05.    Managing requirements - Monitoring requirements changes
06.    Managing subcontractors - Planning, managing, and monitoring performance
07.    Performing the initial assessment - Assessing difficulty, risks, costs, and schedule
08.    Selecting methods and tools - Defining selection processes
09.    Tailoring processes - Modifying standard processes to suit a project
10.    Tracking product quality - Monitoring the quality of an evolving product
11.    Understanding development activities - Learning the software development cycle

Project Management Skills

12.    Building a work breakdown structure - Building a WBS for a project
13.    Documenting plans - Identifying key components
14.    Estimating cost - Estimating cost to complete the project
15.    Estimating effort - Estimating effort required to complete the project
16.    Managing risks - Identifying and determining the impact and handling of risks
17.    Monitoring development - Monitoring the production of software
18.    Scheduling - Creating a schedule and key milestones
19.    Selecting metrics - Choosing and using appropriate metrics
20.    Selecting project management tools - Knowing how to select project management
21.    Tracking processes - Monitoring compliance of project team
22.    Tracking project progress - Monitoring progress using metrics

People Management Skills

23.    Appraising performance - Evaluating teams to enhance performance
24.    Handling intellectual property - Understanding the impact of critical issues
25.    Holding effective meetings - Planning and running excellent meetings
26.    Interaction and communication - Dealing with developers, upper management,
         and other teams
27.    Leadership - Coaching project teams for optimal results
28.    Managing change - Being an effective change agent
29.    Negotiating successfully - Resolving conflicts and negotiating successfully
30.    Planning careers - Structuring and giving career guidance
31.    Presenting effectively - Using effective written and oral skills
32.    Recruiting - Recruiting and interviewing team members successfully
33.    Selecting a team - Choosing highly competent teams
34.    Teambuilding - Forming, guiding, and maintaining an effective team


project management, software engineering, real-time application
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