Project Management: The Forgotten Piece of ALM?

February 15, 2006 —  (Page 2 of 3)
What to Measure?
How do you get it right? It’s critical to determine which ALM data to import and which metrics collectively convey the most accurate view of a project’s overall status. “Companies struggle to figure out what makes sense,” said Martin. Usually, it’s a combination of metrics, viewed at once, in what Prashant Sridharan, a group product manager in Microsoft’s developer division, calls a velocity report. “Instead of just counting bugs, you also have to consider code coverage, and unit and load testing,” he said.

Another strategy is investigating where team members are spending the most time and looking for patterns that spell trouble, said Martin. “If you spend a lot of time investigating use cases to figure out how defects occurred, and your defect rate is still high, you have a problem,” he said. “You have to hone in on the source of the problem.”

Also important is the ability to view a project in terms of how it relates to a company’s business objectives, said IBM’s Reddy. “You may be doing great in terms of project costs. But if you don’t have the best developers assigned to the most critical projects, you are in trouble.” The best project managers can drive that process, he said.

Tools for Managing Portfolios
When it comes to running development efforts, project management tools still rule, ALM tools companies agreed. But some ALM companies are moving beyond that approach, offering software designed to oversee a portfolio of information technology projects, not just development initiatives.

Borland Software was expected to unveil one such offering on Feb. 14. The IT Management and Governance Solution includes Borland Tempo, which the company acquired from Legadaro Software last October, said Greg Rice, a senior director of product marketing at Borland.

For portfolio management, Tempo lets companies manage multiple projects simultaneously, sharing resources among them, and prioritizing tasks, he said. Borland plans to begin integrating Tempo with its ALM tools, including StarTeam (for configuration management) and CaliberRM (for requirements) in June. The company also plans to tie Tempo to its ALM suite, Core SDP, said Rice.

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