Teaching Software Project Management

Teaching Software Project Management

Kasi Periyasamy (University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0196-1.ch063
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Software project management is an inherent part of software engineering. While technical expertise is an important factor to complete a software product, knowledge and experience in project management are equally important. Teaching software project management is always a challenge. Most software engineering courses teach technical skills and knowledge on software development but lack project management guidance. On the other hand, project management courses taught by management faculty do not connect to technical activities. Therefore, a blend of technical and managerial skills must be taught together to train software engineers. This chapter describes the author's experience in teaching a graduate level software project management course with emphasis on blending technical and non-technical skills. The chapter includes the different modes/styles in which the course was taught, the challenges faced, the benefits gained, and the current status of the course.
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The importance of project management skills for software engineers has been extensively discussed in many books and articles.

Software Engineering Management has been listed as one of the knowledge areas of software engineering in the Guidelines for Graduate Degree Programs in Software Engineering (GSwE, 2009), and in the Guide for Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK, 2011). The following topics are included under Software Engineering Management (GSwE, 2009):

  • Software Project Planning

  • Risk Management

  • Software Project Organization and Enactment

  • Review and Evaluation

  • Closure

  • Software Engineering Measurement

  • Engineering Economics

While the topics seem to cover all aspects of project management, teaching these topics in a software engineering course is always a challenge. A first-hand experience in this context was given by McDonald (2000) who taught project management courses both to industries and in academia. In this paper, McDonald focused on the differences between industrial workshops and academic courses and concluded that there is more freedom and time in academic environment.

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