Software Engineering Management

In software engineering, management activities occur at three levels: organizational and infrastructure management, project management, and measurement program planning and control. This section describes the areas of project management, including initiation and scope definition, project planning, project enactment, review and evaluation, and engineering measurement. These subjects are often regarded as being separate, and indeed they do possess many unique aspects, their close relationship has led to their combined treatment in software engineering as effective management requires a combination of both numbers and experience.

Topics for software engineering management

Software Project Enactment

The plans are then implemented, and the processes embodied in the plans are enacted. Throughout, there is a focus on adherence to the plans, with an overriding expectation that such adherence will lead to the successful satisfaction of stakeholder requirements and achievement of the project objectives. Fundamental to enactment are the ongoing management activities of measuring, monitoring, controlling, and reporting.

Implementation of Plans

The project is initiated and the project activities are undertaken according to the schedule. In the process, resources are utilized (for example, personnel effort, funding) and deliverables are produced (for example, architectural design documents, test cases).

Supplier Contract Management

Prepare and execute agreements with suppliers, monitor supplier performance, and accept supplier products, incorporating them as appropriate.

Implementation of measurement process

The measurement process is enacted alongside the software project, ensuring that relevant and useful data are collected.

Monitor Process

Adherence to the various plans is assessed continually and at predetermined intervals. Outputs and completion conditions for each task are analyzed. Deliverables are evaluated in terms of their required characteristics (for example, via reviews and audits). Effort expenditure, schedule adherence, and costs to date are investigated, and resource usage is examined. The project risk profile is revisited, and adherence to quality requirements is evaluated.

Measurement data are modeled and analyzed. Variance analysis based on the deviation of actual from expected outcomes and values is undertaken. This may be in the form of cost overruns, schedule slippage, and the like. Outlier identification and analysis of quality and other measurement data are performed (for example, defect density analysis). Risk exposure and leverage are recalculated, and decisions trees, simulations, and so on are rerun in the light of new data. These activities enable problem detection and exception identification based on exceeded thresholds. Outcomes are reported as needed and certainly where acceptable thresholds are surpassed.

Control Process

The outcomes of the process monitoring activities provide the basis on which action decisions are taken. Where appropriate, and where the impact and associated risks are modeled and managed, changes can be made to the project. This may take the form of corrective action (for example, retesting certain components), it may involve the incorporation of contingencies so that similar occurrences are avoided (for example, the decision to use prototyping to assist in software requirements validation), and/or it may entail the revision of the various plans and other project documents (for example, requirements specification) to accommodate the unexpected outcomes and their implications.


At specified and agreed periods, adherence to the plans is reported, both within the organization (for example to the project portfolio steering committee) and to external stakeholders (for example, clients, users). Reports of this nature should focus on overall adherence as opposed to the detailed reporting required frequently within the project team.