Management Software

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Project Management Software


This paper presents work-in-progress on a software project management simulator suitable for educating and training prospective software project managers. The work presents the design of a modular architecture for the simulator as well as a modeling language for representing possible management scenarios. It finally reports on issues one has to bear in mind when considering the development of such systems.

Table of Content



Discussion and Analysis4

Promasi Architecture7





Problems Uncovered And Next Steps8

Tools for model creation8



Project Management Software


Software engineering is generally considered a difficult subject to teach. Many authors have mentioned these difficulties and the software industry has complained several times that the level of education of future software engineers is not satisfactory.

An aspect of software engineering education that presents additional hurdles is that of project management because undergraduate students and other junior programmers frequently lack the level of experience required to grasp the importance of several project management concepts. Furthermore, the size of projects that can be exercised in a single semester does not justify many of the project management steps taught in the classroom while students more often than not will put emphasis on the technical aspects of the project and not on the required managerial procedures. One approach used to overcome these problems is by use of simulation games in software project management courses (Callahan, 2002).

One of the novel approaches of the solution proposed here is the separation of the various constituent parts of the simulator through a modular architecture allowing third parties to provide their own add-ons. We also present the development of extensions to the system dynamics modeling language that will allow the construction of simulation models that can easily work with the rest of the PROMASI framework (Callahan, 2002).

Discussion and Analysis

A number of simulators exist for the purposes of prediction or postmortem analysis of projects, but only few project management simulators have been developed for educational purposes. Some of them are in essence system dynamic models with limited interactivity. In these, the student sees a number of controls, in the form of buttons, sliders etc, that directly affect a number of project variables. Changing them, the system dynamics simulator generates new output and the student sees, in the form of graphs, the effect of his actions.

One problem with this approach is the reduced level of interactivity, since the students cannot easily change their choices after they receive feedback from the project. Another problem is that students do not have to go through the process of discovering the variables affecting the outcome, since these are presented directly to them. Another drawback is that the simulation model is tightly coupled to the user interface (Deininger, 2004).

This means that in order to simulate different scenarios or different parts of a project, it is necessary to write the simulator from scratch with a new user interface that takes account of any changes. Finally, simulators of this kind have too few of the characteristics that could classify them as “engaging” or captivating and that makes ...
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