Perspectives on Oversight Management of Software Development Projects

by Willis H. Ware, Robert L. Patrick


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An examination of the problems of oversight management of large, important software development projects, i.e., management at levels above that of direct project execution. Senior managers must recognize events in the evolution of the project that might provide high leverage for maximizing the return on their invested time (in knowledge, status, or outcome projections), and that provide insight into project status and clues about possible problems. The Note attempts to identify the unique needs of oversight managers, to indicate how they have been met in industrial environments, to enumerate what working supervisors and project managers must do differently if they are involved with large projects requiring oversight management, and to list what must be done (generally) to build software tools that supply information for oversight management as a by-product of the development process. While the discussion is based on industrial experience, it is also relevant to Air Force oversight management and review.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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