AIPM Project Tracker

Why ProjectTracker

There are very good Project Management, Time Accounting and Collaboration Tools available, but all of them lack some major parts needed for an effective Software project management. For this reason the ProjectTracker team started the development of ProjectTracker, a HTML based Software project planning tool supporting combined time documentation and standard project planning features techniques used since more then 20 years of SW development.

ProjectTracker also supports the Agile Scrum development methodology consisting of user stories and story point estimation techniques and with this allows to close the gaps between Agile and Plan-driven concepts. In addition ProjectTracker incorporates heuristic project scheduling and statistical estimation functions based on Lean Six Sigma methodologies translated into the Software development domain.

ProjectTracker is implemented in PHP using MySQL as database and can be installed on wide variety of operating system platforms.

Lean Six Sigma Methodology

Six Sigma is a business management strategy originally developed by Motorola, USA in 1981. Six Sigma enjoys widespread application in many sectors of industry. In recent years, some practitioners have combined Six Sigma ideas with Lean Manufacturing to yield a methodology named Lean Six Sigma.

While Six Sigma is very successfully used in production / manufacturing areas, the application in “non-statistical” domains (e.g. Software development) is not without controversy, however a mapping of Lean Six Sigma and statistical methodologies is possible and, according to the ProjectTracker team experience, provides also added value to the Software project management process.

Lean Six Sigma applied to Software Project Management

The following table identifies the mapping of Lean Six Sigma methods to Software project management methods and the ProjectTracker implementation:

Six Sigma Method(*) Lean Method ProjectTracker Implementation SW Activity 
  • Define work packages / User Stories
  D efine
  Eliminate Waste
  • Early definition of work packages
  • Minimize planning and control effort
  • Support Story Point estimates
  • Estimate efforts with statistical methods
  E stimate
  Empower the team
  • Support Agile Scrum methodology
  • Team members define tasks and efforts them-self (pull-model)
  • Assign team
  A ssign
  • Plan time / schedule allocation
  S chedule
  • Implement Software
  • Measure Tasks / Activities / Changes to effort, dates
  • Support “Story Done”
  I mplement & Measure
  Deliver fast
  • Deliver plan and control data repeatable and in real time
  See the whole picture
  • Closely couple project planning with project steering
  • Transparent and adequate project status communication with team members and stakeholders
  • Improve planning
  R efine
  Improve the learning effect
  • Optimize current task / activities with current plan data
  • Check project status with current project metrics
  • Task history on all changes to efforts, dates available
  Embed quality into process
  • Continuously measure project planning metrics in real time

(*) Six Sigma DMAIC order changed to adapt to “Software model”

Statistical Software Estimation Techniques

Even when Software itself has no “statistical behavior”, the process of Software development and especially the effort estimation process has been heavily investigated. One of the first studies in this area was the Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO), which is an algorithmic Software cost estimation model developed by Barry Boehm.

An excellent summary on Software estimation techniques can be found in the book Software Estimation – Demystifying the Black Art from Steve McConnell, Microsoft Press 2006. The ProjectTracker implements several statistical estimation techniques (e.g.minimum, maximum and expected case effort estimations) explained in the book.