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The Complete Software Project Manager by Anna P. Murray

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Chapter 3Project Approaches; Off-the-Shelf and Custom Development; One Comprehensive Tool and Specialized Tools; Phased Launches and Pilots

The phrase “project approach” covers several topics that usually need to be considered at the very start of a project. Some subjects under project approach touch on technological philosophy. You may not have a philosophy yet. Don't worry! We're about to introduce you to some key viewpoints. Another aspect of project approach deals with the high-level technology decisions that must be made at the beginning of projects.

As you embark on your project, it's important to evaluate and decide upon what your approach will be. Deciding project approach means addressing the following questions:

  • Will I use an off-the-shelf product, or custom coding?
  • Will I choose a product that does many things, or a specialized product for each aspect of my software project?
  • Will I launch the software all at once, or in phases?
  • Will I pilot the software first before launching?

These questions are critical to project planning and execution. The questions may not be answerable up front. Your research and planning phase, covered in Chapter 5, is often critical to finding the questions' answers. But it's important to be aware of the key project approach options before you start.

The Custom vs. Off-the-Shelf Approach

Most software projects start with planners and engineers asking whether there is some off-the-shelf piece of software that addresses the business requirements, ...

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