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A typical project for me is a 3 months web development and Android Apps project with a 3 person team. All development work is started and required all software development life cycle activities (planning, implementation, testing, documenting, deploying and maintenance).

  • Are there any rules or guidelines for tailoring the software development life cycle to different projects?
  • For example, when could an agile development model best be applied to initiate the project and track workflow?
  • Related to this, how can I better determine what can be done to improve project quality and better stay on track?
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    This is a very vague problem description for a very wide question. Consider reading books on the topics you are interested. – Picarus Sep 30 '12 at 20:06
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    Please edit your question to make it easier to answer. What is the team? What is the customer? What PM and team collaboration tools do you use? Since every project requires potentially different models and techniques, it is hard to answer without knowing more details. – bytebuster Oct 1 '12 at 10:41
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    Edited to try to make the question more precise but not sure if I succeeded. I think the question speaks towards tailoring of project methodologies which (a) I think is important and (b) isn't usually at front-of-mind for a lot of PMs because of habit and/or organizational culture/requirements. – Doug B Oct 1 '12 at 14:42
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I am going to use an educated guess based on what was said, as it is a bit unclear exactly what you are looking for.

How would I manage different project with respect to the software development life cycle?

My first suggestion would be to read Agile Software Development: A gentle introduction .

When should agile development model be applied to initiate the Android Apps project to track the workflow?

You start Agile as soon as you decide to start applying or integrating Agile principles to the project.

In particular you are going to want to do a bit of research into DevOps to start using Automation to deliver continuous software. It's not just about stand ups and a product backlog. A couple of podcasts that I would recommend that will help with getting some of the concepts are Developer Smackdown and This Agile Life. There is a lot of information on Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment, Continuous Delivery, and Continuous Testing on StackOverflow.

What would I do to improve the quality of the project and be on track?

I would say use Extreme Programming or Scrum. Great starting point, if I am too assume you know nothing about either. This is all actually based on this question being posed in a manner that sounds like you are jumping in head first and unsure about all the information out there, a lot like I was about a year ago and trying to decipher what is out there. It was frustrating to be honest.

Good luck ^_^

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At a very high level the principles of good project management (focus on the end product, have a viable business case, learn from experience, tailor your methods to your needs, manage the project in stages, clearly define roles & responsibilities, open & timely communications, etc) are universal across project types. You should work to ensure these principles are followed on all projects.

In terms of specific methodologies, look at your needs, your client's needs, your corporate culture and the team you have to adjust your approach and overcome obstacles. Get a consensus from all the key stakeholders about how much control over the project they want and the level of documentation they require.

The key point is that your method needs to be tailored to what you require. I'm sure most PMs have worked in environments where you fill out X, Y and Z forms/documents because "that is what we do" without any real organizational realization that all projects are unique and that there are cases when you will have to do "more" and cases where it makes sense to do "less". For example, you likely don't need project plans with identical contents for each of two projects when one is 3 months long and worth $50,000 the other is 18 months long and worth $1 million.

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how can I better determine what can be done to improve project quality and better stay on track?

What do your lessons learned from the prior project state?
Perhaps I'm reading too deeply into "typical project" - but that implies to me that you're not a complete novice; you've danced this dance before. I would expect that the closeout from prior projects would be the key resource to identify risks to quality and schedule. I'm a risk management maven, so I'd look first at whatever records were in my risk registry.

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