System dynamics in software project management: towards the development of a formal integrated framework
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- Rodrigues, A. & Williams, T. Eur J Inf Syst (1997) 6: 51. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ejis.3000256
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Successful software development is becoming increasingly important to many companies. However, most projects fail to meet their targets, highlighting the inadequacies of traditional project management techniques in this unique setting. Despite breakthroughs in software engineering, management methodologies have not improved, and the major opportunities for better results are now in this area. Poor strategic management and related human factors have been cited as a major cause for failures, which traditional techniques cannot incorporate explicitly. System dynamics (SD) aims to model the behaviour of complex socio-economic systems; there has been a number of applications to software project management. SD provides an alternative view in which the major project influences are considered and quantified explicitly. Grounded on a holistic perspective it avoids consideration of the detail required by traditional tools, looking at the key aspects of the general project behaviour. However, if SD is to play a key role in software project management it needs to be embedded within the traditional decision-making framework. The authors developed a conceptual integrated model, the SYDPIM, which has been tested and improved within a large on-going software project. Such a framework specifies the roles of SD models, how they are to be used within the traditional management process, how they exchange information with the traditional models, and a general method to support model development.