The search for a single unifying principle to guide software project management has been relatively unrewarding to date. Most candidate principles are either insufficiently general to apply in many situations, or so general that they provide no useful specific guidance.
This paper presents a candidate unifying principle which appears to do somewhat better. Reflecting various alphabetical management theories (X, Y, Z), it is called the Theory W approach to software project management. Theory W: Make Everyone a Winner The paper explains the Theory W principle and its two subsidiary principles: Plan the flight and fly the plan; and, Identify and manage your risks.
To test the practicability of Theory W, a case study is presented and analyzed: the attempt to introduce new information systems to a large industrial corporation in an emerging nation. The case may seem unique, yet it is typical. The analysis shows that Theory W and its subsidiary principles do an effective job both in explaining why the project encountered problems, and in prescribing ways in which the problems could have been avoided. Click here to read more…
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