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Software development is a form of career that many people have taken with the boom of technological advancements. On the other hand, organizations have been involved in software development as a business investment or a partial installment to complement the business they are involved in. In this case, organizations have taken the initiative to develop software through third parties as well as to sign contracts with developers to help in meeting certain organizational goals and objectives. With the release of new computerized gadgets, organizations take up projects that are aimed at providing software for these gadgets. One such organization is Apple Inc., which have adopted various projects to develop software for the recently released iPad HD (High Definition). In this research paper, one of the projects undertaken by Apple Inc. is featured and the respective management methodology is reported on. This report is inclusive of characteristics of the project as well as the specific management methodology applied. Although software development projects use the Rational Unified Process methodology, this report highlights a specific approach to the project and various categories and phases applied to it (Kerzner, 2010).
Characteristics of the Project
The project was set up on a timeframe of four weeks, where phases, iterations, workflows, activities, activity steps, artifacts, and roles were set as the primary undetermined characteristics of the project. Phases of this project included drafting and mapping of the primary design of software that would run the iPad HD. Besides the use of the installation platform, which was iOS, mapping involved the establishment of the programming language that would concentrate color and pixel depth to reflect the HD component of the product. For a new product that was assumed and dedicated to turn the handheld computer world around, the set of primarily preinstalled software required the use of a standard class and touch of programming. This gave way to iteration, where several lines of code had to be repeated in various phases of development to eliminate compatibility errors.
Workflows, activities, and activity steps are characteristics of the project that can be connected to each other in terms of their nature and required efforts. In this case, activities and activity steps were involved in the inception and transition phases of the project. The role served by activity steps was to highlight and program the project towards an approach that delivered variables one after another. With the addressed development and compatibility variables, it was easy for the project to determine a workflow prospect that showed a systematic procedure towards goals and objectives of the project (Meredith & Mantel, 2003). The objectives of the project were aimed at accomplishing the goal of integrating style with efficiency in order to deliver software matching hardware to be integrated in the iPad HD.
The last characteristic of the project was the role it was to serve in accordance with the goals of the project. The role of the project was to set basis and foundation for third party developers to emulate a certain number of requirements in their personal development of software. That does not only meet Apple expectations, but also addresses quality and uniqueness. The role was to establish the artifact characteristic that would merge software designs and hardware designs with Apple’s quality standards as well as client’s expectations. Apple is a leading electronic organization that seeks to address customer needs from a customer’s perspective. In this case, the development of software included in a new product is aimed at giving clients a scope of how reliable the iPad HD can be for personal client needs in terms of software and user experience.
With software development, the creation of basis that works towards achieving of objectives and goals of a project depends on the initial planning stage. The planning stage involves the inception phase. This phase is aimed at identifying most use cases in order to define a scope of the project. The scope of the software development project depends on the amount of software sets and the level of urgency given to the project. Theoretically, the inception stage analyzes in detail critical use cases in order to limit the number of objectives to the main goal of the task. The scope and the detailed critical use defined in the inception phase realign the management of the project and participants towards reliable and accountable operation. In regards to the importance of defining the scope of the project, critical use cases limit the amount of resources applied in software development. Similar to mapping, critical use determines the specific use of software enabling management to put the right participants in various labors and mentally demanding positions. Critical use cases set the ground for the definition of the scope in terms of the number of units to be developed as well as the number of entities necessary for accomplishing the task within a specified timeframe (Philippe. 2000).
The elaboration phase of the life cycle of the project details use cases. This presupposes taking care of about 80% of requirements regarding the project. The elaboration of requirements in the case of the project at hand entailed defining individual developers to be featured as the main participants, budget scope, and time limit, addressing pressing issues, eliminating primary constraints like the lack of technical support, and determining a target audience. The development of commercial software takes projects aimed at developing highly demanded software as a business model that can be put in place at the workflow stage. In this case, Apple Inc. defined its project as an innovational business model in software development. The course taken by Apple was to integrate top class technology with matching software that would address personal and corporate needs of its clients. These objectives determined the number of individuals to be featured in the actual software development task limiting the amount to be used and cutting on losses.
The overall role of a project lifecycle is to round up necessary requirements of projects and align them with projects’ objectives. This means that phases of the project life cycle are aimed at establishing a formula of emulation, whereby necessary steps of the project are outlined and managed according to the available resources. The process of detailing use cases takes a chronological order, in which they are identified at the inception phase, and the elaboration outlines the most important details of critical use cases. Lastly, the remaining use cases are identified at the construction life cycle phase. The use of the construction phase is aimed at developing a unified team, whose duties consist on addressing all tasks that should be involved in the actual software engineering field.
The requirements for the development of iPad HD software coincide with the software development of other Apple devices, like the ‘i’ series line of phones and the preceding versions of the iPad. In this case, the syncing option of Apple devices requires Apple to make software that can detect various platforms to allow this option. Therefore, it is understandable that Apple is not aimed at producing and reproducing software, since a number of the available software tools can be used across different platforms. However, available software and the purpose, which the iPad HD will serve, do not mutually agree, as retina displays in smaller iPhone screens do not give the same visual results as the larger HD screen on the iPad HD. In regards to these requirement and deviations across platforms, the transition phase in the project life cycle keeps track and captures changes in requirements. This is an important phase for such an organization as Apple and other freelance developers, because they either make similar software for various devices or for varying operating platforms.
Choice of Project Management Methodology
In regard with business models and operations developed by Apple Inc. to beat such competitors as Samsung, Apple has very little or no choice, but to develop products, software, and offer services that reckon those depicted by its competitors. In this case, a choice of project management methodology for Apple followed a protocol in applying a method that was related to the nature of the project and its associated tasks. In this case, a project management methodology chosen by Apple to address its software needs for the iPad HD was the Rational Unified Process (RUP) methodology (Jacobson, Booch and Rumbaugh, 1999).Work Breakdown Structure
A work breakdown structure of the Apple Inc.’s team involved in the development of software that would be featured in the iPad HD comprised planning, execution, control, stating, and reporting in regards to various stages of the project. The planning stage of the project highlighted a timeframe, budget, and scheduling. According to an Apple developer, “time is of essence whether products, software, and other services are urgently needed or not”. In this case, time is one of the resources that the initial team of 15 developers and 2 project directors prioritized in order to integrate efficiency with the economical use of time. As a resource, a timeframe was limited to 4 weeks with daily engagement in tasks for a 6-hour period every day. In total, the number of developers available would invest 90 hours per day as a group and 42 hours per week on an individual basis totaling to 2,520 hours of teamwork. From a theoretical perspective in regards to a schedule, this timeframe seems small, as coding and developing software from scratch is a tedious job. However, the planning phase selectively included only experienced and reliable developers, who could take up the project in respect to time, efficiency, and observing quality standards.
The scope of the project can be defined as a margin or an area, which should be covered. This project was a pilot-software-development endeavor, whose purpose was to set standards in terms of software development for the highly anticipated iPad HD. As a software vendor, music seller, and computer marketer, Apple Inc. provides various services online; hence, there is a need for a quick and reliable team that can deliver a set of software that will satisfy clients. In this case, the scope of the project did not focus on how much time would be spent on the development of a single application, but rather the number of applications to be developed within the allocated period. In this case, there were sub-stages that were involved in planning. These involved mapping of multilingual application database, while at the same time observing the size and usability of applications. Therefore, the scope was determined to be 150 corporate applications, 200 games, and the stabilization of 300 available applications to match system’s requirements of the iPad HD. If each application would take the same time to put together, the allocated time would only allow for less than 3-hours of teamwork (2520) per application. To ensure that dedicated of participants would meet the deadline, there were four teams of 15 members and 2 project directors working with each around the clock. In this regard, the initial 2520 hours of teamwork were quadrupled to 10,080 hours (four teams investing 2520 teamwork hours each in 28 days).
In the selection of participant developers of this project, only 33% of the possible 60% were fished outside the organization’s employee base. During the 4-week period, the duties of 40 employees that would actively participate in besides the project work were reassigned limiting the cost of the project. This is explained by the case that project’s requirements and the nature of tasks expected from each participant from the Apple’s employee base were not different from the actual job description of the respective participant. Therefore, the difference between project requirements and the official job routine demanded only a slight salary increment in respect to time and credibility demands (Walker, 2000).
The nature of the project was designed in a manner that was definable and understandable to participants. In terms of manageability, the project was well-manageable by 4 pairs of project directors, while at the same time serving as a meaningful unit of work with various specific assignments assigned to highly reliable participants. The period allowed for this project was estimated in regards to personal records of participants in terms of their reliability, credibility, and accountability. The budget did not only feature salaries of participants, but also other resources that were used to facilitate this project. Some of these included the research related to the then clients’ expectations and the nature of similar products in the market. Besides the application of the work breakdown structure as a management tool for projects, the budget was regulated in accordance with software engineering mechanisms presented by the RUP methodology (Boehm and Papacci, 1988).
The Gantt charts above represent time project management in various tasks as well as time management in regards to the project’s time schedule. In this case, the project was subdivided into 13 tasks that were equally important for the project. The mapping task was scheduled to take 5 days within the 24-hour nature of the project. However, the project accounted for the time invested by one participant; hence, it was the reason why collective time was referred earlier as teamwork hours. For five days that were spent on the mapping task, four groups invested 1800 hours in the project. The mapping stage represented the scope of the project, including scheduling predicted time, allocating stage, taking care of the budget in accordance with prefeasibility studies on project variables, determining a stage, defining the requirements that needed to be flexible and those that may pose threats to success, and reviewing the stage of the project analyzed the inception phase to ensure the lack of errors.
Prototyping, presentation, and inception are the second-generation phase according to the project, whereby replica forms of the application to be created were made. The amount of time spent on this stage of the second phase (elaboration) was remarkably limited, as this had been addressed at the initial stages of budgeting and time-planning. Using the teamwork hours’ scale, the number of hours spent on this task was 360 that translated to 6 hours of work for each participant. On the other hand, various tasks and prototypes were presented within the same timeframe as prototyping itself: an undertaking that saved time, since too much was to be done within a short period. Lastly, the inception stage of this phase was different from the inception phase. Initially, inception was used as a phase, but in this phase, it was taken as a stage. The role of the second inception was to launch the actual coding task. This provided participants with the duty of developing software they had previously prototyped.
In accordance with the general coding mechanism, any form of error in the line of coding affects one side or aspect of the entire system. In this case, Apple’s projects took an initiative to break phases into measureable stages that could be managed individually and whose probability of errors could be located at a specific stage. Through this sub-division of phases of the Rational Unified Process methodology elimination, differentiation, and specification stages were incorporated to scrap the availability of errors, to distinguish existing versions in other Apple devices from the new ones elaborated for the iPad HD, and to ensure the compatibility protocol between hardware specifications and application systems respectively. The above tasks were put in place in the construction phase in order to detail any other use cases of the project that might pose threats to its success or fail on some areas.
The scope of the Apple’s project was a wide one, and there were various classes of developmental tasks involved in it; creating applications from scratch and stabilizing some of the available applications. As a means of ensuring that tasks reflected the goals of the project, modification was the only stage allocated for the transitional phase of the management methodology. The modification stage set a foundation for flexibility in terms of countering coding difficulties as well as using earlier versions of applications as prototypes for a new version. The Gantt charts A & B above represent data collected in terms of how much work was done and illustrate the allocation of time. However, it is evident that some tasks were not completed. This is because these were either not very important or had been taken care of in another phase. The finalizing stage of the project did not fall to any particular phase, but was necessary as it allowed for testing of various applications in the iPad HD (Beck, 2000).
The critical path method was applied in this project as a means of developing a timeframe that the project teams could work with. Given the fact that four distinct groups aimed at achieving the same goal, the critical path method was also applied to predict the number of resources that were needed. Besides the actual software development task, the project had its own prototype version that outlined the number of tasks to be carried out and the priority given to those that required more attention (Martin, 2000).
Apple Inc. was in and out of the court with one of the world’s best display and microchip manufacturers, Samsung. These legal suits did not only damage the images of both organizations, but also cost these organizations millions of dollars either in losses or diminished market shares. In this case, legal suits that Apple filed against the sale of Samsung’s Galaxy Tablet 10.1 (for copyright infringement of iPad II) in the European market was an obstacle for the Apple’s development of the iPad HD. On the other hand, the media pressure on Apple with expectations laid on the iPad HD (allegedly called the iPad III) shortened the amount of waiting time. Following the above reasons, the Apple’s project began on a late date requiring mechanisms to manage time. The critical path method was applied to outline critical tasks and limit the possibility of the late completion of the project in regards to its late start. There would have been more time spent on this project. However, there was application of four sets of participants and limiting time spent on such activities as reviewing, elimination, specification, modification, and presentation stages of various phases.
Basic PERT Approach to Scheduling
Precisely, the critical path method and the PERT approach to scheduling use the same mechanism for calculating time and setting timeframes for individual activities. Within the business arena, organizations take special interest, or in other words, they create value in time. For Apple, software development in the presence of market rivals, like Samsung, and competing with operating systems, like Google’s Android, is not only a business undertaking, but also an opportunity to venture in the world of technology with unsurpassed innovations. For this reason, the Apple’s project presupposed the use of the PERT approach towards scheduling alongside the critical path method not only to manage time, but also to predict a period that would serve the urgency of the matter and limit the cost of the project. The importance of these methods outlined a criterion, based on which stages of different phases were connected together limiting the amount of time spent on iterations (any repeated sequences), namely mapping, determining, and elimination stages of inception and construction phases (Booch, 1996).
The identified risks involved in the Apple’s Project include concerns about changes in host operating systems, redesigning of data model, and lateness in data conversion. The analysis of these risks identified that some applications used for creation and modifying (stabilizing) had been used in smaller platforms than the iPad, and the probability that customers might give a negative response was higher than 0.2. Considering Angry Birds, the famous game first featured on resistive Nokia touchscreen phones (Nokia 5800 XpressMusic and Nokia N97), it was likely that redesigning the data model would not yield the same customer response as it was on the previous platforms. Capacitive touchscreens allow for multitouch finger gestures and pose problems associated with user’s experience. A bigger display on the iPad HD was considered a bigger risk, because accelerometer sensors and touch commands were likely to confuse pioneer customers of the iPad. To address this, the project directors modified the developmental approach in that users could be presented with options to regulate onscreen tendencies of sensor games. As a strategy to address some that could face the project’s objective of integrating business with style, generic codes were placed in every final step of coding applications. This enabled applications to be released in trial (beta) and full versions, upon which customer’s response would determine what general lines of code would be replaced with beta-versions of debug applications and unacceptable versions (Garrido, 2009).
The risk can be identified by analyzing of data which can be breached. It involves going through all data records and checking for loopholes that are the risks that could face a company. Therefore, risks in Apple Company can be identified through analyzing of internal data records.
The data collected that shows a likely occurrence of a risk can be analyzed by an expert by taking it to the computer lab and a qualified individual to look at it and make a comprehensive analysis and suggest a way forward.
The response to risk management is a very important issue. In this case after analysis the response is to formulate secure and good internal controls that will in future favor Apple Inc. since it will be free from risk in the right response is taken after analysis. Te response can be to hire experts who can be monitoring the situation right from the ground to prevent any potential risks
The risks posed or are likely to occur can be controlled through effective internal control measures. This involves aspects such as updating of passwords, data encrypting and coding, etc.
This will prevent leakage of information from the Apple Company and make the data secure from any breach to competitors etc.
The project was set up on a timeframe of four weeks, whereby phases, iterations, workflows, activities, activity steps, artifacts, and roles were set as the primary undetermined characteristics of the project. Workflows, activities, and activity steps are specific characteristics of the project that can be connected to each other in terms of their nature and required efforts. In this case, activities and activity steps were involved in the inception and transition phases of the project. The inception stage detailed critical use cases to limit the number of errors per objective to realize the main goal of the task. The scope and the detailed critical use defined in the inception phase realigned the management of the project and participants towards reliable and accountable operation. The elaboration of requirements of the project entailed defining individual developers to be featured as the main participants, budget scope, and time limit, and addressing pressing issues, eliminating primary constraints like the lack of technical support, and determining target audience. On the other hand, the use of the construction phase was aimed at developing a unified team, whose duties were based on addressing all tasks that should be involved in the actual software engineering discipline.
According to the charts (Gantt Bar Chart A and Gantt Pie Chart B), the Apple’s project utilized the Rational Unified Process in managing the project. Standard phases of the project management methodology were followed to ensure the success of the project. However, the use of the RUP methodology was not limited, but rather complimented by the use of the Critical Path Method and PERT (Program Evaluation Review Technique) to frame time within the urgency of the matter. By the use of these tools, the project team was able to limit time spent on petty matters and to emphasize primary tasks. On the other hand, risks were involved in the actual project rather than in its management. Project directors outlined a number of risks ranging from customer satisfaction to variability of user’s experience. This allowed the mapping process to take longer than usual for the sake of ensuring reliability and accountability of project activities.
The implication of this study on my managerial position was to educating me on how different technical projects are as compared to entirely business projects.
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