Developing mission critical software

soft on the product, hard on the project

A broad approach is needed in the case of developing complex, company-wide software. The system configurations include hardware, firmware, and software, some of them outside the project boundaries. They also involve several business processes, sometimes with complex interactions. As software's adaptive nature does not allow the planning of software development to be made deterministically (Lewis, 2001), the generally accepted project knowledge and practices, described in the PMBOK(r) Guide (PMI, 2000), are not easily applied to software development. That was the very problem found in a Brazilian government institution. This organization had great difficulty managing product configuration and project scope during the simultaneous development of three company-wide information systems, which had fuzzy requirements and were coupled in different degrees. This article presents a product and project scope management framework that was the result of work done in this institution, and answers the question of how to de
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