Software Engineering Module:  Understanding and Developing Managerial Skills

"Knowledge without practice breeds a "blue-sky" theorist.  Practice without knowledge breeds a trial-and-error layperson.  Knowledge and practice breed a well-grounded, competent practitioner." - Michael Badawy [Badawy, p. xiv]

Table of Contents


  • The purpose of this module is to introduce the student to management which cuts across the boundaries of many disciplines.  Without competent management, most organizations would not exist and projects would not be accomplished.  In fact, management is the key to bringing people, money, plans, schedules, and other resources together to accomplish work which could not be done by only one person.
  • Specifically, this module covers an introduction to management, how the transition to management may be made, how organization is used to facilitate management, and the types of functions managers perform:  planning, decision making, controlling, and evaluating.  In addition, some material is included that pertains to how management applies to software engineering, however, later modules go into software project management in more detail.



  • The student should
    • be an upper-level undergraduate or graduate student.
    • have an understanding of basic software engineering concepts, such as software process, requirements analysis, design, implementation, quality assurance, and software testing.



  • At the end of this module, the student should understand:
    • how management is used at all levels of an organization
    • where project management fits into an organization
    • the responsibilities and difficulties of managing
    • how to organize departments and people for effective managing
    • the basics of how to plan and make decisions
    • the basics of how to control and evaluate management entities


Learning Material



  • The two articles below will give the student more specific information on management and interesting management situations.
    • Sheila Brady and Tom DeMarco. "Management-Aided Software Engineering." IEEE Software, vol. 11, no. 6, November 1994, pp. 25-32.
      • This article talks about the management experiences of Sheila Brady and Tom DeMarco who are experienced software engineering managers.  It will help the student to understand some of the problems in software project management and how to reduce them.
      • What suggestions given by Sheila Brady and Tom DeMarco would help with the situation below?  Be specific in your answer.
        • You have been selected to become the project manager on a project that is just starting, but that will be large and complex.  In fact, the software is to help a pilot fly a new Air Force jet fighter and to assist with keeping the pilot safe in combat.  Your task is to put together the team to accomplish this project.  There is some pressure that this project be successful as many of your company's government projects have been reviewed and cancelled; i.e., 90 out of 100 projects were cut by the government.  Employees are under a state of stress and feel uncertain about whether or not they will be laid off.  Upper management has been making many noises about implementing more quality controls and rules to make sure that languishing projects either do not happen or are found early so that corrective action can be done more quickly.  Technical workers and management feel poorly toward each other.
    • Thomas Teal. "The Human Side of Management." Harvard Business Review, November/December 1996, pp. 35-44.
      • This article talks about the experiences of several managers, their pitfalls, and their good decisions.  It will help the student understand the difficulty of managing and transitioning from bad to good management.
      • Using the examples of managers in the paper, how would you approach the situation in the previous problem?  Be specific in mentioning which managers you are using in your solution.
  • In [Badawy], many exercises are given that take students through management scenarios that help to broaden the student's view of how managers operate.  Some suggested exercises are:
    • Case Study 1.2 Promoted Engineer - new manager dealing with difficult employee problems of declining productivity.
    • Case Study 2.1 The Overworked Engineering Manager - a manager who really is an engineer rather than a manager.
    • Case Study 3.1 Ed the Engineer - follows the career of a technologist as he progresses from a technical professional to a program manager.
    • Case Study 5.2 Time Management - managing time as a manager.
    • Case Study 7.1 Bypassing the Boss - when employees go around the boss.
    • Case Study 8.1 White Manufacturing Company - new manager and new rules.
    • Case Study 9.1 Introducing the Matrix - deciding to implement matrix management.
    • Case Study 10.1 Planning the Overtime - schedule changes and overtime.
    • Case Study 10.2 Proper Communication - managers who do not communicate.
    • Case Study 12.1 Who Controls the Cost? - trying to lower costs.
    • Case Study 12.2 Employee Work Control - declining employee morale.
    • Case Study 13.1 The Performance Appraisal - appraising an employee's performance.


Additional Information

  • Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute - This institute is dedicated to the improvement of software engineering and has resources on software project management.
  • Construx - Construx is a software company that develops software and offers several training courses on software engineering subjects including management.  The CEO and Chief Software Engineer of Construx, Steve McConnell, has published several books on developing software which provide hard-earned management advice.
  • IEEE Software Engineering Standards - include standards for software engineering documents, such as project management plans.
  • Project Management Institute - professional organization established in 1969 and dedicated to the profession of project management.  It publishes and maintains the project management body of knowledge, offers seminars, defines project management standards, and offers certifications in project management.
  • Software Engineering Body of Knowledge - This guide is a broad and in-depth study of the knowledge that pertains to software engineering and is available in published final form through the IEEE Computer Society.  One of the knowledge areas of interest is software project management.
  • You may want to explore undergraduate and graduate management degrees at higher education institutions.
  • You may want to look up management associations and standards in your own country and/or other countries.



  • [Badawy] Michael K. Badawy.  Developing Managerial Skills in Engineers and Scientists, 2nd Ed.  New York, NY:  Van Nostrand Reinhold, ISBN 0-442-01861-4, 1995.
    • This book is well referenced and discusses how to transition from a technological professional to management.
    • Dr. Michael K. Badawy has refereed publications on managing technical professionals and experience as a practitioner, researcher, educator, and trainer.
    • This book is chosen because it is one of a few that address how to become a manager.  In addition, this book contains case studies which reinforce the author's material.



  • Author:  Dr. Susan A. Mengel, Texas Tech University, Computer Science,
  • Course:  CS 5363 Software Project Management
    • This module may be taught in four lectures depending upon what other material is added by the instructor.  For example, when lecturing, the author adds material from personal experiences and challenges the students to come up with answers to management problems themselves during the lecture.  [Badawy] has a number of good problems and case studies to present to students.
    • The learning material in the module is used to reinforce the lectures.
    • The author does not use slides to teach this material, but instructors who would like to use slides may wish to include some of the material in [Badawy] not present in the learning material.
  • Most of the learning material for this module is condensed from [Badawy].  Additional material is included from thoughts and experiences by the author and her students.  Additional references are given in the learning material as they are used.
  • This module was created in order to enable students to understand the broader context of management.  This helps students understand where project management fits into an organization, what project management is, and the problems of project management.  In addition, this module facilitates the introduction of software engineering project management concepts to students by creating a common management vocabulary and taking advantage of management themes common to many disciplines.

03/31/04 01:07:29 PM