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A model for enhancing software project management using software agent technology

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dc.contributor.advisor Smith, E. (Prof.) en
dc.contributor.advisor Barnard, Andries en
dc.contributor.author Nienaber, R. C. (Rita Charlotte) en
dc.date.accessioned 2009-08-25T11:02:20Z
dc.date.available 2009-08-25T11:02:20Z
dc.date.issued 2009-08-25T11:02:20Z
dc.date.submitted 2008-06 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10500/2296
dc.description.abstract The present study has originated from the realisation that numerous software development projects either do not live up to expectations or fail outright. The scope, environment and implementation of traditional software projects have changed due to various reasons such as globalisation, advances in computing technologies and, last but not least, the development and deployment of software projects in distributed, collaborative and virtual environments. As a result, traditional project management methods cannot and do not address the added complexities found in this ever-changing environment. In this study the processes and procedures associated with software project management (SPM) were explored. SPM can be defined as the process of planning, organising, staffing, monitoring, controlling and leading a software project. The current study is principally aimed at making a contribution to enhancing and supporting SPM. A thorough investigation into software agent computing resulted in the realisation that software agent technology can be regarded as a new paradigm that may be used to support the SPM processes. A software agent is an autonomous system that forms part of an environment, can sense the environment and act on it over a period of time, in pursuit of its own agenda. The software agent can also perceive, reason and act by selecting and executing an appropriate action. The unique requirements of SPM and the ways in which agent technology may address these were subsequently identified. It was concluded that agent technology is specifically suited to geographically distributed systems, large network systems and mobile devices. Agents provide a natural metaphor for support in a team environment where cooperation and the coordination of actions toward a common goal, as well as the monitoring and controlling of actions are strongly supported. Although it became evident that agent technology is indeed being applied to areas and sections of the SPM environment, it is not being applied to the whole spectrum, i.e. to all core and facilitating functions of SPM. If software agents were to be used across the whole spectrum of SPM processes, this could provide a significant advantage to software project managers who are currently using other contemporary methods. The "SPMSA" model (Software Project Management supported by Software Agents) was therefore proposed. This model aims to enhance SPM by taking into account the unique nature and changing environment of software projects. The SPMSA model is unique as it supports the entire spectrum of SPM functionality, thus supporting and enhancing each key function with a team of software agents. Both the project manager and individual team members will be supported during software project management processes to simplify their tasks, eliminate the complexities, automate actions and enhance coordination and communication. Virtual teamwork, knowledge management, automated workflow management and process and task coordination will also be supported. A prototype of a section of the risk management key function of the SPMSA model was implemented as `proof of concept'. This prototype may be expanded to include the entire SPMSA model and cover all areas of SPM. Finally, the SPMSA model was verified by comparing the SPM phases of the model to the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle. These phases of the SPMSA model were furthermore compared to the basic phases of software development as prescribed by the ISO 10006:2003 standard for projects. In both cases the SPMSA model compared favourably. Hence it can be concluded that the SPMSA model makes a fresh contribution to the enhancement of SPM by utilising software agent technology. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (vii, 202 leaves)
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject No keywords available en
dc.subject.ddc 005.3
dc.subject.lcsh Project management
dc.subject.lcsh Computer software -- Development -- Management
dc.subject.lcsh Intelligent agents (Computer software)
dc.title A model for enhancing software project management using software agent technology en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.department School of Computing en
dc.description.degree Ph. D. (Computer Science) en


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