In the book of "The Mythical Man-Month" published in 1975, Frederick Brooks described software development work as a group of prehistoric dinosaurs, mammoths, saber-toothed tiger struggling to break free of the shackles of tar but were unable to escape the fate — missing the project established goals, schedule, and budget requirements. Although there is improvement nowadays, managing a software project is still a known challenging task since it is hard to maintain the balance among different parties’ expectation and the project’s real status. This study proposes a systematic approach that can regularly track a project’s resource spent in order to ensure the left resource, e.g., work days before the due date, is sufficient to complete the remaining jobs; for otherwise, the project will be in trouble and need to be alerted. By earlier detection of such an unwanted situation, the manager will have time to make choices among different options like re-adjusting the corresponding software’s functionalities, designs, reducing the project size, or adding extra resource, in order to restore back the balance of the project.
The idea behind our study is an attempt to adopt the accounting’s double entry bookkeeping journal method into a software development project so that the major resource spent for the daily jobs will be recorded and tracked to check its balance. As we know that a typical software project usually starts at an initial estimation of the software size with pre-allocated resource for it. It is assumed that this resource will be sufficient to complete the development work, but there is no way to check or have a method to maintain its validity during the dynamics software development process. Our study is the first pioneer to address this issue and try to solve it with the proposed method.
Because our usage of “accounting” is different from the traditional approaches, we have created a whole set of new "accounting” accounts special for software projects on top of the double entry journal. The key difference between the two is in the accounting targets, i.e., what you are interested to manage and track. Ours is the engineer “work hours” since it is the most important resource for a software project while the traditional is “money”. We will explain our account structure and discuss its applications and suitability by running some scenarios that usually happens in a software project.
Keywords: Software Project Management, Software Resource, Accounting Principles