EWICS: project-management-subgroup

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Project Management Subgroup
BRIEFING PAPER

Introduction

EWICS TC7 (European Workshop on Industrial Computer Systems, Technical Committee 7, Safety, Reliability and Security) is an international workshop of experts in the field of dependability of industrial computer systems with respect to safety, reliability and security. (Details about EWICS TC7 and other subgroups are elaborated in separate leaflets). The project management subgroup has issued the "Guideline for the Project Management of the Development of Critical Computer Systems".

Problem Statement

EWICS TC7, being well aware of the fact that adequate project management may contribute more to the success of critical system development projects than just technical know-how and skill, has been studying the impact of project management on safety-related projects. The Project Management subgroup co-operates with the other subgroups of EWICS TC7, where project management relevant issues have to be tackled.

The subgroup is gathering input of European and US experience from customers, suppliers, assessors and users (e.g. railway interlocking, security systems, process industry, avionics, manufacturing industry, off-shore oil industry, telecommunications, nuclear power plants, health safety etc.), from standardisation ( IEC, CEN/CENELEC, ISO, or sector/application specific ones), from universities, research institutes, test houses, consultants and licensing authorities through its members and contacts. The guideline utilises existing and developing practices and standards. The intended audience includes project managers, senior managers and project teams from customers, users, suppliers, designers, maintenance and assessors.

The purpose of the guideline is to provide guidance on project management throughout the project lifecycle and to increase awareness of best practices. The guideline is not intended to describe traditional project management methods. It concentrates more specifically on the relationship between the criticality of a project and its management.

Contents and Structure of the Guideline

The guideline is available at a price of 17.5 /350 ATS/25 Euro. It is for free to interested parties who commit themselves to a report on their experiences of a trial use (a few members have already applied it for trial use). A "management abstract", a short booklet describing in condensed form the principles elaborated in the guideline in full length is in preparation.

The guideline is divided into three parts and three appendices. Part 1 sets the scene for the reader, explains the purpose and nature of the document and provides a rationale for the guideline, including a conformance clause. Part 2 gives guidance on the critical aspects of project management for the development of critical computer-dependent systems in general (management roles, supporting activities).

Part 3 consists of the detailed description of management activities in such projects during the lifecycle phases, following an extended lifecycle scheme from the initial ideas to decommissioning and replacement:

  • Preparation Phase (A)
  • Initiation Phase (B)
  • Specification Phase (C)
  • Design Phase (D)
  • Build Phase (E)
  • System Integration Phase (F)
  • Installation Phase (G)
  • System Validation and Handover Phase (H)
  • Project Review Phase (I)
  • Operations and Maintenance Phase (J)
  • Decommissioning and Replacement Phase (K)

During a large project, these phases need not be sequential, nor may all phases be of the same significance for the success (explained in the "Conformance Clause"). It takes into account that there may be a number of "project managers" in such projects, for example representing the customer (including the role of the user), supplier and assessor with respect to technology, personnel and facilities.
In each section (phase) the following issues are discussed:
  • Introduction (general considerations for this phase and management role)
  • Project Risks in this Phase
  • Planning Activities
  • Economic Activities
  • Managing Relationships
  • People Management Activities
  • Technical Activities
  • Major Decisions for System Criticality
  • Supporting Activities (mainly based on ISO 9000-3, ISO 9001)

The appendices give an overview on quality management according to the ISO 9000 model (A), on verification (B) and on documentation (C).
Contacts and Membership
The subgroup has, at the moment, approximately thirty members from twelve European countries and US, being from industry, universities, test-houses, regulatory and assessment/licensing bodies. It meets with EWICS TC 7 members four times a year.
The Project Management Subgroup would welcome new members to participate in further development of the guideline, to review the work and to provide information on applicability of the guideline in practice (case studies). For information about the Project Management Subgroup of EWICS TC7, please contact the subgroup chairman:
Erwin Schoitsch
Austrian Research Centers Seibersdorf
A-2444 Seibersdorf
Tel.(+43)-2254-780-3117
Fax (+43)-2254-7213
erwin.schoitsch 'at' arcs.ac.at

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