The purpose of the Observatory Software System (OSW) is to integrate all software and hardware components of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) to enable observations and data capture; thus it is a complex software system that is defined by four principal software subsystems: Common Software (CSW), Executive Software (ESW), Data Management System (DMS) and Science Operations Support System (SOSS), all of which have interdependencies with the observatory control systems and data acquisition systems. Therefore, the software development process and plan must consider dependencies to other subsystems, manage architecture, interfaces and design, manage software scope and complexity, and standardize and optimize use of resources and tools. Additionally, the TMT Observatory Software will largely be developed in India through TMT’s workshare relationship with the India TMT Coordination Centre (ITCC) and use of Indian software industry vendors, which adds complexity and challenges to the software development process, communication and coordination of activities and priorities as well as measuring performance and managing quality and risk. The software project management challenge for the TMT OSW is thus a multi-faceted technical, managerial, communications and interpersonal relations challenge. The approach TMT is using to manage this multifaceted challenge is a combination of establishing an effective geographically distributed software team (Integrated Product Team) with strong project management and technical leadership provided by the TMT Project Office (PO) and the ITCC partner to manage plans, process, performance, risk and quality, and to facilitate effective communications; establishing an effective cross-functional software management team composed of stakeholders, OSW leadership and ITCC leadership to manage dependencies and software release plans, technical complexities and change to approved interfaces, architecture, design and tool set, and to facilitate effective communications; adopting an agile-based software development process across the observatory to enable frequent software releases to help mitigate subsystem interdependencies; defining concise scope and work packages for each of the OSW subsystems to facilitate effective outsourcing of software deliverables to the ITCC partner, and to enable performance monitoring and risk management. At this stage, the architecture and high-level design of the software system has been established and reviewed. During construction each subsystem will have a final design phase with reviews, followed by implementation and testing. The results of the TMT approach to the Observatory Software development process will only be preliminary at the time of the submittal of this paper, but it is anticipated that the early results will be a favorable indication of progress.