Last Thursday, I hosted a webinar introducing our new, cloud-based estimation tool, SLIM-WebServices (watch the replay here). The Q&A portion of the presentation, which was fielded by both Larry Putnam, Jr. and myself, featured some great questions from the audience about the new tool's capabilities. Here are the highlights:
How will this work with the desktop version? Do they work together or separately?
Either way. The web version comes with enough information to work as a standalone. If you want more configuration capability, then you’ll want to have the desktop products and you can have a power user creating templates for the web version.
How do I use SLIM-WebServices if I don’t have the desktop tools?
You can have QSM create the templates for you on a consulting basis if you don’t have the desktop tools. SLIM-WebServices also includes standard templates representing multiple lifecycles that you can download very easily. However, any customization would need to be done with the desktop tools or with QSM Consulting.
Can we have a company-specific estimation database so that users can select from previous estimates?
Absolutely. In fact, that's a core tenant of our estimation and measurement philosophy. We do build the QSM Database into our measurement and estimation products, but we encourage you to build up your own historic database and generate your own performance trends and use that as the basis for your benchmarks and estimates. You can use the Closeout Service to collect your project metrics as they finish, which is a very efficient way to collect your historic data. Then you can use SLIM-Metrics to create your own custom performance trends and upload them into SLIM-WebServices to leverage in your benchmarks and estimates.
How do I implement SLIM-WebServices?
In terms of hosting, SLIM-WebServices can either be hosted by QSM as a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) or your organization can host it on-premise.
In terms of implementing SLIM-WebServices into an organization, there is training, support, and consulting available to assist you with configuring and using the site. It's a very similar concept to how we assist our users in implementing our desktop tools.
In the Feasibility Service, what if the project is larger than anything in the company database? How would you select "relative size?"
If you know empirically that this project is larger than anything in your organization's historical database, then you would want to use a different sizing technique, like Business Requirements. If you know that the biggest system in my database is on the average of 1,000 requirements, then you would enter the size directly to the best of your knowledge. Is this twice as big as the largest project we've done before? This would be the type of information we would use to gauge the size of a system relative to what we have in our historical database. This is a good question, because when you're getting outside of the realm where you have data, you're going to have to make some assumptions.
You could also leverage the QSM Database in this situation. You could select from similar types of systems and use our statistical bins for relative size, because we will have a much broader sample of projects than you might have in your own historical database. Our customer support and consultants can also assist you with sizing.
Watch the answers to these questions and more on the webinar replay!