QSM Resources

Thirty years of research – in one convenient place.

Articles and Whitepapers

In the interest of supporting the software development industry, the following resources are available free of charge.

Win New Business with an Agile Bidding Solution Based on SLIM

By Doug Putnam ( November 2016 )

In today’s competitive marketplace you have to be on your game if you expect to win new IT integration contracts.  You need to put together a masterpiece proposal on a shoe string budget.  You are working with scarce requirements, a short time fuse, limited availability of technical solution engineers, limited business intelligence and losing isn’t an option. This article by QSM's Doug Putnam discusses how the SLIM agile bidding solution will save you time and money and allow you to make more informed bidding decisions.

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Obey the (Software) Laws

By Donald Beckett ( November 2016 )

Many business leaders are unacquainted with the wealth of knowledge about how software projects behave. No surprise, they are unable to explain why these projects fail repeatedly, much less do something about it. In the first of a series of articles for Projects at Work, QSM's Don Beckett outlines the five fundamental “laws” of software development that all executives (and teams) should understand and follow.

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The QSM Agile Round Table

By Laura Zuber ( October 2016 )

For well over a decade, agile software development methods have been adopted by a wide variety of software organizations across the globe.  QSM has worked with these types of software organizations for more than 35 years to establish data-driven, defensible estimation and lifecycle management practices as the foundation of quality software projects and products. The QSM Agile Round Table was formed to provide a platform to brainstorm the role of estimation in agile environments, and chart a path toward better understanding for all stakeholders.  A mixture of long-standing and newer customers shared their questions, challenges, and experiences to answer the big question, and effectively communicate the relevance and benefits of scope-based estimation.  This article by QSM's Laura Zuber is the first of the QSM Agile Round Table series of publications that will present specific concepts and practices that connect SLIM and agile, creating common ground for the benefit of all.  It is our hope that this series will answer some of your questions, and that you will share your thoughts.  

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Estimation Center of Excellence

By Larry Putnam, Jr. ( October 2016 )

Why do so many companies fail at software development projects? More often than not, they haven’t built a foundation of process, people and tools to accurately plan and estimate. An Estimation Center of Excellence is a great starting point to bring these components together and maximize their benefits. In this article for Projects at Work, Larry Putnam, Jr. describes how all of these components work together to help organizations achieve software project success.

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The Importance of Continuous Tracking

By Larry Putnam, Jr. ( August 2016 )

Developing early software project estimates is an industry best practice, but creating those estimates is only half the battle when it comes to improving productivity. By continually keeping the pulse of a project—measuring performance against estimates and adjusting when necessary—teams can gain valuable insight into their software development processes. This insight can be leveraged in future development cycles, leading to more efficient production and a better bottom line. Estimates are just the beginning. In this article for Project Times, Larry Putnam, Jr. explains how project tracking, reforecasting, and post project review are three valuable strategies teams can employ to monitor the development process and improve outcomes.

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How a Center of Excellence Can Help Teams Develop Excellent Software

By Doug Putnam ( June 2016 )

The ways that enterprises handle software development have changed immensely over the past couple of years. But as many organizations are upending traditional business cultures as they strive for greater collaboration, some core principles remain the same. Business stakeholder requirements need to be delivered within a reasonable timeframe and budget, with a good user experience and solid return on investment. By implementing an Estimation Center of Excellence, organizations can ensure that their projects remain on track, even (or perhaps especially) in highly agile environments. In this article originally published in SD Times, Doug Putnam outlines best practices for establishing an Estimation Center of Excellence.

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Sizing Matters

By Jay Daniel ( May 2016 )

Agile is about adapting to change, not completely abandoning documentation or dismissing helpful planning and estimating inputs. In this article for Projects at Work, QSM's Jay Daniel explains how the benefits of an agile approach can shine brighter when used in conjunction with a fundamental development practice such as sizing.

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5 Core Metrics to Reduce Outsourced Software Project Failure

By Joe Madden ( April 2016 )

Outsourcing was supposed to make government IT executives’ lives easier. Yet in too many cases, it's had the opposite effect, leading to cost overruns, inefficiencies, and solutions that do not work. In this article for GCN, QSM's Joe Madden explains how the five core metrics of software estimation make a powerful tool that can be used at each phase of the software acquisition life cycle to help government IT program managers make more objective, quantitative decisions.

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Avoiding a Doomed Software Project by Checking the Staff Build-up Plan

By Gene Shuman ( February 2016 )

The staff build-up plan defines how many, what kind, and when staff are needed for the entire project. Too many or too few, bringing them on too early or late, employing the wrong mix of expertise or experience - avoiding all these pitfalls with a staff build-up plan will ensure a successfully staffed project. Reviewing proposals for a complex project, such as major software development or support, is a challenging activity. Since labor is the major cost and feasibility determinant for such projects, requiring the submission of a "staff build-up plan" and verifying its realism is crucial in determining whether a proposed project can realistically succeed. In this article for Contract Management Magazine, QSM's Gene Shuman identifies the key components of an effective staff build-up plan.

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10 Steps to Better Metrics

By Carol Dekkers ( August 2015 )

An effective software measurement program is a long-term investment, not a quick fix. This article, originally published in Projects at Work, identifies 10 steps to ensure your organization's metrics deliver a positive return on that investment, from more accurate cost and schedule estimation, to streamlined processes and better insights into current and future commitments.

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