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Articles & Papers
In the interest of supporting the software development industry, the following resources are available free of charge. Click a category to jump to the corresponding section:
QSM periodically hosts webinars featuring new products, services, and hot topics in the industry. Replays of past webinars can be viewed below.
"Building an Estimation Center of Excellence" - The pressure to succeed in software development is higher than ever - the current economic climate demands we do more with less, there is fierce global and domestic competition, time-to-market expectations are high, and your company's reputation is on the line. When projects fail, the failure to meet expectations is more often an estimation or business decision failure than a production or execution issue. In this webinar, industry expert Larry Putnam, Jr. takes you through the key elements and step-by-step process for setting up an estimation center of excellence that will ensure your projects succeed.
"Using Benchmarking to Quantify the Benefits of Process Improvement" - With increasing pressure to improve quality while cutting costs, process improvement is a top priority for many organizations right now; but once we've implemented a process improvement initiative, how do we accurately measure the benefits? Benchmarking is critical to determining the success of any serious process improvement program. As with any type of measurement program, it requires an initial reference point to measure progress. To set our point of comparison, we first need to perform a benchmark on a contemporary sample of projects that are representative of the typical work that we do. In this webinar, industry expert Larry Putnam, Jr. will take you through the necessary steps to perform a successful benchmark - from collecting quantitative and qualitative data to establish the initial baseline benchmark all the way through to performing follow up benchmarks on new projects and process improvement analysis.
"SLIM-WebServices: Project Estimation Goes Global" - For too long, project estimation intelligence has been confined to a niche group, making it difficult for business stakeholders and decision makers to get critical project planning information when they need it. Introducing SLIM-WebServices from QSM - the lighter, leaner, liberated way to share the power of SLIM with an entire enterprise. With this new cloud-based tool, we are empowering more people in more positions at more places in an enterprise - improving visibility, transparency and informed decision making. Ultimately, this is an organization's best defense against cost overruns, schedule slippages, and failed implementations. Presented by QSM Marketing Manager, Elisabeth Pendergrass, this webinar gives an overview and live demonstration of SLIM-WebServices.
"Using Function Points and SLIM to Support a Complete Estimation Process" - How can project managers use their Function Point history to improve the way they estimate their projects? Leveraging historical data to generate and sanity check macro-level estimates early in the project lifecycle can save thousands of dollars in planning time and prevent signing up to unrealistic project schedules and budgets. Now that we've learned the basics of estimating before requirements, Keith Ciocco demonstrates how to use industry data and Function Point history with the SLIM Suite of Tools for a more mature estimation process.
"Estimating before Requirements with Function Points and Other Metrics" - It is well known that project estimating based on parametric models has reached a sophistication where realistic estimates, schedules and predictable outcomes are indeed possible given a set of software and systems requirements. However, increasingly with the fast pace of Agile and other development methods is the requirement for estimates much earlier in the life cycle. What happens when project estimating moves back a full phase – before requirements, and acquisition managers, contractors, auditors and financial analysts are forced to develop and analyze estimates based on unknown requirements? Presented by industry expert Carol Dekkers, this presentation examines how to identify and document assumptions, create a logical and traceable project map including locations of potential “landmines” (calculated risks) that accompany this preliminary estimating. Experienced estimating professionals and contract managers will find a basis for common ground in this presentation – as the advice presented will create the basis for dialog and discussion of early estimates.
"Successful Estimating Processes Using the SLIM API" - How do best in class development organizations achieve maximum return on investment from their estimation programs? By leveraging the SLIM API for integrations between estimation tools and detail-oriented products, development teams are able to simplify estimation processes and broaden the estimation program user base. Presented by Carl Engel of IBM Global Services, Scott Lancaster of State Street Bank, and Larry Putnam, Jr. of QSM, this webinar explores two successful implementations of the SLIM API between third party tools and the SLIM Suite.
"Shifting to Agile Methods - The Keys for Long-Term Success" - Changes to the software development process, such as moving toward Agile methods, must demonstrate sustainable results over time versus just short-term wins. There are two keys to reaching long-term success that should be considered up front – the new process must be repeatable and measurable. In this session, AccuRev’s Chris Lucca and QSM’s Larry Putnam, Jr. explore these two keys to success.
"Maximizing Value Using the Relationship between Software Size, Productivity, and Reliability" - Now, more than ever, software projects need to efficiently deliver reliable software. However, many development plans unintentionally guarantee a less than optimal result. Presented by Paul Below, this presentation describes how to maximize value by establishing minimum acceptable reliability and how to take advantage of the apparent paradox between software size and productivity through appropriate selection of team size and schedule duration.
"Best in Class SLIM Estimation Processes for Package Implementations" - To be able to estimate package implementations, we need to be able to size them and support productivity assumptions with relevant data. Presented by Keith Ciocco, this webinar demonstrates package implementation sizing processes and how to calibrate SLIM to package implementation project trends.
"An Introduction to the SLIM Suite of Tools" - Want to learn more about our tools? This webinar will give you an introduction to the SLIM Suite, as well as highlight some of the new features for users that are already familiar with SLIM. QSM Vice President Keith Ciocco shows you how to sanity-check your estimates with industry data, provide what-if analysis, and negotiate estimates with clients or management. Get a full overview of the SLIM-Suite, including SLIM-Estimate, SLIM-Control, SLIM-Metrics, SLIM-MasterPlan, and SLIM-DataManager.
"Overcoming Challenges in Estimating Agile Projects" - Agile has become a popular development methodology in software and systems development in recent years, but how do we tailor our estimation processes to this new methodology? Traditional methods do not apply in terms of project sizing and planning. How can we find an accurate point of comparison with industry trends? Presented by industry veteran Larry Putnam, Jr., QSM takes you through the basic steps on how to customize the estimation process to Agile.
"Introduction to the High Performance Benchmark Consortium" - QSM has introduced a program specifically designed to help software development or acquisition organizations quantify and demonstrate performance improvement over time. The High Performance Benchmark Consortium is for clients who want to be best in class software producers and are willing to be active participants in the program. In today’s economic environment it is more important than ever for both suppliers and acquirers to compete more effectively and provide value to their customers. Members of the Consortium gain access to proprietary research that leverages the QSM historical benchmark database of over 10,000 validated software projects. Presented by benchmarking expert and head of QSM Consulting, Joe Madden.
"Managing Productivity with Proper Staffing Strategies" - In this economy, we have to do more with less. We want to maximize productivity and minimize costs and defects. The problem is, the way to achieve maximum efficiency is counter-intuitive. We always think more effort will produce more product. The fact is, often less effort is needed. Presented by industry expert, John Bryant, this webinar explains and proves the correct way to maximize productivity while at the same time minimizing cost and defects. It can be done. We'll show you how.
Technology Can Only Do So Much by Kate Armel. Kate Armel examines the applicability of Fred Brooks' age-old maxim - “Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.” - in today’s IT development environment. Using data from the QSM Database and research performed by QSM’s Don Beckett, Kate analyzes projects sized from 50K to 500K ESLOC to determine whether project size has any effect on the point at which adding more people causes a project to come unglued. Is Brooks’ statement still universally true? The results might surprise you… March, 2011.
Data Mining for Process Improvement By Paul Below. What do you do if you want to improve a process and have 100 candidate predictor variables? How do you decide where to direct causal analysis effort? Similarly, what if you want to create an estimating model and you have so many factors you do not know where to start? Data mining techniques can be used to filter many variables down to a vital few to attack first or to build estimating models to predict important outcomes. Originally published in CrossTalk Magazine, January 2011.
Making The Right Choices For Healthy Software - By David Rubenstein. SD Times looks at the latest QSM research into best- and worst-of-class projects to see how successful software development managers estimate, plan, and manage projects. January 2006.
How QSM Products Support PMI® Knowledge Areas A convenient matrix showing how QSM tools support different PMI® Key Knowledge Areas.
SLIM and Christopher Columbus - By Ernst Van Waning.The commercial development of software is not a process that can be done 'by the eye': the long accepted software crisis is now seen as a chronic situation facing the IT industry. Developing software is hard enough but managing software development projects is even harder to do 'by eye'. Tools are needed to show your development process as it really is: in project execution, in plans and bids and in comparison to other projects in the market. Easy to say, but what does it actually mean? August 2005. PDF version
"Ensuring Delivery of Highly Reliable, Complex Software Releases" - By Jim Greene.A case study from major telecom supplier demonstrates how to estimate, plan, and manage distributed subsystems that are developed separately, then integrated to form a release. Examines the challenges of delivering a distributed, high-reliability system. October 2003.
"Telecom Software Benchmarks: 10 Years Apart" - By Jim Greene.Benchmarks taken 10 years apart measure the benefits of process improvement initiatives and the impact of increased time-to-market pressures on a major telecom supplier. September 2003.
"How Much Software Can Be Built In A Year " - By Doug Putnam.In today’s world, customers expect to see software projects delivered in increasingly shorter cycles. The maximum time most IT customers seem willing to wait is about one year. In this fast-paced environment, the question becomes: just how much software can a typical IT shop create in 12 months?March 2002.
"What I Did Last Summer: A Software Development Benchmarking Case Study " - By James T. Heires.This article describes a vendor-supported benchmarking study of an applications development department. The study established a quantitative performance baseline of the organization and compared it to industry trends. October 2001.
"QSM Software Research Bulletin" - By Doug Putnam.Results of a long-term productivity study covering the period from 1982-1997 in condensed format. November 2001.
"Software Quality Assurance (SQA) of Management Processes Using the SEI Core Measures" - By Jim Greene.Using the right metrics for the three key management processes - benchmarking, estimation and risk analysis, and project tracking and control - to deliver a quality product. September 19, 2001.
"Build in Quality" - By Lawrence H. Putnam Sr. and Ware MyersQuality is the positive side of quality-defect continuum. The use of metrics is fundamental to allow sufficient time and effort to build a quality product. April 2001.
"Build it Faster!" - By Lawrence H. Putnam Sr. and Ware Myers How can we build software faster? Specifically, how can metrics help reduce time-to-market? April 2001.
"Productivity Statistics Buck 15-Year Trend" - By Douglas Putnam. Examines the effects of new technologies such as ERP, object-oriented development, and Internet/e-commerce on long-term productivity trends from the QSM database. July 2001.
"Software by the Numbers: an Aerial View of the Software Metrics Landscape" - By Michael Mah and Lawrence H. Putnam, Sr. As we muse on what 'new metrics' apply in the ever-changing world of software, we should also be asking ourselves the more basic question, 'What will we do with metrics?' . Many organizations don't have the basics down before they pile on measure after measure. This article originally appeared in Vol. 10, no. 11 of AMERICAN PROGRAMMER. 1998.
"Linking the QSM Productivity Index to the SEI Maturity Levels" - By Lawrence H. Putnam, Sr. This paper explores the correlation between QSM's Process Productivity Index (PI) and SEI CMM level. July 2000.
"Purchasing Software Intensive Systems Using Quality Targets" - By Jim Greene. DOD process for tracking reliability against quality targets. November 2000.
"16 Critical Software Practices For Performance-Based Management" - The Airlie Software Council was formed in late 1994 under the coordination of Dr. Norm Brown of the DoD Software Program Managers Network. Its mission is "to identify best software practices in Government and Industry, and to cause these best practices to be implemented in DoD software management, development and maintenance".
"What We Have Learned" - By Lawrence H. Putnam and Ware Myers. Lessons learned from studying the SEI core metrics and process productivity (PI). Published in Crosstalk, April 2000.
"Without Software, No Megatrends" - By Lawrence H. Putnam and Ware Myers. Improving software productivity is the key to supporting the megatrends of the future.
"Key Things We Have Learned" - By Lawrence H. Putnam and Ware Myers. A retrospective view on how Larry Putnam's seminal thoughts (and one new observation) on software development have held up over the past 25 years. February 2000.
"The Princess and the Pea" - By Lawrence H. Putnam and Ware Myers.
"A Throughput Measurement Procedure Using SLIM" - By Lawrence H. Putnam. How to calculate and demonstrate the value of staffing and process improvement strategies using SLIM-Estimate.
"A Process for Costing Requirements Changes" - By Mike Ross.
"Analysis of On-Board Spacecraft Software Development" - By Jim Greene.
"Avoiding the Premature Delivery of Software" - By Jim Greene.
"Estimating Software Size and Uncertainty" - By Jim Greene.
"Estimating When You Are Moving to New Technologies" - By Doug Putnam.
"First, Get the Front End Right" - By Lawrence H. Putnam, Michael Mah, and Ware Myers.
"Home Runs in Management Science" - By Doug Putnam.
"Independent Research on Software Reuse" - By Mike Mah and Ira Grossman.
"Larry Putnam's Career in Software Estimation" - By Larry Putnam, Sr.
"Managing Major Distributed Software Development" - By Jim Greene.
"Measures For Software Acquisition" - By Jim Greene.
"Product Review -- SLIM-Metrics®: A Powerful New Repository and Analysis Tool" - By James T. Heires, Rockwell Collins, Inc. See also ADT Magazine, June 1998 issue.
"QSM Reliability Model." - By Doug Putnam.
"Size Does Matter: Continuous Size Estimating and Tracking" - By Mike Ross.
"Sizing and Controlling Incremental Development" - By Jim Greene.
"The (Almost) Perfect Software Project Using the SEI Core Measures" - By Jim Greene.
"Haste Makes Waste When You Over-Staff to Achieve Schedule Compression" - By Doug Putnam.
"Simple Project Tracking Approach Puts You in Control of Your Project" - By Doug Putnam.
"You Need the Right Map to Know Where You're Going With Process Improvement" - By Doug Putnam.
"Team Size Can Be the Key to a Successful Project" - By Doug Putnam.
The Familiar Metric Management Series was written by Larry Putnam, Sr. and Ware Myers for Cutter Consortium's IT Metrics Strategies.
(32) Effort, Development Time, and Defects Interact
(31) Get Yourself a Little Whip!
(30) Multiple Uses of Software Metrics
(29) Year 2000 Turns the Mythical Man-Month on its Head
(28) Small is Beautiful-Once Again
(27) QSM Database Shows Drop in Productivity
(26) Management Vision Precedes Metrics
(25) "Let Me Count the Ways"
(24) Experience the Wisdom That Goes With Knowing Where You've Been
(23) Know What You Have to Do
(22) Leonardo da Vinci Knew Feasibility
(21) Come to dinner, Henry!
(20) From Work to the Bit-Stream
(19) "The software cost estimation problem is solved!"
(18) What Will the Year 2000 Fix Cost Me?
(17) Productivity of the Reuse Organization
(16) Software Reuse
(15) The Future of Metrics in Software Development
(14) Produce More Systems
(13) The Effort-Time Tradeoff: It's In The Data
(12) The Power of the Tradeoff
(11) Negotiate from a Fact-Based Position
(10) Evaluating a Technology
(7) Executive Backing
(6) Software Adds Business Value
(5) Time Boxing
(2) Familiar Metric Management +
(1) Familiar Metric Management
QSM periodically publishes a newsletter aimed at keeping our current and prospective customers informed about new developments and issues relevant to software project management. Back issues of our newsletter are available as PDF files for download, and can be viewed with the Adobe Acrobat® Reader. Click on the issue number to download the desired newsletter.
February 2012 Newsletter
November 2011 Newsletter
April 2011 Newsletter
February 2011 Newsletter
April 2010 Newsletter
January 2010 Newsletter
October 2009 Newsletter
QSM Launches New Website and Blog
March 2008 QSM News Alert
January 2008 QSM News Alert
October 2007 QSM News Alert
May 2007 QSM News Alert
September 2006 QSM News Alert
July 2006 QSM News Alert
April 2006 QSM News Alert
February 2006 QSM News Alert
December 2005 QSM News Alert
August 2005 QSM News Alert
November 2003 QSM News Alert
July 2003 QSM News Alert
QSM Perspectives Volume 20 Number 2 (Fall 1997)
QSM Perspectives Volume 20 Number 1 (Spring 1997)
QSM Perspectives Volume 19 Number 2 (Winter 1996)
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