QSM Resources

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Webinars

QSM hosts regular webinars featuring new products, services, and hot topics in the industry. Replays of past webinars can be viewed below.

"Our Evolution Around Estimation" - As the Apps Global CTO for Microsoft Services, Lenny Fenster sees the need for estimation in many shapes and sizes throughout the world. In his twenty years at Microsoft, Lenny has also seen many different attempts to improve how Microsoft Services estimates time and effort for software development projects. Not all of them have hit the mark. In this presentation turned lively Q&A session for the QSM 2018 Virtual Conference, Lenny talks about the evolution his team is driving in Microsoft Services to improve the maturity, consistency, and defensibility of software estimation for some of the largest and most complex software projects in the world. He talks specifically about the intentional separation of Scope and Estimation and the use of SLIM as a key ingredient in the success they are now having.

"Strengthening Estimation Governance in a Large-Scale Organization with SLIM-Collaborate" - ​​​​​​​Large, complex, multi-region organizations are uniquely challenged to maintain and comply with their own internally-defined best practice standards. Estimation is no exception. As a result, it's often difficult to effectively deploy standards and ensure they are being used, and share the resulting output data with the enterprise at large.  A centralized tool accessed through a web interface can go a long way to addressing some of these issues. In 2016 Q4, IBM piloted SLIM-Collaborate and started to transition towards SLIM-Collaborate H1 2017. In this presentation for the QSM 2018 Virtual Conference, Angelo Moore and Christophe Guillou of IBM Global Services share the motivating factors that drove IBM to look more closely at SLIM-Collaborate, namely better control and collection of enterprise estimation data, platform independence (Windows/AppleOS), simplified use and compliance and tracking. IBM's deployment was successfully completed H1 2017 - usage is building and ease of use continues to encourage potential users to adopt.

"Using Project History to Produce Estimates" - We can thank Albert Einstein for the popular definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If that same thing includes producing inaccurate estimates resulting in projects that do not meet their time, effort or scope objectives, better results can indeed be obtained by doing something different: utilizing project history. Learning from and making use of project history can surely help us to achieve better estimation as well as improved project execution results. These results can be achieved with little effort and in a relatively brief period of time. The objectives for at least some Enterprise Project Management Offices (EPMOs) include goals such as: improve the predictability, agility, and speed of project delivery. To an EPMO’s Estimation Center of Excellence (ECOE), this means improving the accuracy of estimates, particularly those made early in the project life cycle. To accomplish this, a project benchmarking process can be initiated to collect pertinent data into a project history database as projects close. This presentation by Daniel Horvath of Progressive Insurance for the QSM Virtual Conference outlines some findings and challenges regarding the process for collecting and using company specific project history data to produce better estimates, and thereby improving predictability, agility, and speed of project delivery.

“Big Rock Estimation with SLIM-Estimate” - ​​​​​​​Aaron Jeutter of Rockwell Automation presented the technique of “Big Rock Sizing” during the QSM Agile Round Table series and provided an article published on the QSM web site under “Big Rock Estimation: Using Agile Techniques to Provide a Rough Software Schedule / Resource Estimate.”  He presents the technique during this webinar session for the QSM 2018 Virtual Conference.  The methods are used to provide early sizing and estimates based on high level requirements, which get refined using agile techniques as the work progresses.  This technique helps teams determine the size of a release early in absence of a “big upfront requirements phase.”

"Five Core Metrics to Reduce Outsourced Software Project Failure" - ​​​​​​​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. Originally published in an article in Government Computer News, Joseph Madden of KPMG discusses how the five core metrics of software: product size, process productivity, schedule duration, effort and reliability 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.

"Understanding the Physics of Software Development" - In this presentation from the QSM 2018 Virtual ConferenceLarry Putnam, Jr. reviews some of Larry Putnam Sr’s original research and the data that it was based on.  He then explores if that original research continues to stand the test of time when compared with data derived from modern development approaches.  He also shows how modern agile development practices exploits some of the laws Larry discovered 40 years ago.  Finally, he discusses the role of estimation in today’s increasingly agile world.

"The Evolution of SLIM-Suite Tools" - The SLIM-Suite of tools has come a long way from Larry Putnam’s Software Lifecycle Methodology research in 1978.  Over the years, what we now know as SLIM tools have evolved from a mainframe-based, timesharing platform to early desktop versions deployed on Hewlett Packard 80 series machines to the first IBM PCs running BASIC/DOS. Over the next decade, SLIM-Estimate moved to Windows and was joined by SLIM-Control, SLIM-Metrics and SLIM-DataManager, and SLIM-MasterPlan. In 2012, SLIM tools migrated to the web with the first release of SLIM-Collaborate.  To extend your analysis options, the base applications were enhanced by three APIs, integrations to Clarity and other PPM tools, SmartSheets, and the Agile Adjuster.  In this presentation from the QSM 2018 Virtual Conference, Laura Zuber and Kate Armel will explore the past, present, and future of SLIM tools and find out what features you would most like to see as QSM begins our fifth decade.

"Vision, Value, and Velocity: The Role of Scope-Based Forecasting in the Scaled Agile Framework" - The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) has realized widespread adoption by organizations desiring to accelerate product delivery without sacrificing quality. The alignment of product vision, business value, and development velocity is an key contributor to successful large-scale agile development.  Presented by Laura Zuber, this webinar demonstrates how scope-based estimation techniques can be used to model the relationship between vision, value, and velocity at different levels of the framework and stages of implementation to guide release planning and management decisions.

"Introducing QSM and the SLIM-Suite" - Want to learn more about our tools? This summary level demonstration provides an introduction to the SLIM Suite, and highlights some new features that bring estimation to the enterprise.  QSM Vice President Keith Ciocco shows you how to sanity-check your estimates with industry data, provide what-if analysis, and negotiate estimates. Get an overview of the SLIM-Suite, including SLIM-Estimate, SLIM-Control, SLIM-Metrics, SLIM-MasterPlan, SLIM-DataManager, and SLIM-Collaborate.

"Best Practices for IT Portfolio Budgeting" - IT budgeting is anything but simple, so why do so many organizations do it in an overly simplistic way? Instead of relying upon detailed task-based spreadsheets and wild guesses, IT budgeting should be leveraging historical data and predictive modeling. This webinar will discuss the business process and application of estimation to the challenges of building the annual IT budget. Presented by QSM Co-CEO and industry expert Doug Putnam, the webinar will focus on how this process can support the following aspects of portfolio management: Pipeline - Demand Management, Risk Management, Resource Management, or Financial Management. Doug will demonstrate how a macro-level estimation process can leverage the very basic information typically available early in the development cycle to generate release level budgeting information. He will then show how to aggregate the releases to provide portfolio level assessment and adjustments that will conform to business level constraints. This webinar will be useful for anyone involved in or responsible for building the annual IT budget. 

"Introducing SLIM-Collaborate 2.0" - Formerly offered as SLIM-WebServices, the SLIM-Collaborate 2.0 upgrade enables anytime, anywhere access to development project estimates, plans, performance, and more; organized and presented in ways that make sense to executives, managers, and team members. SLIM-Collaborate's online architecture augments the power of our desktop applications, allowing stakeholders to instantly share insights and expertise across the enterprise and project lifecycle. In this webinar, QSM's Laura Zuber demonstrates the power and simplicity of this tool that empowers truly effective teams in a secure cloud architecture.

"Top Down Resource Demand - The Missing Ingredient in Resource Capacity Planning" - As companies try to innovate and at the same time keep software development costs in line, balancing the projects you plan with the resources you need becomes a major challenge. Portfolio and resource management systems, such as CA PPM (formerly known as CA Clarity), have many of the ingredients you need to meet that challenge, but a key ingredient is missing: credible resource demand for the projects you plan to do. Andy Berner shows how QSM SLIM-Estimate’s Top-Down Resource Demand capabilities provide that missing ingredient. He explains how SLIM-Estimate predicts resource needs for your projects and why it provides the best demand estimates for resource planning. He demonstrates how SLIM-Estimate provides demand information in a way that matches your resource planning process, and how integration with SLIM-Estimate enables the successful use of the resource management capabilities of your portfolio management system.

"What's New in SLIM-Suite 9.0" - A foundation of the SLIM philosophy is to know what your team is capable of producing and never promise to deliver more than those finite limits. Leveraging a history of completed project core metrics enables you to quantify your capabilities, and not only provide a defensible basis of estimation, but support statistical analysis for project benchmarking and identifying performance improvement opportunities. QSM's newest release of SLIM-Suite, version 9.0, provides a number of enhancements to simplify and organize completed project data in SLIM-DataManager and manage data set definitions and queries in SLIM-Metrics. In this webinar, Laura Zuber demonstrates key new features of both products. You will see how providing project size details, master keyword lists, multiple view layouts, and multi-select variable analysis equip you to expand your historical project repository and increase its use.

"Key Components of a Successful Estimation Process" - Focused on planning for software projects, this IEEE presentation by Keith Ciocco explains some of the key components of a successful estimation process. This is a summary level view focusing on the importance of leveraging historical data, sizing, and measuring productivity when estimating at the organizational and project level. This presentation includes a demonstration of the SLIM Suite of tools to show how we can automate and streamline the estimation process.

"Agile Estimation: Beyond the Myths, Part 2"In Part 2 of this PDU-approved two-part webinar series (which can be viewed independently or together), presented by QSM's Andy Berner offers corrections to common agile estimation myths, such as: why velocity is not a good predictor of release duration, why burndown charts will not be close to straight lines, why change and churn are not the same thing, and why looking at just the values of metrics alone is not enough. This webinar shows you how to leverage the SLIM estimation and tracking tools to properly interpret metrics collected by agile teams and ensure that agile projects meet their goals. Andy Berner demonstrates how SLIM fits with the principles of agile development, and discusses milestones, productivity, project control, data collection, and looks with an eye towards further research.

"Agile Estimation: Beyond the Myths, Part 1" - When it comes to agile, there are common myths and misconceptions about estimation. While some longstanding principles about software estimation still apply, agile methods require some significant changes to how we estimate. This webinar shows you how to tailor the SLIM estimation tools and methods specifically to an agile development environment to estimate, measure, and analyze your agile software development projects. Andy Berner demonstrates how SLIM fits with the principles of agile development, and discusses what needs to be estimated, how size factors in, and how to accommodate different iteration lengths and types of work. This will allow you to optimize the choices and plans for the work of your agile teams.

"QSM's Software Sizing Infographic: A Visual Aid for Understanding Software Size" - Software size, the amount of functionality in a given software release, is arguably the most critical of the five core metrics of software estimation. There is little point in tracking effort, duration, productivity and quality if you are unable to quantify what you are building. Yet, despite its critical importance, software sizing is often a difficult concept for many to understand and use properly in the estimation process. In this webinar, Joseph Madden gives an overview of QSM's Software Size Matters Infographic, which addresses the challenges of measuring software size and identifies the most popular sizing methods and when to use them. With over 17 years of software sizing experience, Joe provides case studies and best practices for real world application.

"Avoiding Disaster in IT Outsourcing: A Quantitative Solution for Vendor Management" - As organizations in nearly every industry sector transform into software companies, many executives, project managers, and procurement departments are being thrust into the role of managing IT vendors on software projects, yet they do not have the expertise to do so effectively. On the vendor side there are often situations where the IT vendor is unintentionally cornered into a no-win “death march” project. The good news is that there is a proven vendor management solution that can reduce or eliminate most of these risks and create a win-win for both purchasers and vendors. In this session, Joseph Madden, QSM's Vice President of Professional Services, will provide an overview of how leveraging a quantitative solution can improve vendor management on IT contracts. The webinar is based on real-life lessons learned and case studies from QSM - a recognized industry leader and pioneer in the field of software estimation and control.

"Organizational Success: A Practical Guide to the Estimation Center of Excellence" - High performing companies already know that superior software estimation is not only possible, but essential to gaining and keeping a competitive edge while simultaneously helping to protect IT investments and drive positive project outcomes. One way to enable proven best practices with the estimation discipline is to formalize an Estimation Center of Excellence (ECoE). While most organizations have unique features and challenges, establishing such a center has certain foundational elements. A well-thought out launch and execution can dramatically increase transparency, collaboration and value across an enterprise or division. In this session, J.D. Ottenbreit, QSM's Commercial Director of Professional Services, will provide an executive level webinar to cover some of the practical steps, pitfalls and critical success factors involved with bringing to life a truly successful, sustainable ECoE. The webinar is based on real-life lessons learned and case studies from QSM - a recognized industry leader and pioneer in the field of software estimation and control.

"From Proposal to Project: Getting Resource Demand Early" - When evaluating proposals, any good project manager knows it doesn't do any good to charter a project if the right people aren't available or if the cost and schedule are unrealistic. It becomes very important early on in the proposal process to be able to run accurate feasibility estimates that produce skilled staff outputs, matching resources needed for a project to the resources you have. This webinar, presented by QSM's Andy Berner and Keith Ciocco, demonstrates a powerful top-down approach, which allows organizations to do early resource planning and powerful what-if analysis without breaking out the work breakdown structure (WBS). This process matches the supply to the demand and is easy, credible, and correct.

"How a Collaborative Estimation Process Produces Realistic Estimates Fast" - A business stakeholder (project manager, account representative, etc.) is faced with an all-too-familiar challenge: his client requests a quote for developing a new application within a very short timeframe, and not much information about scope to go on. In this webinar, QSM's Laura Zuber shows how the business stakeholder can produce a Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) estimate on the spot, using QSM's web-based solution, SLIM-WebServices. Follow his process as he collaborates with corporate estimation specialists to refine those initial estimates as they advance to more detailed stages. By incorporating contributions of a variety of project stakeholders in the estimation analysis process, the business stakeholder is able to make better business decisions.

"Function Point Analysis Over the Years" - Function point analysis has played an important role in software measurement and analysis for 30 years. What can we learn from trends spanning this substantial time period? What does the "average software project" look like? Has productivity increased or decreased? What are the impacts of different staffing strategies? In this webinar, Don Beckett leverages more than 2,200 validated projects counted in function points and completed since the year 2000 from the QSM historical database to answer these questions. It is easy to have opinions about any of these questions. QSM is fortunate to be able to evaluate them empirically. Please join us for a metrics-based analysis of these questions and more.

"Bringing Estimation and Business Intelligence to the Enterprise" - Successful software development estimates depend upon more than just inputs, especially at the enterprise level. They require collaboration between stakeholders, consistency in estimation methods, and historical basis. It's also essential to account for uncertainty and risk. In this webinar, Keith Ciocco demonstrates how SLIM-Estimate and SLIM-WebServices work together to bring reliable business intelligence to the enterprise, while leveraging historical data to increase estimation accuracy and credibility.

"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.