Doug Putnam examined 390 contemporary applications of the same size, a significant portion of which used agile methods and tools, to see what matters more - staffing decisions or methodology. He discovered that while the additional staff reduced the schedule by approximately 30%, the project cost increased by 350%. The additional staff also created 500% more defects that had to be fixed during testing. In this article, Doug Putnam identifies a staffing "sweet spot" and outlines a step-by-step planning process that uses predictive analysis and early estimation to more accurately account for staffing needs.
A recent initiative put forth by the DoD was to improve its estimation process by leveraging historical data collected from forensic analyses of recently completed software development efforts. This article by Taylor Putnam-Majarian and John Staiger, discusses (1) some of the challenges faced throughout this initiative, (2) the data collection process, and (3) how one can leverage data to improve cost estimates. This article was originally published in Crosstalk Magazine.
This article discusses how projects can now be estimated and bid with reasonable precision, allowing for a fact-based position in negotiations.