Donald Beckett's blog

Donald Beckett's blog

How's Your Metrics Program Doing?

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."

-  Albert Einstein

How’s your software measurement program doing?  Is it well funded and supported by management, or do you worry about your job the next time the organization decides it needs to be “leaner and meaner”?  Many measurement programs are cancelled or fade into meaningless obscurity.  Why?  Some things are out of your control; but here are a few that will improve your odds for success:

Blog Post Categories 
Metrics Benchmarking

Why Does Project Size Grow?

Seen from an airplane window, the ground looks almost two dimensional.  Only the largest features: cities, rivers, and mountain ranges, stand out against the background.  The true complexity of the terrain only becomes apparent after we land and have to navigate through congested traffic, bad weather, and one-way streets.

Software projects are similar.  Staffing and budget plans are often based on high level requirements that tell us what needs to be done, but not how to accomplish it.  As business objectives are translated into the actions that need to be taken and the work products that must be produced, the size of the project, whether expressed in lines of code, function points, or RICEF objects, increases along with the time and effort required to create them.

This level of detail cannot be seen at the Requirements stage; it is invisible.  But, it can be accounted for and managed.  Software consultant, Capers Jones, has stated that software projects grow 1.5% per month.  A QSM study based on IT projects found that 90% of those projects were larger than they were initially estimated to be.  The average size growth was 15%.  This bias towards size growth was not the result of poor estimating.  At the time the initial estimates were done, the components that accounted for the size growth were simply not apparent.

Blog Post Categories 
Risk Management Estimation

Beyond the Hype: Thoughts on Agile Development

I'm pleased to make available "Beyond the Hype," a presentation that I delivered at the 2011 Practical Software and Systems Measurement Conference.  "Beyond the Hype" is a metrics-based analysis of Agile development that both confirms some “common wisdom” and contains a few surprises.  Does Agile really have higher productivity?  How does Agile quality compare with traditional development?  What are Agile’s demonstrated strengths and weaknesses?  How can you size and track Agile projects?  Using Agile project data from the QSM Database, "Beyond the Hype" addresses these and other questions about Agile.

Read the full presentation here.

Blog Post Categories 
Metrics Agile