Elisabeth Pendergrass's blog

Elisabeth Pendergrass's blog

New Article: Obey the (Software) Laws

Obey the (Software) Laws

The modern enterprise is software dependent. Whether you develop software in house, commission custom software, or purchase and install commercial software products, software projects are an important cost component and must be well planned and executed. But top-tier business leaders are rarely involved in the day-to-day management of software projects. Their job is to make decisions that affect a firm's strategic direction, policies and profitability. Business leaders can, however, establish procedures and practices that help projects succeed. In this new series for Projects at Work, Don Beckett explores how. The first article outlines the five fundamental "laws" of software development that all executives (and teams) should understand and follow.

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Articles Project Management

New Article: The QSM Agile Round Table

QSM Agile Round Table

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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Blog Post Categories 
Agile Articles

Webinar Replay: Best Practices for IT Portfolio Budgeting

IT Portfolio Budgeting

If you were unable to attend our recent webinar, a replay is now available.

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
  • Financial Management

Doug Putnam 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. 

Watch the replay!

Blog Post Categories 
IT Budgeting Webinars

New Article: Estimation Center of Excellence

Estimation Center of Excellence

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.

Read the article!

Blog Post Categories 
Articles Estimation

New Webinar: Best Practices for IT Portfolio Budgeting

Webinar presented by Doug Putnam on Wednesday, Oct. 12 at 1:00 PM EDT.

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
  • Financial Management

Doug Putnam 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. 

Watch the replay!

Blog Post Categories 
Webinars IT Budgeting

Join QSM at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2016

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2016
16 - 20 October 2016 | Orlando, FL
gartner.com/us/symposium

Thinking about attending the upcoming Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2016, October 16 – 20, in Orlando, FL? As a sponsor, we’d like to invite you to see a demonstration of our SLIM Suite project estimation and business analytics solution at the Solution Showcase. Stop by QSM booth #1056 and enter our drawing to win a free “Quick-look IT Budgeting Maturity Assessment” - a $5000 value. 

All CIOs and IT leaders have unique goals and challenges around two key areas: aligning to their CEOs' business priorities and advancing their careers, digital roadmaps and organizational influence. Gartner Symposium/ITxpo helps you address both, with a flexible, accessible agenda mapped to your top priorities and anchored in three key areas: Technology and Information, Leadership and Business Strategy. From future trends to surprising revelations about what global CIOs really think, you'll hear it first at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo - directly from the experts who devote their careers to exploring what's over the horizon. 

Register now with priority code SPSYM189 and save $550 off the standard registration rate.

Blog Post Categories 
QSM News

New Article: Five Steps to Taking the Guesswork Out of Project Budgeting

IT Budgeting

IT project budgeting is a necessary evil in every organization, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that traditional approaches aren’t incredibly effective. It is possible to make this challenging task better by breaking with tradition and thinking about budgeting differently. Today, most organizations approach budgeting in an overly simplistic manner: a manager makes a call for project estimates and receives responses based on expert opinions, task-based spreadsheets, anticipated budget restrictions, available resources, and – let’s face it – wild guesses. Most often, the estimates are nothing more than a collection of hours, with no differentiation by job role or schedule. This inefficient process can result in 40 percent of projects missing their marks, simply because they weren’t budgeted accurately. Let’s take the guesswork out of the equation. In this article for Bright Hub Project Management, QSM's Doug Putnam provides a few simple steps to ensure that your projects remain on point – and on budget.

Read the full article!

Blog Post Categories 
IT Budgeting Articles

New Article: The Importance of Continuous Tracking

Importance of Continuous Software Project Tracking

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.

Read the article!

Blog Post Categories 
Project Management

New Article: How a Center of Excellence Can Help Teams Develop Excellent Software

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.

Read the full article!

Blog Post Categories 
Articles Estimation

New Agile Article: Sizing Matters

Cone of Uncertainty

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.

Jay Daniel is a Professional Services Manager with QSM's Consulting Services team. He is an IT professional that has served in a variety of consulting roles, ranging from Program and Project Management to providing Independent Verification & Validation (IV&V) support to clients. For the past five years, Jay has focused his attention on agile methodologies in the implementation of software development efforts. He is a certified project manager (PMP), scrum master (CSM), and product owner (CSPO).

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Agile Articles Sizing