Elisabeth Pendergrass's blog

Elisabeth Pendergrass's blog

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!

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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!

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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).

Read the full article!

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Agile Articles Sizing

New Article - 5 Core Metrics to Reduce Outsourced Software Project Failure

Software Estimation Best Practices

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. Remember the initial rollout of Healthcare.gov? Exactly.

It doesn’t have to be this way.  Believe it or not, there’s a proven solution that has stood the test of time.  In 1977, Lawrence Putnam Sr. discovered the “physics” of how engineers build software by successfully modeling the nonlinear relationship between the five core metrics of software: product size, process productivity, schedule duration, effort and reliability. 

In this article for GCN, QSM's Joe Madden explains how the five core metrics of software estimation 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.

Read the full article!

Blog Post Categories 
Articles Metrics Project Management

New Article on InfoQ - Understanding Quality and Reliability

Understanding Quality and Reliability

QSM's C. Taylor Putnam-Majarian and Doug Putnam recently published an article, Understanding Quality and Reliability, on InfoQ.

One of the most overlooked but important areas of software estimation, measurement, and assessment, is quality. It often is not considered or even discussed during the early planning stages of all development projects, but it’s almost always the ultimate criteria for when a product is ready to ship or deploy. Therefore, it needs to be part of the expectation-setting conversation from the outset of the project. So, how can we talk about product quality? It can be measured a number of ways, but two in particular give excellent insights into the stability of the product.

Read the full article on InfoQ!

Blog Post Categories 
Articles Quality

New Article: Avoiding a Doomed Software Project by Checking the Staff Build-Up Plan

Forecasting from Defect Signals

The staff build-up plan defines how many, what kind, and when staff are needed for the entire project. Too many or too few, bringing them on too early or late, employing the wrong mix of expertise or experience - avoiding all these pitfalls with a staff build-up plan will ensure a successfully staffed project. Reviewing proposals for a complex project, such as major software development or support, is a challenging activity. Since labor is the major cost and feasibility determinant for such projects, requiring the submission of a "staff build-up plan" and verifying its realism is crucial in determining whether a proposed project can realistically succeed. In this article for Contract Management Magazine, QSM's Gene Shuman identifies the key components of an effective staff build-up plan.

Read the full article!

Blog Post Categories 
Effort Project Management