Elisabeth Pendergrass's blog

Elisabeth Pendergrass's blog

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!

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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!

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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.

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Effort Project Management

QSM Named One of 20 Most Promising Productivity Tools Solution Providers by CIO Review

CIO Review Top Productivity Tools

QSM is pleased to announce we have recently been selected as one of the 20 Most Promising Productivity Tools Solution Providers by CIO Review. In the last few months, CIO Review has analyzed hundreds of productivity tools solution providers and shortlisted the companies that are at the forefront of tackling challenges in the arena. A distinguished panel comprising of CEOs, CIOs and analysts including CIO Review’s editorial board has selected the final list of Productivity Tools Solution Provider of 2015. In their selection process, they looked at the vendor’s capability to fulfill the need for cost-effective and flexible solutions that add value to the productivity tools landscape.

QSM establishes a productivity baseline for its customers’ projects, identifying immediate opportunities for improvement, while providing the ability to measure the return-on-investment (ROI) once those improvements have been implemented. QSM's Software Lifecycle Management (SLIM) tools support better decision making at each stage of the project development lifecycle.

Read the full report.

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Productivity QSM News

Webinar Replay: Top Down Resource Demand - The Missing Ingredient in Resource Capacity Planning

If you were unable to attend our recent webinar presented by QSM's Andy Berner, a replay is now available.

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.

Watch the replay!

SLIM-Collaborate 2.0 - What's in a Name?

We're happy to announce the launch of SLIM-Collaborate™ 2.0, the solution formerly known as SLIM-WebServices. The new name better represents how our customers use this "light and lean" version of our trusted software estimation, tracking, and benchmarking suite. 

As technology has become more integrated into every facet of our work and life, the number of stakeholders in software projects has grown. Collaboration among all of these parties is critical in making sure software is designed, developed, and deployed correctly. Not everyone involved needs the detail and power of our SLIM solution, but they all need visibility into project status. SLIM-Collaborate gives that transparency with an easy-to-use interface and dashboards designed with business users in mind. This transparency and involvement of all users improves estimation accuracy and ultimately achieve software project goals on time and on budget.

This update is not just a facelift; we’ve updated more than just the name. The new version includes a number of new features and enhancements that help the entire project management team estimate, implement and track its projects to avoid failure, such as:

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SLIM-Collaborate

ITMPI Webinar - Agile Estimation: Beyond the Myths

Presented by for ITMPI on Sept. 9 at 11:00 AM EST by Dr. Andy Berner.

When it comes to agile, there are common myths and misconceptions about estimation. In this webinar, QSM’s Andy Berner will offer corrections to these, such as:

  • Why we still need to estimate duration on agile projects
  • Why velocity is not constant on a project, or across projects
  • Why setting expectations based on scope is still important, even as we “embrace change”
  • Why burndown charts will not be straight lines
  • Why you still need to plan for work on requirements, even though it’s not all “upfront”

While some longstanding principles about software estimation still apply, agile methods require some significant changes to how we estimate. This webinar will show you how to tailor estimation tools and methods specifically to an agile development environment to estimate, measure, and analyze your agile software development projects. Andy Berner will demonstrate how top-down estimation fits with the principles of agile development, and will discuss 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.

Register for this webinar!

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Agile Webinars

New Article - 10 Steps to Better Metrics

10 Steps to Better Metrics

An effective software measurement program is a long-term investment, not a quick fix. In this article originally published in Projects at Work, Carol Dekkers identifies 10 steps to ensure your organization's metrics deliver a positive return on that investment, from more accurate cost and schedule estimation, to streamlined processes and better insights into current and future commitments.

Read the full article!

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Metrics Articles

New Book - Understanding Software Estimation, Negotiation, and Demand Management: An Executive Primer

Understanding Software Estimation, Negotiation, and Enterprise Demand Management: An Executive Primer

QSM is pleased to announce the release of a new book, Understanding Software Estimation, Negotiation, and Demand Management: An Executive Primer. Historically, only 20% of software projects are completed successfully and with software becoming critical to nearly every company and industry, having such a high rate of failure is simply unacceptable anymore. It is for this reason that QSM has compiled this collection of articles that will aid anyone from project managers to CIOs in implementing software estimation, negotiation and demand management methods efficiently to reduce costs.

Larry Putnam, Sr., founder of QSM and a pioneer and top problem solver in the software estimation and measurement field, provides the foreword to the book, which is co-authored by his son and granddaughter, Doug Putnam and Taylor Putnam-Majarian. Combined, the authors bring more than 40 years of experience in software measurement to a range of topics, including: