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New Article: A Lead Role in Software Success

A Lead Role in Software Success

When organizations base their decisions on desires instead of data, it usually backfires. Here are four important actions that executives, PMO directors and program leaders can take to improve the predictability and success rate of their software development and enhancement projects. This is the second article of a three part series by QSM's Don Beckett for Projects at Work. You can read the first article here.

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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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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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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.

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Articles Estimation

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.

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IT Budgeting Articles

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.

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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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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.

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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.

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The 2016 Software Almanac: A Look Back at 35 Years of Predictive Analytics for Business Intelligence

QSM Software Almanac: 2016 Edition

Let’s face it -- times have changed since the initial principles of predictive analytics and software estimation were established. Today more than ever, we live in a time where there is an incredible dependence on software – it is the cornerstone of almost every business. Risk management and cyber vulnerabilities are now major concerns that weren’t even on the radar decades ago. 

The 2016 version of the QSM Almanac, released earlier this week, takes a truly unique look at the last 35 years of predictive analytics and estimation for business intelligence to determine if its previously developed principles are still applicable today, and, if so, how those principles apply to the current state of software projects. The results are somewhat incredible, and I thought I could share a few of the highlights from this year’s resource as a preface to the full (and free) Almanac, which can be downloaded here:

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