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.
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:
Software projects can be so complicated and so different from each other that predicting whether they will succeed or fail can be as difficult as forecasting the weather or picking winning stocks. Will the project entirely fulfill its goals? Will it deliver some value at a higher cost or later than desired? Or will it just crash and burn leaving the exhausted survivors to lick their wounds, bury the dead bodies, and shred the evidence?
Courageous efforts are being made to collect and codify the data that is available, to try to spot what trends are occurring in the industry, and to provide some useful guidelines for managing the business of software. The recently published QSM Software Almanac, dubbed the "2014 Research Edition," is an example of this.
While creating estimates is a fundamental step toward improving productivity on software development projects, it is not enough. In "Full-Circle Estimating," recently published on Projects at Work, Doug Putnam and Taylor Putnam-Majarian present a full-circle model that organizations can apply to track actual performance against estimates, reforecast when significant changes occur, and then continually refine the process through post-mortem assessment.
Doug Putnam is co-CEO for Quantitative Software Management (QSM). He has 35 years of experience in the software measurement field and has been instrumental in the development of the SLIM Suite of software estimation and measurement tools. C. Taylor Putnam-Majarian is a consulting analyst at QSM with over seven years of specialized data analysis, testing and research experience. In addition to providing consulting support in software estimation and benchmarking engagements to clients from both the commercial and government sectors, Taylor has authored numerous publications about Agile development, software estimation and process improvement.
Enterprise application capacity planning is a difficult juggling act. On one side of the equation you have business demand, looking for innovative technology to help improve business performance and increase profitability. The IT organization stands on the other side of the equation, responsible for satisfying these demands. The capacity of this team is limited by the organization’s facilities, the number of developers and their specific skills, and the infrastructure and tools they use. This leaves the business and technology executives in the unenviable position of trying to balance the demand for IT development with the current capacity levels. In this article for Software Magazine, Doug Putnam and Taylor Putnam-Majarian demonstrate how top-down parametric estimation can be leveraged by organizations to manage capacity and demand effectively.
On large software development and acquisition programs, testing phases typically extend over many months. It is important to forecast the quality of the software at that future time when the schedule calls for testing to be complete. In this article, originally published in CrossTalk, Paul Below shows how Walter Shewhart’s Control Charts can be applied to this purpose, in order to detect a signal that indicates a significant change in the state of the software. This signal detection is then used to improve mapping of project progress to forecast curves and thereby improve estimates of project schedule.
It is no coincidence that this year’s release of the 2014 QSM Software Almanac has been coined the Research Edition. The data, research, insights, analysis and trends packed into the 200+ page book truly make it the ultimate resource for software development and estimation. That said, I thought I’d share just a few of the highlights from this year’s Almanac as a little teaser to what you’ll find when you download the full (and free) resource.
After many months of research, I’m pleased to announce that today QSM has released the 2014 version of its Software Almanac. A follow-up to the previous version released in 2006, this 200+ page book includes more than 20 articles on topics such as metrics, agile methodology, long term planning, and trends in software development.
The Almanac is one of the few research compendiums that studies how software development has evolved since 1980. The source of this research is the QSM Metrics Database, which contains data from over 10,000 completed software projects from North and South America, Australia, Europe, Africa, and Asia, representing over 740 million lines of code, 600+ development languages, and 105,833 person years of effort.
The field of software development has long focused on finding predictable and repeatable processes that improve quality and productivity, which is why many organizations are taking an interest in agile methodology. As such, this year’s Almanac focuses on this topic, which has generated increased interest since the 2006 release. Specifically, it takes a close look at projects that have been based on agile methodologies and successfully completed within the past five years.
A common misperception is that an estimator’s job is done after a software project’s parameters are set. On the contrary, software estimation should be conducted throughout the project lifecycle to reflect inevitable changes and to improve estimates on other projects. In this article, originally published in Projects at Work, Larry Putnam Jr. identifies three ways to maximize estimating efforts — before, during and after your project is complete.
This case study for Agile Connection by QSM's Taylor Putnam serves as an example of how adopting agile can be extremely beneficial to an organization, as long as situational factors are considered. Adopting a new development method is a strategic, long-term investment rather than a quick fix. As this article shows, making deliberate, fully formed decisions will ultimately lead to better outcomes.