Estimation

Estimation

Upcoming Webinar: Leveraging Historical Data for Better Software Development Estimation

Levering Historical Data for Better Software Estimation Webinar

Software development managers are often in a position where they need to communicate to stakeholders what their work is going to cost and how long it will take to deliver. Unrealistic targets can be set, because decisions are made based on gut feel instead of past performance, causing projects to be late and over budget. Leveraging historical data with project planning can change all of that. In this webinar presented on Wednesday, July 14th at 1:00 PM EDT, Keith Ciocco will demonstrate some of the best practices and tools that QSM uses to help clients capture and analyze historical data for better estimation, process improvement, and early decision making.

Keith Ciocco has more than 30 years of experience working in sales and customer service, with 25 of those years spent with QSM. As Vice President, his primary responsibilities include supporting QSM clients with their estimation and measurement goals, managing business development and existing client relations. He has developed and directed the implementation of the sales and customer retention process within QSM and has played a leading role in communicating the value of the QSM tools and services to professionals in the software development, engineering and IT industries.   

Register now!

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Webinars Estimation Database

Software Development Decisions: How Can We Start The Conversation?

The short answer is with an estimate! Early decisions are a big deal when it comes to software development and delivery. Whether its agile or waterfall, we need to figure out what the work is going to cost and how long it’s going to take, oftentimes without detailed requirements confirmed. Estimates give managers a good way to start the conversation with internal stakeholders and with clients. Should we take this project on? Is this going to cost 5 million dollars or 10? Do we have the resource capacity to fulfill the demand? Should this take 6 months or 12? Management needs to know the answers, ideally before spending major resources and before detailed planning takes place. 

By looking at thousands of completed projects, QSM has found that big money can be saved by taking a quantitative approach to finding those answers. Early data-driven estimates give us the ability to set realistic targets and manage the uncertainty that goes along with early decision making. I am referring to “Big Picture” data-driven estimates, before sprint level planning takes place.

With the SLIM-Collaborate analysis below, we can see a staffing profile that shows a gold estimate along with a more conservative green one; a two column chart showing a comparison summary; a scatterplot showing a risky effort target compared to a more reliable alternative and an industry trendline; and we see a risky gold cost estimate compared to a green high assurance one. The data shown here is saving this company from making a bad decision, a decision that could cost them a lot of money, time, and quality.

Software Development Estimation

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Estimation SLIM-Collaborate

How Accurate Must a Software Delivery Estimate Be to Be Effective?

During the COVID era, I started thinking of all the home improvement projects I would like to tackle and sadly have not started any, lol.  However, I recently became motivated and decided to apply drywall mud (skim coat) to two walls in my garage that have been dinged and dented over the years.  An essential part of this process is to first estimate my materials, time and effort to minimize the impact of disruption to my family’s day to day lives.  Estimating this job is a simple process – amount of surface area to be covered yields the amount of drywall mud I will need.  The time and effort to complete the project is the fuzziest part of the estimate, but since I have mudded before, I have a rough idea of how long it will take to mud, sand, mud again, sand again, then primer and paint.  The risk of this estimate is low, since my work won’t be keeping a medical device functioning, an airplane afloat or a billing system used by thousands operational.

Estimating software delivery is not that simple and its accuracy can be easily compromised – but what is “accurate?"  Software estimation’s non-linear nature introduces much complexity, since time, effort, resources, and quality are all interdependent - when a change to one of those measures happens it affects the others.

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Estimation

Webinar Replay: Leverage Top-Down Estimation for Better IT Planning

Top-Down Estimation Webinar

If you were unable to attend our recent webinar, "Leverage Top-Down Estimation for Better IT Planning," a replay is now available.

Technology organizations spend millions of dollars a year on IT project planning, delivery, and proposal work. Major questions around cost, duration, scope, and quality are at the forefront of the decision making process. All of this combined with the pressure of ensuring plans and proposals are realistic can make this process a challenging one.

Being able to generate early, top-down estimates while leveraging industry data and empirically-based models is essential to negotiating realistic goals and meeting customer expectations. In this webinar, Keith Ciocco will show how QSM’s SaaS solution, SLIM-Collaborate, can be leveraged early in the planning and proposal process to help meet these challenges.

Keith Ciocco has more than 30 years of experience working in sales and customer service, with 25 of those years spent with QSM. As Vice President, his primary responsibilities include supporting QSM clients with their estimation and measurement goals, managing business development and existing client relations. He has developed and directed the implementation of the sales and customer retention process within QSM and has played a leading role in communicating the value of the QSM tools and services to professionals in the software development, engineering and IT industries.   

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Estimation Webinars SLIM-Collaborate

Upcoming Webinar: Leverage Top-Down Estimation for Better IT Planning

Top-Down Estimation Webinar

Technology organizations spend millions of dollars a year on IT project planning, delivery, and proposal work. Major questions around cost, duration, scope, and quality are at the forefront of the decision making process. All of this combined with the pressure of ensuring plans and proposals are realistic can make this process a challenging one.

Being able to generate early, top-down estimates while leveraging industry data and empirically-based models is essential to negotiating realistic goals and meeting customer expectations. In this webinar presented on Tuesday, Feb. 23 at 1 PM EST, Keith Ciocco will show how QSM’s SaaS solution, SLIM-Collaborate, can be leveraged early in the planning and proposal process to help meet these challenges.

Keith Ciocco has more than 30 years of experience working in sales and customer service, with 25 of those years spent with QSM. As Vice President, his primary responsibilities include supporting QSM clients with their estimation and measurement goals, managing business development and existing client relations. He has developed and directed the implementation of the sales and customer retention process within QSM and has played a leading role in communicating the value of the QSM tools and services to professionals in the software development, engineering and IT industries.   

Register here!

Blog Post Categories 
Estimation Webinars SLIM-Collaborate

Webinar Replay: Using Metrics to Manage Runaway IT Projects

Using Metrics to Manage Runaway IT Projects

If you were unable to attend our recent webinar on Using Metrics to Manage Runaway IT Projects, a replay is now available.

Technology organizations spend thousands of hours a month planning and delivering their software engineering, cloud, and IT transformation projects. Unfortunately many of these projects start off with unrealistic expectations around cost, duration and scope; or they start fine, but then customer requirements change. Being able to generate metrics analysis and adaptive forecasting when projects are in trouble is essential to saving money and time. All of this combined with the need to negotiate and reset expectations can make this process a challenging one. In this webinar, Keith Ciocco will show how estimation and control tools can be leveraged early and while projects are in-flight.

Keith Ciocco has more than 30 years of experience working in sales and customer service, with 25 of those years spent with QSM. As Vice President, his primary responsibilities include supporting QSM clients with their estimation and measurement goals, managing business development and existing client relations. He has developed and directed the implementation of the sales and customer retention process within QSM and has played a leading role in communicating the value of the QSM tools and services to professionals in the software development, engineering and IT industries.   

Watch the Replay!

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SLIM-Control Tracking Estimation Webinars

Upcoming Webinar: Using Metrics to Manage Runaway IT Projects

Using Metrics to Manage Runaway IT Projects

Technology organizations spend thousands of hours a month planning and delivering their software engineering, cloud, and IT transformation projects. Unfortunately many of these projects start off with unrealistic expectations around cost, duration and scope; or they start fine, but then customer requirements change. Being able to generate metrics analysis and adaptive forecasting when projects are in trouble is essential to saving money and time. All of this combined with the need to negotiate and reset expectations can make this process a challenging one. In this webinar, presented on Thursday, January 21 at 1:00 PM ESTKeith Ciocco will show how estimation and control tools can be leveraged early and while projects are in-flight.

Keith Ciocco has more than 30 years of experience working in sales and customer service, with 25 of those years spent with QSM. As Vice President, his primary responsibilities include supporting QSM clients with their estimation and measurement goals, managing business development and existing client relations. He has developed and directed the implementation of the sales and customer retention process within QSM and has played a leading role in communicating the value of the QSM tools and services to professionals in the software development, engineering and IT industries.   

Register here!

Blog Post Categories 
SLIM-Control Tracking Estimation Webinars

QSM's Most Popular Resources of 2020 - Estimation, Sizing, Cloud Migration, Agile and More!

Top Software Estimation Resources in 2020

This year has brought many challenges. Many of us have pivoted to working remotely, trying to maintain open communication with our teams while confronting new business problems presented by COVID-19. At QSM, we've made it our goal to provide the resources our clients need during this period of uncertainty, whether it's online support, consulting, or virtual training. We've also worked to continue offering a steady stream of free resources to the online community, such as webinars, white papers, and blog posts. So as we close out 2020, we wanted to take a moment to highlight a few of our most popular. 

We'll start with one of our most widely-attended webinars to date, "Taking Software Estimation and Planning to a Higher Level." Being able to generate estimates early before detailed planning takes place is essential and can have a major impact on annual budgeting, resource allocation and cost and schedule overruns. A useful presentation if you're new to estimation or if you're a seasoned estimator, this PDU-approved webinar summarizes best practices for top-down estimation and how to leverage estimation tools. Make sure and watch until the end to catch the lively Q&A session from our audience!

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Estimation Agile Sizing cloud

ROI with Estimation – Making Business Decisions Based on Metrics

Estimation return on investment - a hotly debated topic in some circles, but still a very active and frequent conversation in C levels all over the world. Something that hasn’t changed in the 20+ years I’ve been involved with estimating software development, regardless of methodology, has been the question asked by senior leadership when embarking on developing new functionality - “How much will it cost and when can we deliver?”  Despite the emergence of new methodologies, this question is understandably the main driver of whether to proceed with a project or not.  The ROI I am focusing on here is the IT budget we are committing to building a project, or portfolio of projects.  Very often, we are faced with that question very early on, when we know little about the project’s full intended capability, but the C level is asking for an estimate and we better respond with a defendable answer.

The ROI is realized in several ways - firstly in the form of estimating the appropriate staffing levels.  We have often assisted clients who initially estimated their projects with too many FTEs.  A relatively simple tweak to the staffing skills combined with empirical data for effort calibration can prove, in many cases, that the FTE count is too high. In the graph below, the yellow diamond represents our current estimate compared to the green dot (adjusted estimate) resting on the blue trendline in the middle representing the industry average for staffing vs. size.  Properly adjusting the FTE levels can save thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the project size, and millions of dollars across a portfolio.

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Estimation

6 Essential Software Sizing Resources

Software Project Sizing

Project managers and estimators have long struggled with the issue of how to measure software size. Really, before you can calculate cost and schedule, you will need some notion of how big the project will be. There are myriad of ways to size a project depending on the methodology you use and where you are in the planning process. Here at QSM, it's one of the common questions we receive, so we've devoted many years of research to the topic. Our website features a wealth of resources on sizing and in this post, we will highlight a few of the most valuable for anyone grappling with this issue or looking for a place to start.

General Sizing

  • QSM's Software Sizing infographic is a great place to start. This easy to understand visual resource helps explain the most popular sizing methods and when to use them, the difference between functional and technical size, sizing challenges and more!
  • Measuring Software Size - Insights from the Past to Guide the Future is another helpful guide if you're struggling with which sizing units to use. This PDU-approved webinar will help you determine what sizing measure will work for you based on your own historical data. This presentation is worth a watch no matter what development methodology you use and can help improve future estimates and in-flight project forecasts.

Function Points

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Sizing Software Sizing Estimation