A History of Industry-Leading Software Estimation Innovation

A History of Industry-Leading Software Estimation Innovation


Larry Putnam forms Quantitative Software Management. Larry’s pioneering research results in the SLIM® Methodology (a sound set of equations and processes to estimate software development projects). Some of the most popular commercial estimation tools today contain parts of the SLIM Methodology.


QSM introduces a mainframe timesharing version of SLIM-Estimate® – the first tool to introduce and use Monte Carlo simulation to perform risk analysis and linear programming for optimized resource planning.


QSM introduces the first standalone desktop software estimation tool (Hewlett Packard 80 series). Innovation in this re-engineered version included graphical outputs and a module that allowed customers to collect and calibrate estimates with their own historical data.


QSM delivers SLIM-Estimate on the IBM PC platform. The Rayleigh Defect prediction model makes its debut in this release.


QSM delivers PCubed: a scaled-down version of SLIM-Estimate for 1- to 3-person projects.


QSM delivers Size Planner – a tool for size estimation. QSM, the first tool supplier to offer this capability to the market, introduces five independent approaches that can be averaged to develop more confidence in the size estimate.


QSM introduces SLIM-Control® – a project tracking and forecasting tool to complement the company’s estimation and planning tool. Innovative capabilities include statistical process control bounds for plan vs. actual comparisons and curve fit forecasting of actual performance data to determine likely completion dates and budgets.


QSM releases SLIM-Estimate for Windows, a total re-engineering for the Windows GUI environment that features graphical control gauges, dynamic risk gauges and multiple estimation views.


QSM Introduces SLIM-Metrics® – another first in the software measurement industry. A powerful project repository, SLIM-Metrics provides query and analysis tools to compare projects and assess process improvements. Innovations include industry benchmark curve fits, customizable screen components and multiple data set comparisons.


QSM delivers a major upgrade to SLIM-Control.


QSM introduces SLIM-MasterPlan – an enterprise project aggregation tool that allows estimators to aggregate estimates of multiple product lines and multiple releases. Innovative features allow graphical shifting of resources to optimize plans or reallocation of resources.


QSM Releases SLIM Suite® – an integrated set of estimation, tracking, and benchmarking tools covering all aspects of the software lifecycle. QSM Introduces Estimate Express® – a comprehensive, yet affordable software project estimation solution designed for smaller companies or project managers with smaller projects.


QSM delivers the SLIM Suite 6.0. More than 40 new and improved features across the entire tool suite make this the premier software estimation product on the market.


SLIM Suite 6.1 is released. The enhanced tool suite features an API to allow seamless integration of SLIM products with other popular project management tools and user-friendly Work Breakdown Structure screens.


QSM publishes the QSM IT Software Almanac, which contains more than 100 pages of in-depth analysis drawn from QSM's world-class database of software projects. SLIM Suites 6.2 and 6.3 are released, bringing improved import/export integration with Microsoft Project and additional features to the SLIM Suite API. The 2006 Users Conferences in the US and Europe give SLIM users the opportunity to share success stories and get a glimpse of the upcoming features of SLIM Suite 7.0.


QSM partners with IBM Rational. Implementations between IBM Rational Method Composer, IBM Rational Portfolio Manager, IBM Rational Team Concert, and SLIM Tools are introduced.


QSM expands their consulting division into a more defined business unit.  The consulting business grows by 250% (more than triples in size) within the first two years.  QSM helps many commercial and public sector clients achieve a significant ROI with improved project, program and portfolio management of software intensive systems. SLIM Suite 6.4 and SLIM Suite 7.0a are released, interfacing SLIM with Telelogic and the IBM Rational Tool Suite. SLIM-Masterplan is redesigned to support complex enterprise, iterative, and incremental software estimates at the task level and improved integration with MS Project and the MS Office Suite.


SLIM-Suite 7.0c delivers new 2008 industry reference trends and seamless integration between SLIM-Control and IBM Rational Team Concert.


QSM launches the High Performance Benchmark Consortium to help software producers or acquirers quantify and demonstrate performance improvement over time. SLIM Suite 8.0a is released. This major upgrade included seamless web publishing for charts and reports, the ability to customize the PI Calculator and Sizing by History to user supplied historical data, and integration with IBM Rational Portfolio Manager and Focal Point.  In SLIM-Metrics, the new Dataset Comparison Report, Five Star Report, Automatic Trend Line Creation, and new default and template workbooks are new features to improve benchmarking process.  SLIM Suite 8.0d5 fixed various bugs/minor enhancements. In SLIM Suite 8.0e2, 2010 reference trend lines are added.


SLIM Suite 8.0f1 brings enhanced risk reporting for PI, MBI and SLOC to SLIM-Estimate.


QSM releases SLIM-WebServicesa “light and lean” cloud-based version of its flagship project estimation suite, SLIM. In moving its traditional desktop products to the cloud, QSM has opened up SLIM’s capabilities to a much larger, higher-level audience – with the added flexibility of using it as Software as a Service (SaaS) or on-premise. Boasting a lighter footprint and simplified user interface, the new offering seeks to liberate project estimation intelligence from the confines of a few designated power users, into the hands of an entire enterprise.


QSM unveils the latest update to the QSM Project Database. Now in its 8th edition, the database includes more than 10,000 completed real-time, engineering and IT projects from 19 different industry sectors. QSM also releases the fifth version of their Function Point Languages Table, which provides industry averages, organized by programming language, for the source lines of code required to implement a function point (a unit of software functionality).


QSM announces SLIM Suite 8.2, which, for the first time, provides the ability to perform enhanced top-down estimation for capacity planning. Unlike other resource demand management tools that rely on bottom-up estimates, QSM is the first in the industry to provide detailed resource breakdowns, utilizing a more accurate top-down approach. QSM announces update to SLIM-WebServices, which includes a new, streamlined wizard that walks the user through the process of creating a feasibility estimate and provides users with immediate feedback about solution viability and risk. Additionally, SLIM-WebServices 1.2 now includes Round Trip, a capability that allows estimation specialists to download estimates to their desktop for advanced refining in SLIM-Estimate, and then re-upload the new estimate to SLIM-WebServices for the entire team to use.


QSM launches Software Estimation Workshop Series, which includes eight customizable workshops that offer organizations tailored guidance to improve software development processes. QSM recognized by Garter as a Cool Vendor for vendor management. QSM releases SLIM Suite 9.0 which provides users with enhanced data collection features to more accurately plan software development projects based on industry statistics and trends. QSM releases Understanding Software Estimation, Negotiation, and Demand Management: An Executive Primer, a 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. QSM announces 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, online version of our trusted software estimation, tracking, and benchmarking suite.


QSM awarded a five year prime contract with the U.S. Army Cost Center under the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Cost and Economics (ODASA-CE) to provide estimation and tracking assistance to help with early stage identification and mitigation of software program risk. QSM releases the 2016 Software Almanac, a collection of articles that examines the history of software estimation and explores how estimation principles remain relevant despite significant changes in software development methodologies. QSM releases SLIM PPM Connector for CA PPM. The new tool allows for the direct and seamless integration of SLIM‑Estimate’s top-down resource demand management capabilities with CA’s PPM product, giving software project managers the best likelihood of accurately predicting staffing needs throughout the lifecycle of a project, as well as providing the resource demand data needed for enterprise resource planning. QSM awarded four prime contracts with the U.S. Army. Under these contracts, QSM provides cost estimation services that will better enable the Army to predict cost requirements for effectively developing and maintaining software systems.


QSM unveils a major update to the QSM Project Database, which now includes more than 13,000 completed projects. The addition of 2,500 validated projects in 9 major application domains (Avionics, IT, Command & Control, Microcode, Process Control, Real Time, Scientific, System Software, and Telecom) and 45 sub-domains extends what is already the largest continuously updated software project metrics database in the world. Updated industry trends are included in QSM's release of SLIM Suite 10.0. With new quadrant chart visualization features, the updated version of the SLIM-Suite allows users to gain visibility into multiple projects at once and, as a result, easily identify high-risk projects, improve demand management, and address project feasibility issues early in the process. QSM publishes the 2017 Software Almanac, which highlights the dangers of not applying predictive analysis and estimation processes.


QSM releases SLIM-Collaborate 3.0 with more advanced workflow capabilities to enable efficient communication between stakeholders throughout the estimation process. Additionally, the demand resource capabilities added in SLIM-Collaborate 3.0 make it easier for users to identify staffing needs and allocate resources to a software project. QSM also releases SLIM-Suite 10.1 with a new look and feel, featuring easier-to-read fonts and a cleaner, simpler color palette inspired by modern Business Intelligence and Data Analysis applications. In honor of QSM's 40th anniversary, QSM hosts its first ever Virtual Conference, featuring client speakers from Microsoft, IBM, Progressive Insurance, Rockwell Automation, and KPMG.


QSM announces SLIM-Suite 10.2, designed for better planning of agile projects, as well as improved risk management via quadrant chart availability in SLIM-Estimate and SLIM-Metrics. SLIM-Collaborate 3.1 is also released with new risk buffering capabilities to the probability-based risk modelling. QSM publishes the 2019 Software Almanac, focusing on agile development and the continued relevance and application of estimation and metrics.


QSM releases SLIM-Collaborate 3.2, with an updated user interface that follows the guiding principal that “form should follow function” to simplify and clarify creating, comparing, and analyzing estimates and closeout projects. The latest release leverages new technology to present more intuitive project editing and streamlined validation.


QSM releases SLIM-Suite 10.3 with an updated Agile estimation template and configurable Agile increments lines denoting Program Increments and Sprints on SLIM-Estimate and SLIM-Control time series charts and reports. Refinements to the Skills breakout configuration improve support for detailed resource demand planning and interfaces to popular PPM tools. In SLIM-DataManager, new power editing and enhanced keyword management bulk updates to multiple projects from the master project list.


QSM releases SLIM-Collaborate 4.0, featuring a completely redesigned set of four project and portfolio dashboards that make viewing, analyzing, and benchmarking the projects in your project portfolio easier than ever! At the individual project level, interactive charts and reports let you quickly validate estimates against relevant industry or internal performance trends, compare multiple estimation scenarios, and calculate and display configurable, risk-buffered contingency plans. On the Portfolio dashboard, you can analyze filtered groups of estimates or completed closeout projects. All dashboards have streamlined controls for editing, saving, and displaying sophisticated analysis views that can be shared online or exported to PowerPoint or Excel.