QSM Virtual Conference: Lessons Learned from 40 Years of Estimation Innovation

QSM Virtual Conference: Lessons Learned from 40 Years of Estimation Innovation

QSM turned 40 this September! To celebrate this milestone, we hosted a free, all-day virtual conference for current clients and those looking to learn more about estimation best practices. The conference featured presentations from IBM, Microsoft, Progressive Insurance, Rockwell Automation, and KPMG, as well as new developments in QSM research and tools. Below you will find descriptions and links to recordings of the presentations.

​These presentations are all PDU-approved. Contact us to get credit for watching any or all of these presentations.

"Our Evolution Around Estimation" - Lenny Fenster, Microsoft Services
As the Apps Global CTO for Microsoft Services, Lenny sees the need for estimation in many shapes and sizes throughout the world. In his twenty years at Microsoft, Lenny has also seen many different attempts to improve how Microsoft Services estimates time and effort for software development projects. Not all of them have hit the mark. In this presentation turned lively Q&A session, Lenny talks about the evolution his team is driving in Microsoft Services to improve the maturity, consistency, and defensibility of software estimation for some of the largest and most complex software projects in the world. He talks specifically about the intentional separation of Scope and Estimation and the use of SLIM as a key ingredient in the success they are now having.

Lenny Fenster is the Global CTO for the Apps Domain within Microsoft Services. The Apps business covers the application development space and includes technology areas like Azure, Mobility, and DevOps. In his role as CTO, Lenny is responsible for the worldwide technology strategy for Apps and focuses on the key areas of delivery quality, solutions, liaison with the product team and R&D, managing the global community of architects and consultants, and planning, leveraging, and harvesting IP to drive efficiency and productivity.  Lenny and his team work directly with Microsoft’s customers to help them succeed by embracing the changing and disruptive technology landscape through technologies like BlockChain, IoT, Intelligent Agents, Mixed Reality, Open Source and more. Lenny joined Microsoft in 1998 and has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry; all of it related to designing, developing, and deploying enterprise solutions. Prior to coming to Microsoft, Lenny was Global Director of Systems Integration for SunGard Capital Markets. At SunGard, Lenny partnered closely with financial institutions and governments around the world to develop and drive solutions that expedited the exchange of currency. Lenny has authored several articles in various technology journals as well as the book The Effective Use of Microsoft Enterprise Library; available in both English and Simplified Chinese.  Lenny holds a BS in Psychology and an MS in Computer Science. 

"Strengthening Estimation Governance in a Large-Scale Organization with SLIM-Collaborate" - Christophe Guillou and Angelo Moore, IBM Global Services
​​​​​​​Large, complex, multi-region organizations are uniquely challenged to maintain and comply with their own internally-defined best practice standards. Estimation is no exception. As a result, it's often difficult to effectively deploy standards and ensure they are being used, and share the resulting output data with the enterprise at large.  A centralized tool accessed through a web interface can go a long way to addressing some of these issues. In 2016 Q4, IBM piloted SLIM-Collaborate and started to transition towards SLIM-Collaborate H1 2017. In this presentation, Angelo Moore and Christophe Guillou share the motivating factors that drove IBM to look more closely at SLIM-Collaborate, namely better control and collection of enterprise estimation data, platform independence (Windows/AppleOS), simplified use and compliance and tracking. IBM's deployment was successfully completed H1 2017 - usage is building and ease of use continues to encourage potential users to adopt.

Angelo Moore has 10 years of experience in the IT service industry and has been an Estimation Capability Leader for four years within IBM GBS. Additionally, he has 14 years of experience in engineering and manufacturing across telecommunication and micro-electronics. He is an Electronics and Telecommunication Engineer and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

Christophe Guillou comes from a computer science and telecommunication engineering background with over 11 years working as a software engineering professional and web technologies specialist. He has been with IBM seven years, mostly working as part of IBM Collaboration Solutions (R&D) as a Technical Leader and two years within IBM GBS Estimation. He spent four years consulting for financial services industries in the public sector. He is a certified PMP.

"Using Project History to Produce Estimates" - Daniel Horvath, Progressive Insurance
​​​​​​​We can thank Albert Einstein for the popular definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If that same thing includes producing inaccurate estimates resulting in projects that do not meet their time, effort or scope objectives, better results can indeed be obtained by doing something different: utilizing project history. Learning from and making use of project history can surely help us to achieve better estimation as well as improved project execution results. These results can be achieved with little effort and in a relatively brief period of time. The objectives for at least some Enterprise Project Management Offices (EPMOs) include goals such as: improve the predictability, agility, and speed of project delivery. To an EPMO’s Estimation Center of Excellence (ECOE), this means improving the accuracy of estimates, particularly those made early in the project life cycle. To accomplish this, a project benchmarking process can be initiated to collect pertinent data into a project history database as projects close. This presentation outlines some findings and challenges regarding the process for collecting and using company specific project history data to produce better estimates, and thereby improving predictability, agility, and speed of project delivery.

Dan Horvath is a Project Planning Analyst Lead on the Initiation Center of Excellence Team at Progressive Insurance. In this capacity, Mr. Horvath facilitates project benchmarking, performs data analysis, and produces project estimates based on the data. Mr. Horvath has a background in application development, project management and software metrics, including function point analysis. Mr. Horvath has written articles, taught courses, and presented papers on project management and functional sizing and metrics, including presentations at ISMA7, ISMA10 and ISMA14. Prior to joining Progressive, Mr. Horvath was a senior consultant at Q/P Management Group and has also worked at Electronic Data Systems and General Electric. Mr. Horvath maintains Project Management Professional and Certified Function Point Specialist credentials.

“Big Rock Estimation with SLIM-Estimate” Aaron Jeutter, Rockwell Automation
​​​​​​​Aaron Jeutter presented the technique of “Big Rock Sizing” during the QSM Agile Round Table series and provided an article published on the QSM web site under “Big Rock Estimation: Using Agile Techniques to Provide a Rough Software Schedule / Resource Estimate.”  He presents the technique during this webinar session.  The methods are used to provide early sizing and estimates based on high level requirements, which get refined using agile techniques as the work progresses.  This technique helps teams determine the size of a release early in absence of a “big upfront requirements phase.”

Aaron Jeutter has 25 years of experience in software development and project management. He is a SAFe 4 Certified Practitioner, SAFe 4 Certified Agilist, Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Scrum Master.  Aaron also volunteers as a Virtual Judge with Project Lead the Way through Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE).  

"Five Core Metrics to Reduce Outsourced Software Project Failure" - Joseph Madden, KPMG
​​​​​​​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.  Originally published in an article in Government Computer News, Joseph Madden discusses how the five core metrics of software: product size, process productivity, schedule duration, effort and reliability 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.

Joseph Madden is a director in KPMG’s CIO Advisory practice with more than 26 years of experience leading and delivering engagements in the areas of software development, IT project, program and portfolio management, software estimation, quality and productivity, IT governance, IT budgeting, as well as client and vendor management.  He is a published coauthor of the books IT Measurement: Practical Advice from the Experts and the 2016 QSM Software Almanac and was a Keynote Presenter at the 2017 Federal Reserve Bank Planning for Program Success Summit.  Prior to KPMG, Mr. Madden served as VP of Professional Services at QSM and is a certified Software Lifecycle Management tool (SLIM) Estimation Professional.

"Understanding the Physics of Software Development" - Larry Putnam, Jr., QSM
In this presentation, Larry Putnam, Jr. reviews some of Larry Putnam Sr’s original research and the data that it was based on.  He then explores if that original research continues to stand the test of time when compared with data derived from modern development approaches.  He also shows how modern agile development practices exploits some of the laws Larry discovered 40 years ago.  Finally, he discusses the role of estimation in today’s increasingly agile world.

Larry has over 30 years of experience using the Putnam-SLIM Methodology. He has participated in more than 100 estimation and oversight service engagements, and is responsible for product management of the SLIM-Suite of measurement tools and customer care programs. Since becoming Co-CEO & Managing Partner of Products and Customer Care, Larry has developed a new customer care program that has increased customer satisfaction levels by 50 percent and increased client license renewals by 46 percent. Larry is a member of and active participant in numerous measurement and quality organizations and has delivered numerous speeches at conferences on software estimation and measurement, and has trained – over a five-year period – more than 1,000 software professionals in measurement and estimation and the use of the SLIM-Suite.

"The Evolution of SLIM-Suite Tools" – Kate Armel and Laura Zuber, QSM
The SLIM-Suite of tools has come a long way from Larry Putnam’s Software Lifecycle Methodology research in 1978.  Over the years, what we now know as SLIM tools have evolved from a mainframe-based, timesharing platform to early desktop versions deployed on Hewlett Packard 80 series machines to the first IBM PCs running BASIC/DOS. Over the next decade, SLIM-Estimate moved to Windows and was joined by SLIM-Control, SLIM-Metrics and SLIM-DataManager, and SLIM-MasterPlan. In 2012, SLIM tools migrated to the web with the first release of SLIM-Collaborate.  To extend your analysis options, the base applications were enhanced by three APIs, integrations to Clarity and other PPM tools, SmartSheets, and the Agile Adjuster.  Laura Zuber and Kate Armel will explore the past, present, and future of SLIM tools and find out what features you would most like to see as QSM begins our fifth decade.

Kate Armel, Director of Testing, Training, & Technical Support at QSM, has 19 years of experience providing technical and consultative support for software estimation, project tracking and forecasting, and industry benchmarking. She oversees data collection, validation, and data analysis for the QSM database; development of over 900 industry regression trends; client, internal, and technical support services; software testing and quality assurance; training, documentation and online help for SLIM-Suite and SLIM-Collaborate applications, APIs, and utilities; and technical writing, research, and analysis to support product development, research, and consulting services. Ms. Armel was the Chief Editor and analyst/co-author of the 2006 QSM IT Software Almanac and has authored several published articles. 

Laura Zuber, QSM’s Customer Support Manager and Lead Trainer, has 25 years of experience in software development consulting, training, and support.  She has conducted training and coaching sessions for all QSM SLIM-Suite tools and helped customers implement SLIM across a wide variety of processes and platforms. Laura has managed software development projects, served as a senior software process improvement specialist, performed process assessments, designed and implemented best practices, and authored numerous training programs.  She is a Certified Scrum Master and lead consultant for using SLIM with Agile development.