This white paper discusses how to transform the PMO into a strategic partner to deliver business value.
This benchmarking guide, produced by DCG Software Value, LEDAmc, and ti MÉTRICAS contains actionable benchmarking guidance and information, allowing companies to evaluate and compare the productivity of internal and external software development organizations for improved resource and budget management.
This white paper discusses the importance of collaboration between the business unit and IT to identify the value a software development initiative can offer your organization. Michael D. Harris, author and speaker on the Value Visualization of IT, describes a 5-step “value visualization” concept that can help IT departments and business units join forces to set, measure and track goals based on value.
This white paper demonstrates how a value visualization culture - one where all stakeholders have a clear understanding of the goals of the project and expected business value - should and can transform the IT department from a cost or profit center to a value center.
"By leveraging the proper metrics, all stakeholders can visualize the value and work toward the same set of goals on a project, helping transform IT from a cost or profit center to a value center."
DCG shares the average size of its clients' projects.
This article answers key questions DCG is often asked about the difference between story points and function points.
A discussion on how to best manage your vendor relationships.
5 problems that can make testing less effective.
Review the top 8 areas of an organization that need scrum in order to enable enterprise Agile.
Learn how to combine Agile and Test-Driven Development for improved software quality.
The SAFe 4.0 white paper distills the essence of SAFe, providing a high-level overview of the Framework, including its values, principles, practices, and strategy for implementation.
This document provides an overview of the AgilityHealth Radar workshop.
Learn more about our Enterprise Mobile Jumpstart service, with our partner, The Spitfire Group. Whether you're integrating mobile technologies into existing enterprise technologies or creating brand new mobile app products, we can help.
Our Software Vendor Management services help you better manage your outsourcing relationships to improve the quality of delivered work and associated timelines, as well as to ensure fair and reasonable pricing.
When an estimate is believable, it's easier to communicate with the client and to manage the project. Learn how to create a believable estimate.
This article discusses why function points are useful in software testing.
Software AIM is an analysis of how to integrate the acquired software into the current environment. Learn more about this service.
Software AMA is a profile of the return-on-investment for acquired software, with an eye on the future.. Learn more about this service.
Software ADD Overview is a profile of how the target organization relies on its technology prior to a merger or acquisition. Learn more about this service.
Software ARM is an assessment of the risk involved in transitioning a target organization's software in a merger or acquisition. Learn more about this service.
Learn more about how we support organizations as they evaluate and execute the IT-related aspects of mergers and acquisitions.
Learn more about DCG's range of Agile (including scaled Agile) offerings.
Almost all typical IT problems (cost overruns, poor quality, failure to deliver, etc.) can be attributed to poor estimation. The best practice for addressing such an issue is to establish an Estimation Center of Excellence. This article discusses how to do this in just 6 steps.
Business case for Agile JumpStart.
Business case for the Project Triage Solution.
The business case for an Estimation Center of Excellence.
A unique and proven approach for estimating maintenance and support activities using a new type of ‘sizing’ model. The authors, Anjali Mogre and Penelope Estrada Nava, share their experience based on the work they have done at Atos worldwide.
If you are struggling with your maintenance and support work stream (and who isn’t), this is a must read.
Learn more about DCG's Centers of Excellence, fully packaged and successfully tested solutions to address common software issues that plague organizations.
Learn more about the Project Triage Solution. We use quantitative and qualitative methods to determine if your challenged software development project: Can be Delivered with Minor Disruption, Can Be Delivered with Significant Disruption, or is In Need of Re-Evaluation.
Learn more about Project Triage, designed to assist you in addressing your difficulties with delivering software.
The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) is an interactive knowledge base for implementing Agile practices at enterprise scale. The Big Picture graphic highlights the individual roles, teams, activities and artifacts necessary to scale Agile from the team to program to the enterprise level.
Find out what the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) is and how it can be used in your organization.
Learn more about DCG's Agile and Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) offerings.
Our mission at DCG is to help companies achieve their expected outcome for projects and, where possible, to implement improvements that will make their software more efficient, user-friendly and cost effective. If you have a problem, we have a solution.
DCG's Agile Practical Techniques class is customized to meet the needs of the attendees. Attendees will work with the instructor to select the modules that will best meet their needs, whether they wish to learn more about Agile basics, implement an Agile program or improve a current Agile implementation. This document lists the current available modules.
DCG wants to help the community build a repository of SNAP data and provide analysis of the data. If organizations using SNAP wish to participate in an industry-wide gathering of SNAP data, and are willing to send their data to DCG, we will scrub, store and analyze the data on their behalf.
Please download this official IFPUG SNAP data form and fill out the Application Information and Recap tabs only. Email your completed form to SNAPdata@davidconsultinggroup.com. Please note that only the attachment will be captured by DCG - any text in the body of the email will not be reviewed by the company. Then, send an email to DCG with a list of email addresses for the employees of your company whom you'd like to receive the data analysis every six months.
If you wish to provide your data in another format, please email SNAPinfo@davidconsultinggroup.com to coordinate.
If you have any questions, email SNAPinfo@davidconsultinggroup.com.
Learn more about DCG's Agile Project JumpStart Solution.
Agile Project JumpStart enables a development team to competently manage a project using Agile methodologies from the start.
As a direct result of the difficulties of measuring software development, the success of development tends to be measured in input metrics. For internal software development (and any outsourcing that is included in that), organizations tend to manage this output measurement problem at a macro level, by allocating a “reasonable” budget for software development (an input), estimating what projects can be delivered for that budget, and then prioritizing according to the organization’s strategic and tactical needs (outputs at a macro level). But, this macro approach does not really work for outsourcing contracts.
In this article, Mike Harris offers a solution via vested outsourcing.
This article discusses the seven principles of software testing by breaking them into two groups, Why Can't We Catch Every Bug? and Where We Find Defects.
Learn more about the Function Point Analysis training courses and services we offer.
Recently, IFPUG released a new, non-functional sizing method, the Software Non-Functional Assessment Process (SNAP). This article explains how SNAP can be used and why it is best used in combination with Function Point Analysis.
This article considers the pros and cons of utilizing Agile, discussing why Agile often fails within the government and how that can be mitigated.
This document is a template contract for Agile engagements (from the U.K. government).
This is a solid basis for an Agile contract, including a definition of price per story point (although story points alone are not a basis for comparison of vendors at the RFP stage).
Bear in mind that the template does not sufficiently spell out the expectations of how the project will be run and the roles of the vendor staff versus the client staff in the context of an Agile project. You may wish to add this information.
Some specific points:
If you would like a copy of the Word version of this template for your use, please contact us.
This document offers a brief overview of the Software Non-functional Assessment Process (SNAP).
DCG has been involved in the development of Automated Function Points (AFPs) for many years. As usage is growing, we have been hearing more questions from our clients, prospects and partners about how to incorporate an agreement for the delivery of software development and/or maintenance into contracts.
We have produced a template of contract terms that can be used to start discussions about what to include on this topic in a broader outsourcing or one-off Master Services Agreement (MSA) or Statement of Work (SoW).
This template is not intended to be directly lifted into an agreement “as is,” but rather to form the basis of a discussion between the parties about what they want and need in their agreement.
When your organization is thinking about implementing a quality model, where do you start? Contact a consultant? Research models? If so, which consultant do you choose – and which model? It can seem daunting, we know. But, don’t give up! This article offers some tips for choosing a quality model that’s right for you, setting you on a path for success.
Learn more about the Test Maturity Model integration (TMMi), the most effective method to assess and enable the identification of improvements for software testing processes.
Learn more about the TMMi training courses and services we offer.
QuickCheck is a free service provided through our partner, ProServices (PSC). QuickCheck helps companies to understand the level of quality and security risks within their software. The QuickCheck service scans your source code, using a combination of PSC proprietary inGenium technology with commercial software tools, and presents the results in a high-level scorecard report. This is a sample scorecard report to show the type of results that come from using the service.
A successful outsourcing arrangement is one that delivers a high quality product that meets the needs of the business (provides value) for a reasonable price. This article explains how you can use Function Point Analysis, in an outsourcing arrangement that includes service-level agreements, to measure both cost and value.
This article discusses the difficulties many companies are facing in moving enterprise applications to the cloud. It discusses some common issues that are encountered, as well as what applications make for good candidates for migration and what challenges should be expected.
Tom Cagley examines the role of commitment in Agile.
As a member of the International Function Point Users Group (IFPUG), DCG Software Value is able to provide the Software Non-functional Assessment Process (SNAP) Assessment Practices Manual 2.3.
The manual helps organizations to develop a quantifiable measure for the non-functional requirements (NFR) of development.
Sue Rule explains why Agile may be the answer to meeting business expectations, but only if a measurement program is in place to monitor progress.
How much insight do you have regarding your software vendor’s level of performance? And how do you know if an outsourcing arrangement is cost effective? Learn how Function Point Analysis can be used to answer both of these questions.
In this article, Tom Cagley explains how you define whether a project, framework or methodology is Agile.
What characteristics make a framework or methodology Agile? Find out in this article from Tom Cagley.
DCG Software Value has been successfully guiding clients through CMMI projects for more than a decade. Learn more about the training courses and services we offer.
We have years of experience in helping our clients achieve a successful CMMI Level Maturity Appraisal. Learn more about how we can work with you to design a custom package that meets your needs.
Agile is hard. Why? Because successful Agile requires change. In this article, David Herron outlines eight guidelines an organization can follow to successfully initiate and achieve change. These guidelines can be applied to an Agile implementation.
Contractual terms can set the scene for a software outsourcing relationship, but to effectively manage software project risk, both the client-side team and the supplier team need to clearly understand how they can ensure their actions and behaviours have a positive impact on value delivered.
Mistrusted metrics, misapplied metrics, multitudinous metrics all result in marginal metrics – measures that are sidelined and not used effectively to drive better performance, better results, better value.
DCG-SMS Managing Director Alan Cameron has characterized some distinct metrics behaviour patterns he's observed into a “Metrics Maturity Model,” showing how correct use of metrics changes the way people think about managing knowledge-work such as software development.
Learn more about the value of the TMMi model and our partnership with Experimentus in this Q&A with Martin Adcock, Managing Director of Experimentus.
Effective and efficient software project estimation is more about business value and improved economics than about technique. What is the management reason for investing in better estimation? Read this examination of the benefits of software project estimation, which includes a financial ROI analysis.
With today’s software more complex than ever, identifying security and quality risks is difficult and time consuming.
Further compounding the cost is a unique development that as code gets cleaner, detecting those bugs gets even more difficult, time consuming and, therefore, more costly. An argument can be made that the higher the quality becomes, the higher the penalty is against your budget. Striking a balance is the challenge for all organizations.
This article provides additional information on the value of the cost per defect metric.
Understand the basic principles of sizing and estimating as related to the use of the function point metric. This article was originally published in DOD Software Tech News, June 2006, Vol. 9, #2 Issue.
Past criticisms of Function Point Analysis (FPA) have included concerns that it takes too long, it requires too much detail, it is too difficult to implement, and it costs too much. A recent study has shown that an adaptation of the FPA methodology – FP Lite™ – is a reasonable alternative to the detailed FPA method, and in fact, addresses many of the criticisms that have been levied in the past. This paper introduces the FP Lite™ methodology in correlation with two studies designed to statistically understand the accuracy of the FP Lite™ methodology in contrast to the detailed FPA method.
The industry standard metric of software functional size is clearly explained.
Software Project Managers have many responsibilities, ranging from managing customer expectations to directing internal resources towards a successful software build. That said, their easiest path to a quiet life is to design, develop and deploy software on time, on budget and with a high degree of quality. Why, then, do industry publications continue to unveil stories about failed projects and the financial impact they have had on the organization? Of course, not all projects fail. When we do read about successes, we learn that these projects were well managed and effectively controlled. So, what is missing or what is the gap between project success and project failure? This article discusses that gap and how to close it.
There are any number of reasons why IT organizations execute a formal customer satisfaction survey. Regardless of the reason, the goal is to transfer measurement of customer satisfaction from a post-facto critique into a proactive process improvement tool. Read how DCG helped a key client measure customer satisfaction as a measure of process improvement.
There has been much said and written about the mythical “conflict” between the values and principles of the Manifesto for Agile Software Development and those of Software Process Improvement embodied in models such as CMMI. However, there is increasing experience (and evidence at SEPG and other conferences) that shows that both sets of values and principles can be combined to deliver more value to an enterprise than either one on its own. A lesser-known descendant of the Agile Manifesto is the Declaration of Interdependence (DOI) (www.pmdoi.org), which seeks to extend the Agile Manifesto to non-software products, project management and management in general. This article discusses the Declaration of Interdepence.
Learn how to successfully manage organizational changes.
This article addresses the IFPUG extension of Function Points as a metric into the real-time systems environment. The Function Point metric is currently being applied successfully as a measurement tool by a large number of organizations in the real-time environment.
Peer reviews, in particular software inspections, have become accepted within the software industry as a cost effective way of removing defects as early as possible in the software development cycle. The peer review process is also quite easy to measure. However, relatively few software project managers take an active interest in the data from the peer reviews taking place on their project and miss a golden opportunity to identify potential product defect issues and take corrective action. This article describes one way in which peer review data can be utilized for managing software defects in much the same way cost and schedule data are used to manage project budget and schedule commitments.
Too often, organizations that contract for software development services are at the mercy of vendors for cost and schedule estimates. Once a program office releases a request for proposal (RFP) for software development, it must somehow evaluate the validity of cost and schedule estimates that come back with the proposals. Or, a program might have a limited budget or schedule but not a clear understanding of what amount of development is actually feasible within these limitations. This article proposes an approach that can help buyers of software take control of this situation by providing the ability to objectively evaluate software development proposals, select the best value for their needs, and effectively manage acquisition costs from kickoff to product delivery. Reprinted by permission of the author.
Service-level agreements (SLAs) are one of the most critical components of an outsourcing arrangement. When properly designed and executed, SLAs drive desired behaviors, monitor performance and guide the governance of contractually agreed objectives. Learn how to properly frame SLAs for outsourcing success.
Everyone agrees that software estimating continues to be an ongoing problem for IT managers. Sometimes there is a perception that an estimation model is a black box with a magic process from which the absolute answer appears, when an estimate is just that – an estimate. We need to reframe our thinking about estimating and view it as a vehicle to manage customer and management expectations based on the best available information at that point in time.
Presented at the 13th Annual International Software Conference on Quality, this presentation discusses the various process improvement and productivity models and how to extract value from whichever model you choose.
Have you ever been presented with a set of requirements and been asked to size and estimate the project? This paper presents a set of semantic techniques for converting software requirements into function points (size) much earlier in the development lifecycle than thought possible.
Toxic applications should be every C-level executive’s worst nightmare, but few are even aware of them or the dangers they pose. Yet, C-level executives are the ones held accountable to stockholders, regulators, and customers when these time bombs explode and destroy business value. This paper introduces the concept of toxic applications and explains why C-level executives need to pay attention to them now. It provides actionable guidelines for engaging in productive dialogue with IT management to make the right risk-cost- benefit tradeoffs for significantly improving the business value of mission critical applications.
This paper provides a path for incorporating the use of function points into Agile estimation techniques. The process will yield an estimation process that combines one part functional metrics and one part parametric estimation techniques with two parts agile estimation (heavily influenced by Mike Cohn).
How does that old joke go? A fellow walks into the doctor’s office with a bad stomachache. The doctor examines him and says, "I think you need your appendix out." The patient says, "I want a second opinion," and the doctors says, "… and I think you’re ugly." Badda-boom. Okay, so maybe it isn’t so funny anymore. Well neither is a project estimate that is ill-conceived, resulting in misrepresented delivery expectations. There are times when a second opinion estimate is critical to the on-time, on-budget delivery of software and to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction.
This paper introduces the concept of the Value Tetrahedron, which has been developed for business use of software metrics. The Value Tetrahedron enables a business to understand the balance between technical debt and software development performance based on software metrics, where technical debt is the inherent indebtedness of an organization due to deviations from technical and architectural standards and uncleared known and unknown defects. The concept of the Value Tetrahedron allows an organisation to make informed decisions about the level of technical debt that it is willing to carry within its systems and portfolio.
Outsourcing is about adding a competitive link to your ‘VALUE CHAIN,’ not just a cheap cog in your supply chain. At the end of the day, you must have added value that supports your business objectives. This article talks about avoiding mistakes common to organizations that are new to outsourcing.
The later you find a software defect, the exponentially more expensive it gets to fix. That’s the most quoted statistic in software engineering. The sooner you find and fix software defects, the better off you are. So, why don’t we do formal inspections, aka code reviews, find problems early, fix them fast, and take the weekends off? This article examines the benefits of extending human expertise using Smart Automation.
This document shares the four pillars necessary for a PMO to perform at a higher level in an Agile environment.
The most common Functional Size Measurement (FSM) Methods compared to each other.
This is an abstract from The Business Value of IT: Managing Risks, Optimizing Performance, and Measuring Results.
In this abstract, you will learn: 1) How information technology (IT) adds value to your
business; 2) How to measure and demonstrate that value; and 3) Why your business
personnel and your IT team members must have a close working relationship.
This document describes the steps that are necessary to successfully complete the Measurement RoadmapSM . The Measurement RoadmapSM is a propriety framework, developed by DCG Software Value.
The multi-step Performance Benchmark Process facilitates an organization, or a line of business, in coming to a consensus on the most important goals and values for IT to focus on. This is done by measuring a sample of project-related data and analyzing the information for comprehensive insight into your IT organization’s productivity and quality performance.
DCG worked with a federal government agency and its program-level managers to define and establish Agile program-level metrics, consistent with traditional waterfall measures.
Our partner, The Spitfire Group, helped a startup in the intelligence, mapping and travel industries bring a mobile-enabled product to the market. The Spitfire team used Agile methodologies to identify and develop the features that would have the most impact, enabling a simplified approach for future expansion of the product.
A small business located in the United States was bidding on a contract with the Navy. The contract required the use of function points. DCG worked with the company to create a customized, flexible sizing model.
In the end, the company was grateful for our help, for the quick turnaround and for our tailored solution, stating, “I guess that’s the difference between other vendors and DCG.”
DCG worked with an American multinational consumer goods company to establish a customized estimation program for ongoing use.
The company now reports a better understanding of its software projects and is able to produce high-confidence estimates that reduce risk and improve the company’s overall development process.
DCG worked with a company to implement TMMi with the goal of improving software quality and more effectively managing risk.
Learn how one organization implemented a limited version of the Scaled Agile Framework to reap the benefits and fit the needs of its IT environment.
Sean Barrett with Vistaprint shares his experience piloting AgilityHealth and next steps ahead for his teams.
Rene Rosendahl, the Director of Agile Enablement Services at Cox Automotive, shares the story of why they decided to look for a measurement tool and how he designed the pilot and successful rollout strategy for AgilityHealth across 100+ teams at Cox Automotive.
DCG has a long-standing engagement with a global financial solutions provider in the form of an Estimation Center of Excellence (CoE). CoE sizing is executed via Function Point Analysis. However, DCG noticed an increasing number of non-functional requirements in the CoE projects and suggested a trial to determine if non-functional sizing, via the Software Non-Functional Assessment Process (SNAP), was a necessary, ongoing addition to the CoE.
A group of three software teams within one branch of the military required an estimation program to help them to better estimate and subsequently meet their deadlines. DCG recommended a function point program for sizing, coupled with an estimation program to provide information regarding level of effort. Read the case study for additional information and results.
QuantiMetrics offers benchmarking solutions based on the largest database of IT information in the world to provide valuable insights to gauge IT effectiveness and optimize performance.
Learn more about successful engagements with QuantiMetrics.
The importance of accurate function point counts is paramount to the success of an organization who utilizes its counts to make IT-related decisions and to track the successes or challenges associated with its software. This case study highlights DCG's internal and external Function Point Analysis audits, which ensure the accuracy of the metrics, providing confidence in a company's sizing program.
DCG Software Value was contacted by a private equity group who was building an international company focused on a particular business sector in the United States. At the company’s request, Mike Harris, CEO of DCG, joined a small due diligence team to provide software expertise and objectivity in the group’s acquisition of one sector of a large company that was pulling out of the target business sector.
A major national telecommunications company decided to outsource a majority of its large application development portfolio to a vendor. The company and the vendor agreed to a set of minimum standards for quality and productivity, associating monthly payment with the amount of software delivered in releases, measured in function points. To comply with this standard, the vendor established a Function Point Analysis program to measure its software quality and productivity.
They agreed to use DCG Software Value to independently validate the vendor’s function point counts. This case study discusses the outsourcing arrangement and DCG's role in validating the vendor's function point counts.
Learn how DCG worked with one company to develop a set of units of measure for improved predictability. The company can now better prepare for projects and more strategically bid on contracts, ultimately facilitating more informed business decisions.
Learn how DCG helped one company to identify the reasons why it was struggling to deliver its software on time and on budget and the recommendations offered for improvement.
Learn how DCG led one company to a successful Level 3 Maturity Rating by filling multiple roles within the organization, from PPQA Auditor, to Quality Assurance Manager and more!
Learn how DCG helped one company analyze and improve its estimation program for better predictability and reduced costs.
DCG helps a leading consulting services firm to prepare for its SCAMPI A and subsequent CMMI Maturity Level rating.
A global service company that provides innovative payment and expense management solutions for consumers and businesses understood the importance of developing its own IT benchmarking program in order to identify opportunities to improve its development practices.
To achieve such a program, the company sought to leverage the measurement expertise of DCG Software Value (DCG), reaching out to DCG for assistance.
This case study outlines how DCG worked with the company to establish a benchmarking program and the benefits received from its implementation.
The IT department at the most diversified healthcare company in the United States realized the importance of establishing a consistent and well-defined estimation program to aid in managing a multitude of projects and applications.
To achieve this, the company brought on DCG Software Value to quickly establish a Function Point Analysis program, while simultaneously teaching employees to run the program without the use of outside assistance – a Build, Teach, Transfer system.
This case study outlines the engagement and its outcome.
When one of the world leaders in the design, engineering and production of military and special purpose vehicles wanted to achieve a CMMI Maturity Level 3 assessment, it turned to DCG Software Value. Learn more about how DCG helped the company successfully earn a Level 3 Maturity rating.
Learn how an Estimation Center of Excellence helped a global financial solutions provider to create and maintain a program that utilizes metrics for productivity performance baselines and measuring software quality.
Learn how DCG's Mike Harris filled the position of Temporary Head of Product Management in order to finalize and execute a strategic partnership that included the development of a new product.
A leading customer management company reached out to DCG Software Value for help in improving its software development. DCG recommended a measurement program, which would provide data that would drive decisions, as well as an over-arching governance practice, which would help determine what decisions to make, who would make them and how they would be made.
A branch of the United States military develops Government-Off-the-Shelf (GOTS) applications built on the Microsoft .NET framework. The organization was committed to using a particular instance of the framework, designed by a vendor. It selected DCG to validate the framework with an external assessment of its architectural and performance software code.
To execute the project, DCG worked with its partner organizations, CAST, a world leader in Software Analysis and Measurement, and Alliance Global, a software development firm that builds tools to perform code reviews using advanced application analytic tools.
A major international manufacturer of vehicle parts launched a transformation in its approach to Application Development & Maintenance by actively creating a culture of continuous improvement through performance measurement.
In order to ensure project comparability, the team decided to use function points. It reached out to DCG Software Value (DCG), based on its reputation and expertise in Function Point Analysis.
A large global banking corporation works with a number of third-party vendors in order to complete key projects in an efficient manner. As a result, the company brought DCG on board to size and evaluate the work that had been completed to-date, resulting in an estimation of how long that piece of work should have taken. This engagement highlighted a typical business problem wherein projects are not meeting agreed-upon parameters. In cases such as these, Function Point Analysis proves to be a useful tool in measuring and evaluating software projects, providing solid data on how long a project should realistically take.
A major financial self-service, security and services corporation wanted to assess its Agile processes and identify areas for improvement. DCG’s appraisal process assessed the company’s current practices to the twelve Agile principles, as well as a standard set of process areas synthesized from an analysis of current Agile methods. DCG’s appraisal confirmed the company’s concern that it was not following Agile best practices and offered key recommendations for improvement.
One of the world’s largest and most successful global equity capital firms struggled with its Agile adoption. The benefits associated with Agile were sporadic and key deadlines were missed. DCG took the IT teams through its Agile JumpStart program – hands-on, real-time training customized to accelerate Agile adoption. The result? An increased ability to manage resources, meet deadlines and provide measureable progress results to the business.
The Information Technology team at a major energy utility company located in the mid-Atlantic region wanted to ensure that it was providing optimum, noticeable value to its business units, as well as the overall company. With the understanding that defining value requires measurements that can be tracked over time, the team reached out to DCG Software Value, based on its reputation and expertise in software metrics.
This presentation outlines a case study explaining how two organizations are successfully adopting program- and portfolio-level measures and metrics to reduce costs, improve predictable delivery, and quantify business value in an Agile environment.
If you’re not healthy, you’re not going to perform well. Simple enough. The same thing applies to your Agile team. Not healthy? Good luck getting anything done (or at least done well).
But, like many of us skip our routine physical exams because we’re “too busy,” we also skip our Agile team checkups, leaving “well enough” alone. It’s time to evaluate the health of your Agile team, starting with the most important component, the heart of the team, the retrospective.
To get your team’s health back on track, you need a powerful, deep-dive strategic retrospective that focuses on the top areas that affect team performance and health. This presentation from Denver Startup Week discusses the 5 dimensions of team health: Clarity, Performance, Leadership, Culture, and Foundation, including how to monitor and track them, and how to make sure they stay at a high-performance level over time.
Learn actionable steps for maximizing the flow of business value from software. This is Mike Harris' presentation from the 2016 CIO Forum.
Learn strategies for how teams can work with and around their biases. You will also learn how a better understanding of psychology can make an Agile team more efficient and effective.
The Test Maturity Model integration (TMMi) is a guide for best practices. This presentation uses a case study, based on scenarios from several TMMi appraisals, to educate testers on the model, how the TMMi appraisal process works, and the types of information they can learn through process introspection. The goal is to provide you with a tool to do a high-level assessment of your organization.
One of the dilemmas most Agile teams face is how to generate an initial backlog. The best way to do this is by assembling a cross-functional team and using facilitated storytelling to generate a set of scenarios, which are then decomposed into features, epics, and user stories using standard grooming techniques. This process not only provides the team with the information needed to create user stories, but also provides context for what is being built.
Learn how this process works and how it can implemented in your organization - and to what benefit.
There are many levels of estimation, including budgeting, high-level estimation, and task planning (detailed estimation). We can link a more classic view of estimation to the Agile planning onion - strategic planning is the outer layer and the planning that occurs in the daily sprint meetings is at the core. Each layer closer to the core relates more to a team’s day-to-day activity. The #NoEstimates movement eschews developing story or task-level estimates, and as you get closer to the core of the planning onion, the case for #NoEstimates becomes more compelling.
This presentation discusses the differences between budgeting, planning, and estimation, as applied to testing in an Agile environment, and when each technique makes sense, when they don't, and in what combination for testing.
The presentation discusses the importance of retrospectives.
A retrospective must provide a platform for an Agile team to reflect on its performance and determine how it can achieve more. The retrospective technique should be driven both by the team and the project at hand.
Learn various retrospective techniques and how to select the right one.
This presentation discusses how providing IT with the economic data for software development initiatives can lead to improved decision making and ultimately impact an organization’s bottom line. Learn how you can use the 5-step Value Visualization Framework (VVF) to promote collaboration between the business units and IT in order to prioritize projects based on their value.
This presentation is useful for anyone struggling with how to scale their Agile teams. It describes how one organization tackled a complicated scaled Agile transformation, modifying the model to meet the team's needs.
Learn how to use estimation in an Agile environment.
Learn how the implementation of Agile processes allows you to avoid spending significant time analyzing risks, while making it very difficult for an unseen risk to sneak up on your project.
This presentation discusses how social media, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC) affect software development. It focuses on how organizations should prepare for these changes, particularly in terms of improving the flow of business value.
Learn how combining the discipline of functional metrics with the collaborative approaches found in Agile parametric estimation has proved to be an effective way to estimate in an Agile environment.
Learn how the sizing framework, the Software Non-Functional Assessment Process (SNAP), can be used to size non-functional software requirements, providing a more complete and accurate assessment of the size of a project.
This presentation discusses how to implement best practices for mitigating risk in an Agile environment.
Learn how to effectively tailor and use the TMMi model in plan-based and Agile environments, and how to measure the results.
This presentation discusses how to use software asset due diligence and IT management techniques to increase software value, prevent unexpected capital expense requests and preserve exit strategy opportunities at higher valuations.
This presentation, from the 2015 ITFMA conference, shares simple techniques for optimizing the flow of economic value and bringing economic value metrics into the tactical decision-making of the software development process.
In early 2014, Mike Harris took on an Agile training and coaching engagement for a small team with a big project - building a new website for the mayor and assembly of a major city in the UK. This short case study describes the context, the challenges, the successes and the failures of the engagement. It explains the easy and difficult aspects of working within a traditional project management framework, PRINCE2.
Mike presented this at the AgileDC conference in October 2014.
Learn more about DCG's partnership with QuantiMetrics.
QuantiMetrics offers benchmarking solutions based on the largest database of IT information in the world to provide valuable insights to gauge IT effectiveness and optimize performance.
In 2012, the IT department at The Carlyle Group (TCG) decided to embrace Agile after a number of false starts. TCG and the David Consulting Group decided on an immersive approach to implementing Agile, rather than a "train them and they will come" approach.
The presentation provides context for how Agile was embraced at TCG and where the company stands today. These "lessons learned" can be leveraged by any organization.
An introduction to Function Point Analysis, including what it is and who would benefit from it. At DCG, we offer a variety of function point counting services, using both COSMIC and IFPUG.
Troubled projects have been part of the IT environment since the beginning. When a project is big enough to require a formal project turnaround rather than just jumping in to fix things, it is critical to recognize that the work to recover the troubled project is itself a project. Transparency is required to understand what is wrong and decisions must be made based on the certain knowledge of what has been completed. Once the project has been re-defined, re-estimated and re-planned, the project must then be focused on the newly agreed upon work to ensure that the new expectations are met.
Combining Agile management and testing techniques have proven to be a powerful method for addressing troubled projects by providing the intimacy and transparency that siloed techniques generally cannot.
Learn how to utilize benchmarking in IT in order to improve performance.
Learn a fast-approach to sizing your software with the use of function point analysis.
Learn how to assess and leverage your organization's current development processes, establishing a set of best practices for moving forward.
Learn more about DCG Software Value, a global provider of Function Point Analysis, Software Value, and Software Estimation services.
Learn the fundamental elements of a software measurement program that supports your business success.
This presentation provides an introduction to Function Point Analysis, the industry standard software sizing metric.
This presentation reviews the most frequently used financial and non-financial measures of IT value. All measurements, including IT value measurements, are only useful and worth making if they are used to guide decisions. This means that all measurements have to be available to decision makers. The presentation proposes some ways of presenting value information for decisions.
This presentation discusses advanced practices of the Function Point Metric used by organizations worldwide to accurately size systems in an effort to meet customer demand on time and within budget.
This presentation outlines the importance of linking measurements to outcomes that support the goals of the business. It is from Terry Voght, BAH, was the winner of the David Consulting Group Innovation Works! award at the 2008 ISMA Conference.
This presentation discusses the 6 essential truths you must know about IT estimation and how they affect your project performance. It includes a brief overview of the SEER FOR IT (non-software) project estimation tool available from Galorath.
Can "Software as a Service" (Saas) be a value-added proposition to your software process improvement initiative? In a word - yes! Process and project management tools are available in an SaaS format and can add value to most process improvement initiatives. This presentation discusses this valuable path to improved performance.
This presentation, from David Consulting Group (DCG) and PIEmatrix, shows you how best practice processes and project portfolios can be executed and governed with a real-time software-as-a-service (SaaS) collaborative platform. We will show you how this solution will make it easy for all team members to improve productivity and for management to gain transparency and predictability with a real-time simple dashboard.
This presentation, from DCG and Michelin, discusses four major steps for software cost savings.
Understanding your application quality metrics will help you improve performance and reduce risk. Progressive CIOs and their teams have more than opinion about their critical applications, they have data. Find out how to get actionable, quality data about your critical applications.
This presentation discusses what value you are receiving for your software maintenance investment dollar, and how you can make the most of that investment.
Model-based process improvement typically centers on a single model or framework as the lynchpin to control software process improvement within an organization. The use of a model or framework is an excellent means of reducing random activity; unfortunately, one model does not cover the whole organization. Process improvement has matured to a point where the span of control needs to be extended, which suggests the use of more than one model (e.g. CMMI, ISO, ITIL). This presentation discusses how to manage process improvement in a complex, multi-model environment.
This presentation, from the 2009 UK Software Metrics Association (UKSMA) Annual Meeting, discusses IFPUG tool certification requirements, the introduction of counting capabilities in the market, a report of Zurich Insurance’s experiences with tools and suggestions on how to best utilize automated function point counting. This presentation was delivered by Mike Harris and David Kempsity from Zurich Insurance.
Have you ever had a project come in late or over budget? Of course you have, and you’re not alone. Very few organizations have effective sizing and estimating practices. This presentation discusses an economical and realistic solution to your estimating woes. Estimating on demand is a service that can provide you with the information you need to make better and more informed decisions.
Presented at the Best Practices Conference (Paris, France; Nov. 2009), this presentation focuses on the state of the industry regarding automated function point counting and options available to companies looking to leverage this best practice method.
This presentation provides information on the important changes to the CPM 4.2 standard, which now is updated to 4.3.
Sizing quickly and early in the lifecycle creates a scenario for estimators and project managers where they can turn early requirement WORDS into NUMBERS. How easy is that! Learn why sizing is important and how you can use Quick and Early Function Points.
This presentation address issues concerning effective estimation. It discusses a basic model for estimation, along with common sense techniques, use of historical and industry data and automated/on-demand estimation.
Benchmarking provides a roadmap to lower the cost of performance measurement, thereby helping you make better decisions using less data. Less is more! This presentation outlines a path for incorporating this practice of targeted performance measurement at a much lower cost.
Learn more about Tom Cagley and Murali Chemuturi's contribution to the Software Project Management body of knowledge. This presentation discusses concepts from their book, "Mastering Software Project Management: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques."
Improving on-time delivery is dependent on many factors. Starting the project off with an estimate that is factual helps set proper momentum. This presentation discusses the importance of effective estimation and how DCG's Estimation Services can help you advance your on-time delivery goals.
A presentation by Tom Cagley on functional metrics for application development and how early estimation can foster improved portfolio management.
Project management offices - a great idea made ineffective by poor execution. Great PMOs help organizations get things done. Unfortunately, industry studies show that most PMOs have become PAOs, project administrator offices, lacking the influence to help projects meet tactical and strategic objectives. Learn how your PMO can become great by closing the gap on performance with proven best practices.
Preparing your organization for the cultural and technical change that a portfolio management system brings is a challenge. Whether you are implementing a tool or creating a newprocess, there are best practices that can support your success before you buy or start. This presentation reviews the best practices in portfolio management preparation.
Results from a 2011 DCG survey of project managers.
A question that seems to be circulating within IT organizations these days is whether or not the roles and responsibilities of the Project Management Office (PMO) are adaptable to supporting Agile projects. Do traditional PMO practices fit the Agile models, such as Scrum or feature-driven development? This presentation serves to advance that discussion by presenting observations from recent client experiences, as well as sharing some of the current thinking on the subject of PMOs and their role in supporting Agile.
This is a basic overview of the benefits and uses of function points for executive leadership.
Effective measurement requires fewer measures! But to make it so, the selected measures have to link to organizational goals, or they have no value. This presentation discusses how to make sure what you are measuring will lead to better decision making for you and your organization.
PMOs and Agile groups can work together cooperatively despite their inherent different roles. This presentation discusses how to listen and integrate the different voices in the organization to improve effectiveness.
Learn how to achieve Agile Estimation through the use of Functional Metrics.
Can lean principles be applied to Software Development? What would plant floor waste minimization, just in time systems teach software artists about being more productive? This presentation provides a fascinating perspective to these questions.
This presentation of slides from a recent webinar outlines the four best practices that lead to higher PMO performance.
This presentation is from Gordana Kis of the Bank of Montreal. Gordana was the 2011 winner of the DCG Innovation Award at IFPUG's 6th annual ISMA Conference. This presentation is posted here with her permission.
A project manager makes many important decisions throughout the life of a project. Decisions regarding resources, expenses and schedules are just a small part of what they are being asked to manage. Many of the decisions a project manager makes are dependent upon having good information and being able to use that information to produce realistic plans and estimates. David Herron examines what information is necessary to produce realistic estimates, allowing for better and more informed decisions.
The IT Capability Management Framework (IT-CMF) changes the way IT contributes to the business. Don't let the cloud and commoditization limit your technology horizons. Learn how IT can contribute at every step of the value chain. These slides are a companion to the webinar.
These webinar companion slides outline how data is used to help drive strategic change.
Has Agile really taken hold and improved delivery and quality as promised? Have you started, then stopped, then fallen back to old patterns? Are you really doing SCUMFALL, as opposed to leveraging Agile methods that will work for you? These slides provide a briefing on DCG's Agile JumpStart, giving your Application Development leadership an approach to accelerate Agile adoption for real gains in change and productivity.
Experts from CAST and DCG explain how to proactively manage risk while optimizing the value you bring to the business. Learn how adding application quality measurements into the assessment process can ensure project deliverables meet requirements and expectations.
This presentation is from Lionel Perot of Semantys. Lionel was the 2012 winner of the DCG Innovation Award at IFPUG's 7th annual ISMA Conference. This presentation is posted here with his permission.
CMMI and Agile can work together - here's how.
This presentation outlines what you should expect from a CMMI appraisal.
Broadcast: March 16, 2017
Listen in as Tom Cagley, Certified Scrum Master and Function Point Specialist, describes how to incorporate Function Point Analysis into an Agile metrics program.
You will have an understanding of an estimation process that combines one part functional metrics and one part parametric estimation with two parts Agile estimating and planning.
DCG Webinar: Function Points Don't Work. Or Do They?
Broadcast: March 7, 2017
Presenter: Steve Kitching, Managing Director - DCG UK, Function Point & Estimating Specialist CFPS, Certified Scrum-Master
We hear all the time that function points don't work in organisations. Listen to this web seminar and find out for sure! The seminar covers what a measurement program should look like, how to measure performance, what functions points are - and what they are not, and how the no estimates movement may be leaving out critical information.
Testing is an essential part of software development, and is even more critical with the arrival of complex integrated systems with business transactions that need to be bulletproof to defects. It doesn’t really matter whether you do agile or classic waterfall, testing is still going to be a big part of your lifecycle, and so it is imperative that it be as efficient as possible without reducing the expected quality. But there is another variable to this equation, and that is the cost of testing which has become a concern for many organizations. This report is divided into two parts. The first focuses on cost tracking and capturing other variables that help us make decisions regarding our testing strategy. The second analyzes several options to improve our testing efficiency.
Estimation and software measurements are interrelated concepts but they are not the same. This paper examines the potential impact of adopting a #NoEstimates approach for estimation on software measurement.
Within the agile world story points are considered the metric to go to if we talk about teams that want to estimate the relative effort for their user stories. However, within organizations that use multiple agile teams, when we extrapolate those story points to an Epic level, the aggregate metric starts to show some flaws that need to be acknowledged.
This report analyzes the use of story points at the Epic level and proposes some alternative sizing solutions.
It is commonly accepted that most organizations today have moved, are moving, or are evaluating a move toward the use of the Agile methodology. This report considers: (a) why the move to Agile; (b) what it means to adopt the Agile methodology to incur a transformation; (c) how to measure to know if your transformation is successful; and (d) how to insure that the effects of the transformation are continued.
Many venture capitalists, investors, and managers have experienced unforeseen and unnecessary losses due to hidden challenges in a target company’s software. Excessive enhancement requirements stemming from the size and/or complexity of a software asset can lead to significant upgrades and maintenance costs – or worse – non-performing functionality. These, sometimes large, issues can remain unidentified until very late in the development lifecycle. If your company is acquiring another company, you can plan to integrate their software with yours by working with the M&A team as early as possible to gather information about the risks and challenges that you are likely to face during the due diligence process.
This month’s report will focus on how to improve estimation practices by incorporating the Software Non-functional Assessment Process (SNAP) developed by the International Function Point User’s Group (IFPUG) into the estimation process.
This month’s report will focus on two key areas of vendor management. The first is vendor price evaluation which involves projecting the expected price for delivery on the requirements. The second is vendor governance. This is the process of monitoring and measuring vendor output through the use of service level measures.
In this report, we suggest some considerations for executives seeking to grow the number of agile teams in their organization. At some point, changes are needed at the top. In particular, the portfolio management team needs to reorganize the proposed software development work to allow it to be pulled by the programs and teams from a portfolio backlog prioritized by economic value.
We’re pleased to share this month’s Trusted Advisor, which was written by Capers Jones. Capers is a well-known author and speaker on topics related to software estimation. He is the co-founder, Vice President, and Chief Technology Officer of Namcook Analytics LLC, which builds patent-pending advanced risk, quality, and cost estimation tools.
Many thanks to Capers for participating in Trusted Advisor and allowing us to publish his report!
The 30th anniversary of the International Function Point User’s Group (IFPUG) is approaching. As such, this report addresses a brief history of the origin of function points. The author, Capers Jones, was working at IBM in the 1960’s and 1970’s, observing the origins of several IBM technologies, such as inspections, parametric estimation tools, and function point metrics. This report discusses the origins and evolution of function point metrics.
Since the invention of Function Points (FPs) any time new development methods, techniques, or technologies are introduced the following questions always arise: “Can we still use FPs?”, “Do FPs apply?”, “How do we approach FP counting?”. These questions came up around middleware, real-time systems, web applications, component based development, and object oriented development, to name a few. With the increased use of Agile methodologies; therefore, the increased use of User Stories, these questions are being asked again. It is good to ask these questions and have conversations to ensure that the use and application of FPs is consistent throughout the industry in all situations. The short answers to the questions are: Can we still use FPs? YES. Do FPs apply? YES. How do we approach FP counting? The answer to this last question is what this article will address.
The effective use of function points centers around three primary functions: estimation, benchmarking and identifying service-level measures.
More and more organizations are adopting some form of Agile framework for application development and enhancement. The most recent VersionOne State of Agile Survey reveals that 94% of organizations practice Agile. Hot technologies such as big data, analytics, cloud computing, portlets and APIs are becoming ever more popular in the industry.
This report explores each of the three primary functions of function points and their relevance in today’s Agile dominated IT world and with new technologies.
To assess the value of function points (any variety), it is important to step back and address two questions. The first is “What are function points (in a macro sense)” and secondly “Why do we measure?”
This report discusses the tension between organizational need of budgetary data for planned Agile deliverables vs traditional project cost accounting. Agile project lean-budgeting best practices at the portfolio level are highlighted to illuminate the importance of estimating and budgeting as Agile scales in an organization. The Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) portfolio and value steam levels, as presented in SAFe 4.0, provide the backdrop for this discussion.
Every company wants to maximize its profits while meeting its customer expectations. The primary purpose of software delivery is to provide a product to the customer that will validate a business idea, and ultimately provide value to the end-user. There must be feedback between the customer and the business, and this iterative process must be performed quickly, cheaply and reliably.1 The real question is how does an organization know whether its software delivery is performing at optimal levels?
This report considers the following topics.
Every retrospective requires some sort of tool. Tools can be as simple as a white board and markers or as complex as mind-mapping and screen-sharing software. When a team is distributed, screen sharing and teleconferencing/videoconferencing tools are necessities. The combination of technique and level of team distribution will influence tool selection. Likewise, tool availability will influence technique selection. For example, use a mind mapping tool and screen sharing when executing a listing retrospective for a distributed team so that each location can see the ideas and participate. If the distributed team could not use those tools, you will have to find a different approach. Generally the technique defines the toolset, but that is not always the case. When everyone is in the same room sticky notes are great but when team members are teleconferencing into the retrospective electronics are required.
The retrospective can’t become ritualized to the point that it lacks meaning. Each retrospective needs to provide a platform for the Agile team to reflect on their performance and to determine how they can achieve more. This is a team activity that requires a free flow of conversation and ideas in order to maximize effectiveness. That means someone needs to facilitate the process and police the boundary. No team is perfect and all teams can learn and improve on a continuous basis. Most obstacles to effective retrospectives are solvable with a bit of coaching and education, if you recognize the obstacles before you abandon the technique. Facilitation skills, retrospective techniques and tools are all important for an effective retrospective. The technique is driven by needs of the team. The coach/facilitator needs to be aware of the needs of the team and the proper tools to facilitate the technique. If they are not available, pick another technique. However once the retrospective begins, facilitation skills are always the most important factor. Even with the best technique and tools, retrospectives are all about the people.
In this paper, we consider the impact of the digital transformation on software development and whether the Agile Scrum approach being used by many organizations to help the software development teams respond more effectively and quickly to business demands can be used more widely in the organization for digital transformation.
We focus on what has been termed “SMAC.” The acronym derived from the names for what many believe to be the driving forces of the latest wave of digital transformation:
• Social media
• Analytics (or “big data”)
It is our belief that Agile principles and methods can be applied throughout an organization to deliver effective digital transformation.
This report addresses the question in the following areas:
Scrum defines three basic roles within a Scrum team: developers (including testers), a scrum master/coach and product owner. Each of these roles is critical for delivering value effectively and efficiently. The product owner role is deceptively simple. The product owner is the voice of the customer; a conduit to bring business knowledge into the team. They define what needs to be delivered to support the business (or at least finds out), dynamically provides answers and feedback to the team and prioritize the backlog. From a business perspective, the product owner is the face of the project. This essay will highlight the role of the product owner and why something that seems so easy is generally the hardest role on an Agile team.
The job description of a product owner is fairly straightforward. Their job is to act as the voice of the customer, prioritize the backlog, answer or get answers to the team’s questions and accept/reject the work that the team generates. However the devil is in the details. Understanding the nuances of applying the role is important to successfully function as part of an Agile team.
Story Points and Function Points are both methods for ‘sizing’ software. This Trusted Advisor report will establish why sizing is important and present an overview of the two sizing methods followed by a discussion on the merits of both Story Points and Function Points by answering some very common questions:
Can I use function points on an agile project?
“Story points are much easier and faster than function points?”
Is there a relationship between story points and function points?
This paper discusses the time constraints of testing, its impact on several testing stakeholders, and possible ways to mitigate this problem. It includes:
• Statistics on testing length.
• Who are some of the stakeholders for software testing?
• What kinds of delays do testers frequently face?
• Making more time to test.
Discuss what is meant by value, the process of sizing and estimating the software deliverable and the benefits of those results
• What is “Value”?
• Functional Value
• More on the estimation process
• Case study example
Estimation is one of the lightening rod issues in software development and maintenance. Over the past few years the concept of #NoEstimates has emerged and has become a movement within the Agile community. Due to its newness, #NoEstimates has several camps revolving around a central concept of not generating task level estimates. The newness of the movement also means there are no (or very few) large example projects that can be used as references . Finally there are no published quantitative studies of results comparing the results of work performed using #NoEstimates techniques to other methods. In order to have a conversation we need to be begin by establishing a shared context and language across the gamut of estimating ideas whether Agile or not. Without a shared language that includes #NoEstimates we will not be able to compare the concept to classical estimation concepts.
This report investigates how changes to the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) can improve the delivery of demonstrable value to the business. We consider how we might measure “demonstrable value” in a way that the business will understand. We review the theory of “Lean Software Engineering” and we suggest some ways that the theory can be applied to optimize different SDLC’s. Finally, we discuss the importance of Value Visualization – requiring each story or requirement in the SDLC to have a demonstrable and highly visible set of business value criteria to drive tactical decision making.
This report discusses the challenge Information Technology professionals face in marketing and selling their capabilities to their peers, or internal clients and how to meet that challenge in order to remain competitive in the ever commoditizing world of technology.
This report identifies evidence that projects are late, over budget or deliver less than promised. It then considers various potential causes for these failures including culture, process, and estimation and how getting these things right can contribute to success.
This report is not about ROI of agile methods versus other SDLC’s. Instead, we consider if the traditional approach to producing business cases for projects or programs by predicting financial outflows (project costs) and financial inflows (new income of savings) is still appropriate or even meaningful for agile software development based on scrum and/or enterprise wide extensions of scrum such as SAFe or DSDM.
This report provides a definition of Lean Software Development and explains some key characteristics. It explores the similarities and differences between Lean Software Development, Lean Manufacturing and Lean Six Sigma. Finally, it considers the extent to which traditional waterfall and agile (primarily scrum) approaches to software development can be considered as “Lean Software Development.”
This report addresses the following questions:
We discuss the different types of functional size measures other than the IFPUG methodology and review the pros and con of each, while also:
To answer this question with a yes or no answer we will need to look beyond the hyperbole of the question and address three separate questions. The questions that must be address begin with whether all types of testing can be automated followed by whether automated testing is sufficient and finally whether developers can replace testers.
The discussion that follows will explore:
• The key components of an effective estimating model
• The benefits of effective estimating
• The challenges impacting effective estimating
• Pros and cons of vendor developed estimating model(s)
To properly address the question and to evaluate the potential benefits of a vendor developed estimating model, we should understand the characteristics of an effective estimating model. Similarly we should know the benefits and challenges of estimating in order to evaluate the impact an estimating model may have on realizing those benefits and meeting those challenges. Once we have formed our basis of understanding in that regard we are then well positioned to evaluate the pros and cons of vendor developed estimating models.
In this report we examine what people consider as excellence in software development, and how they compare performance of development teams – the process of benchmarking. We will show that concentration on one aspect of excellence has a direct influence on other possible views. We will determine how individual views of excellence may coincide with aspects of the business lifecycle. Finally, we will look at how benchmarks tend to be driven to one conclusion, which may be optimum for one view of excellence but generally ignores the other factors.
Most if not all CFPS (Certified Function Point Specialists) have encountered projects that sit outside the organizational norm with significant development requirements for non-functional work.
Function points by their very name are focused on delivered functionality so do not provide for non-functional development.
SNAP (Software Non-functional Assessment Process) has been developed to supplement the FP sizing methodology and provide a sizing technique for the non- functional component.
This report considers the following:
When do I need to use a non-functional measure?
Where did SNAP come from?
What does it capture?
How do I implement it?
Do estimating products cover SNAP?
Can SNAP productivity be compared against the rest of the Industry?
Are there alternatives?
IT Governance is about defining what decisions need to be made, who should make them and how they should be made. One of the biggest decision areas that business and IT providers should exercise strong governance over is outsourcing.
Many books and articles have been written about IT outsourcing. The business and social impact of outsourcing and, particularly, offshoring have been huge in the 21st century. It seems that for every success story, there is a story of a painful transition. In 2008, when we published “The Business Value of IT”, we believed that there was no turning back and that the future masters of IT would necessarily be masters of outsourcing. Six years later, we still believe that there is no turning back although we would modify that stark assertion today with the observation that companies including some of our clients have recognized “Total Outsourcing” of software development represents a significant corporate risk to some business.
This report reviews the most significant risks of outsourcing software development and offers up some mitigation strategies.
The question driving this report assumes that a software defect backlog already exists. Hence, some but perhaps not all defects have been identified and logged. It assumes that the defects described in the software defect backlog are not sufficient to prevent the software from functioning. Hence, this report ignores much of the literature about software defect detection and tracking (which is adequately covered in the Sources listed for interested parties) to focus on the narrower perspective of what, if anything, should be done about those unaddressed defects in the software that have been reported by developers, testers, end-users or code analysis software.
The report concludes that there is no way to know if a particular Software Defect Backlog for a particular application or product matters without further analysis. The report recommends an approach for this further analysis.
The discussion of whether estimates based on historical data are better than estimates from subject matter experts (SME) is a difficult question. We suggest that as SMEs are actually repositories of historical data (their memory – as good or bad as that might be – assuming that they are ever informed about actuals) the question is a false dichotomy. Rather the question is more a reflection of whether a tool based estimate is better than a SME/expert based estimate.
In this report, we look at productivity primarily through a project management perspective. That said, we consider the strategic or top-down perspective and the tactical or bottom-up perspective separately.
How can I manage a project’s productivity? While the question may invoke a complex answer, the rationale for asking the question is quite simple: increased productivity reduces costs. Of course, this assumes that all other things stay the same and the report considers the interactions between cost, quality and time to market. It has been estimated that increasing global software productivity by even small percentages would translate into billions of dollars in savings and/or increased profitability. It is no small matter that organizations are constantly looking to improve their software delivery performance.
Should I even try? While on the surface this question may seem rhetorical and the response superficial, the real answer lies in the choice of goals for the project – we assume in this report that productivity is a high priority or else the question is moot – and the degree to which managing for high productivity can be achieved without compromising secondary objectives, the most difficult of which might be customer satisfaction.
This report seeks evidence that agile software development methods have had a positive impact on traditional performance metrics such as productivity, quality and time-to-market. We consider the assertion that this is not a fair question because, for agile, customer satisfaction is the primary metric. We also consider the possibility that the reported data is skewed by not considering the failure rates of agile projects and/or self-serving optimism from the large and vociferous agile coaching/consulting community (in which we must include ourselves). Finally, we provide the data.
There are a variety of ways to look at this question. The first response that comes to mind is to simply say, it depends. It depends on who is asking the question. For example, quality may be far more important than productivity if you are talking about a customer who is using the software. It depends on how we define quality and define productivity. Finally, it depends on what we mean by important.
Everyone has a different definition of Software Analytics and so it is fair to say that this is a broad topic. Hence, this report defines Software Analytics as much by the examples it gives as by one single formal definition. In answering the “who should care?” part of the question, the report seeks to identify roles that should be using Software Analytics already and/or could be using it more. We also look into the future to see how Software Analytics might change software development in organizations in the way that business intelligence has impacted some organizations.
Find out how you can manage change in order to get developers on board with using function points for software estimation.
This report is intended to show where Agile project integration and acceptance testing fit in the overall flow of Agile and why they are integral to effective Agile.
This report is intended to provide a value analysis, or business case, for how an effective estimating practice contributes value to the organization in both financial and non-financial terms.
This paper seeks to clarify how the TMMi works and what it contains.
The use of project metrics is often contentious and depends on the user’s viewpoint. In this report we take a look at what so-called “classic” project metrics are, how they might be defined, the consequences of the definitions, and how measures can be used effectively as part of assessing the outcome of a software development project.
Delivering software systems and services has always been a balancing act between delivering on time and delivering “best practices." Every so often, compromises are made on each end and, whether intentional or unintentional, technical debt is created in the process. If left unmanaged, technical debt can hinder, debilitate, and even render an entire organization obsolete. This report identifies some root causes of technical debt and then outlines what can be done to identify and manage it.
This Trusted Advisor report explores the genesis of Agile, current best practices and the three future trends clearly seen in today's marketplace.
This report examines the presumption that the adoption of a software tool for performing software estimates changes the emphasis of an organization's software estimation process from a reliance on subject matter experts to a reliance on project parameterization and the use of historic actual data for previous “similar” projects.
This report examines the Agile software development framework and how it compares to other SDLCs.
This report examines the pros and cons of distributing estimation to SMEs versus centralizing it.
This report determines if we are able to compare the two different function point counting methodologies - IFPUG and COSMIC. It also determines if there is a distinct correlation between the two methods.
This report explains the IT Capability Maturity Framework and compares it to other popular industry frameworks.
This report looks at what we consider to be current software development outsourcing best practices and then speculates on future directions.
Benchmarks of software development processes are now commonplace in our industry, and they can be used effectively in order to understand how a software development organization is performing in relation to others against certain key metrics, like productivity, quality and time to market.
Unfortunately, abuse of the process is common, leading to a devaluing of the process and the tendency to resist the use of metrics. In this report, we discuss how benchmarks can be used effectively within a commercial framework.
This report focuses on the use of the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI®) in organizations employing an Agile approach to development. We answer the question of whether Agile and CMMI can work together or if they are they polar opposites of each other.
This report examines why software development teams may have a separate Project Management Office, as well as the benefits and issues associated with that decision.
Software estimating continues to present challenges for programmers, project managers, and senior level IT managers. Most organizations consider their estimating practices to be ineffective and they have no real sense of how to make them better. However, if an IT organization is serious about improving their estimating practices and they want to estimate more effectively (accurately), there are workable solutions available.
This report examines how to utilize software estimation techniques more effectively.
We often read articles about software development best practices. There is no known industry standard or certification that is used to qualify something as a best practice, nor are there any rules or guidelines that help to classify something as a best practice. So, how do we know if something is a best practice? What gives a practice or a process that special distinction of being the ‘best?' This report examines how IT can identify its own best practices.
For the purposes of this report, we will adopt and test the hypothesis that Agile development and iterative development are different, look at the characteristics they share and don’t share, and then, either accept or reject the hypothesis.
This report examines the purpose functional metrics play in newer development frameworks like Agile.
The volume of software to be delivered by a project and the effort taken to deliver it are the principle drivers of software productivity. However, this is not a simple correlation, and in this report we consider how system characteristics affect productivity. We consider what other factors can influence productivity and which industries might be impacted.
The transition to Agile, or the evolution of Agile within the organization, is just one of the changes that an IT Manager finds on her plate today. In order to get the biggest bang for the buck from Agile, an IT Manager must have a basic understand of Agile. This report examines the need-to-know characteristics of Agile.
Is the function point method still viable “as is” in newer technologies? The answer is “yes,” but the function point counter must know how to appropriately apply the FPA guidelines. This article examines three types of architectures used in today’s business sectors: client server/cloud computing; real-time, process control and embedded systems; and service oriented architecture (SOA) -- and what to consider when counting in those scenarios.
This report reviews the role of IT governance with regard to leadership, management, clients and users of IT. It also reviews effective organizational structures to establish governance that seeks to achieve business goals and the contributions to those structures of the practitioners within IT Providers.
In some circumstances, Agile can be used to rescue troubled IT projects. Learn when to use Agile as a tool and how to employ it for success.
This report examines if automated function point counting is useful and/or effective in today's IT industry.
This report explains how to successfully use both waterfall and Agile in combination.
The average cost to fix a defect at the end of the lifecycle is 400-800 times greater than if it were addressed earlier. On average, poor requirement practices account for 60 percent of a project’s time and budget. Organizations with well-defined, closely managed, and effectively measured quality activities succeed and continuously improve. Yet, in a recent survey, 77 percent of managers reported that bad decisions have been made due to a lack of accurate information.
This presentation outlines the TMMi model, the de facto international standard to assess and improve test maturity, featuring independent best practices from more than 14 quality and test models. It explores how TMMI can be used in conjunction with the GQM model to ensure that upper management is provided with the information they need to make informed business decisions.