Publications by DCG

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Articles

The Software Value Management Office (SVMO)

This white paper discusses how to transform the PMO into a strategic partner to deliver business value.

Author: Mike Harris
Benchmarking Guide for Software Development and Maintenance Projects

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.

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How can we get more value out of software development?

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.

Author: Mike Harris
IT as a Value Center (not a Profit Center or Cost Center)

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."

Author: Mike Harris
The Average Size of a Project

DCG shares the average size of its clients' projects.

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Story Points or Function Points

This article answers key questions DCG is often asked about the difference between story points and function points.

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Finding the Right Service-Level Measure in a Changing Outsourcing Landscape

A discussion on how to best manage your vendor relationships.

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5 Problems that Impact Testing Effectiveness and Efficiency

5 problems that can make testing less effective.

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Enable Enterprise Agile Throughout the Organization

Review the top 8 areas of an organization that need scrum in order to enable enterprise Agile.

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Test-Driven Development and Agile

Learn how to combine Agile and Test-Driven Development for improved software quality. 

Author: James Jandebeur
SAFe® 4.0 Introduction

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.

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AgilityHealth Radar: TeamHealth Assessment

This document provides an overview of the AgilityHealth Radar workshop.

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Enterprise Mobile Jumpstart

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.

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Software Vendor Savings

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.

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Believable Estimates

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.

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Function Points and Software Testing

This article discusses why function points are useful in software testing.

Author: James Jandebeur
Software Asset Integration Management

Software AIM is an analysis of how to integrate the acquired software into the current environment. Learn more about this service.

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Software Asset Maturity Analysis

Software AMA is a profile of the return-on-investment for acquired software, with an eye on the future.. Learn more about this service.

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Software Asset Due Diligence Overview

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.

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Software Asset Risk Management Overview

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.

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Mergers and Acquisitions Services

Learn more about how we support organizations as they evaluate and execute the IT-related aspects of mergers and acquisitions.

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Agile Overview

Learn more about DCG's range of Agile (including scaled Agile) offerings.

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6 Steps to Creating an Estimation Center of Excellence

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.

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ROI for Agile JumpStart

Business case for Agile JumpStart.

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ROI For Project Triage

Business case for the Project Triage Solution.

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ROI for Estimation Center of Excellence

The business case for an Estimation Center of Excellence.

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'Sizing' Application Maintenance and Support Activities

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.

www.atos.net

Author: Anjali Mogre
DCG Centers of Excellence

Learn more about DCG's Centers of Excellence, fully packaged and successfully tested solutions to address common software issues that plague organizations.

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Project Triage Description

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.

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Project Triage: Can We Deliver That Troubled Project?

Learn more about Project Triage, designed to assist you in addressing your difficulties with delivering software.

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Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) Big Picture

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.

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Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) Fact Sheet

Find out what the Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) is and how it can be used in your organization.

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Agile & SAFe®: What We Offer

Learn more about DCG's Agile and Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe®) offerings.

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Our Mission At DCG

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.

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DCG Agile Class Modules

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.

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SNAP Data Collection

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.

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Agile Project JumpStart Overview

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.

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Outcome Metrics for Outsourced Software Development Contracts

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.

Author: Mike Harris
The Seven Principles of Testing

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.

Author: Tom Cagley
DCG's Function Point Analysis Services

Learn more about the Function Point Analysis training courses and services we offer.

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Introducing SNAP

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.

 

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Is Agile the Answer for Central Government Software Projects?

This article considers the pros and cons of utilizing Agile, discussing why Agile often fails within the government and how that can be mitigated.

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Template: Contracting for Agile

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:

  • Section 10.1: “The Supplier shall provide the Customer with a report of its performance for the applicable Sprint(s) at each Retrospective during the Delivery Stage …”  This is a modification of the common usage of the term “Retrospective."  Normally, the Retrospective should be an introspective look by each team at lessons learned and opportunities for improvement. The Customer is usually excluded. However, the U.K. Government has decided to arbitrarily change the purposes of these activities in its definitions, so the commonly used “Review” has become “Showcase” (which implies only the demo element of the Review) and the commonly used “Retrospective” has been redefined to cover accountability of the team to the customer rather than making the team accountable to themselves. 
  • Section 18.1: This template advocates uploading to the repository only at the end of the sprint, but DCG advocates that this should be performed daily.
  • Sections 38.1–38.3: While there is a nod in the direction of flexibility of termination being appropriate in an Agile contract, a simple statement that contracts can be cancelled at the end of any sprint – maybe with a concession that notice of one sprint will be given - would be sufficient. Section 38.2 is formula-driven not event-driven.

If you would like a copy of the Word version of this template for your use, please contact us.

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SNAP Quick Reference Guide

This document offers a brief overview of the Software Non-functional Assessment Process (SNAP).

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Using Automated Function Points in Software ADM Contracts

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. 

 

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Tips for Implementing a Quality Model

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.

Author: Pat Eglin
TMMi: Improve Your Software Testing

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.

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DCG's TMMi Services

Learn more about the TMMi training courses and services we offer.

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PSC QuickCheck Sample Report

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.

Author: Rob Cross
Successful Outsourcing: Measuring for Price and Value

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.

Author: David Herron
Cloud-Enabling Applications: Migrating Enterprise Applications to the Public Cloud

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.

Author: Mike Harris
Much Ado About Commitment

Tom Cagley examines the role of commitment in Agile.

Author: Tom Cagley
Software Non-functional Assessment Process (SNAP) Assessment Practices Manual 2.3

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.

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If Agile is the Answer, What is the Question?

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.

Author: Sue Rule
Managing your Vendor’s Performance

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.

Author: David Herron
What is Agile: Values and Principles

In this article, Tom Cagley explains how you define whether a project, framework or methodology is Agile.

Author: Tom Cagley
What is Agile: Characteristics

What characteristics make a framework or methodology Agile? Find out in this article from Tom Cagley.

Author: Tom Cagley
DCG'S CMMI Services

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.

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CMMI For Small Businesses

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.

Author: Pat Eglin
Agile is Hard

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.

Author: David Herron
Outsourcing and Risk

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.

Author: Sue Rule
Why Metrics Maturity Matters

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.

Author: Alan Cameron
What is TMMi® – and Why Should You Care?

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.

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Software Project Estimating: The Value Proposition

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.

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A Short History of the Cost Per Defect Metric

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.

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Principles of Sizing and Estimating Using Function Points

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.

Author: David Garmus
FP Lite - An Alternative Approach to Sizing

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.

Author: Sheila Dennis; David Herron
Introduction to Function Points

The industry standard metric of software functional size is clearly explained.

Author: Sheila Dennis; David Garmus
Effective Measures for Project Managers

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.

Author: Mike Harris; David Herron
Customer Satisfaction – Measuring the Rate

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.

Author: Tom Cagley; David Herron
Agile and the Declaration of Interdependence

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.

Author: Mike Harris
Managing Organizational Change

Learn how to successfully manage organizational changes.

Author: Marilyn Edelson; David Herron; Cheryl Lamphire
Funtion Point Counting in a Real-Time Environment

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.

Author: David Garmus
Using Peer Review Data to Manage Defects

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.

Author: Steve Lett
Controlling Software Acquisition Costs With Function Point Analysis

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.

Author: Ian Brown
How to Frame Service-level Agreements

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.

Author: David Herron
Why Can't We Estimate Better?

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.

Author: Sheila Dennis; David Herron
Extracting Real Value from Process Improvement

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.

Author: Tom Cagley
Turning Perfectly Good Words into Numbers

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.

Author: Tom Cagley
Toxic Applications: Defuse your Time Bombs

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.

Author: Dr. Bill Curtis
Agile Estimation and Functional Metrics

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).

Author: Tom Cagley
Second Opinion on Estimates

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.

Author: David Herron
The Value Tetrahedron

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.

Author: Alan Cameron
Six Rookie Mistakes in Vendor Management

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.

Author: Mike Harris
Engineering Reviews Made More Effective

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.

Author: Jitendra Subramanyam, CAST Research Labs
The Four Pillars of PMO Performance

This document shares the four pillars necessary for a PMO to perform at a higher level in an Agile environment.

Author: Tony Timbol
Functional Sizing Methods Comparison

The most common Functional Size Measurement (FSM) Methods compared to each other.

Author: Grant Rule
The Business Value of IT (Abstract)

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.

Author: Mike Harris
Measurement Roadmap Process Description and Process Flow

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.

Author: Mike Harris
Performance Benchmark Process

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.

Author: Mike Harris
Featured Publication
Using TMMi To Deliver Higher Quality Software

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.

"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
- Mike Harris, DCG President

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