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Original Post Date: Friday, April 23, 2010 Software project failures coupled with rapidly changing business needs are forcing organizations to revisit the way they go about building software.  Agile development has emerged as one possible solution to the woes of the software industry.  Agile enthusiasts claim significant increases in productivity and quality, while detractors cite instances where the reverse is true.  It seems to me that probably both are right  - some of the time anyway.  Agile means many different things to different organization.  There is a long list of agile tenets but not every method of agile applies all ...
Original Post Date: lThursday, April 8, 2010 Despite the plethora of literature on Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) it remains a difficult concept.  I thought I would share my interpretation. For most of us the concept of technology readiness is hard to grasp. This is because in general, our experiences with technology are with fully matured technology. In 1961, President Kennedy challenged US scientists, mathematicians and engineers when he announced that within the decade of the 1960s the US would ‘land a man on the Moon, and return him safely to Earth’. At the time, there were no solutions to solve ...
Original Post Date: Friday, April 2, 2010  The newest version of TruePlanning has been released and distributed to customers. The new features were designed to make it easier to estimate entire systems, not just individual components or sub-systems. TruePlanning is an excellent solution in this regards. Systems that require you to estimate software costs, hardware costs, and the integration of multiple pieces of each can all be done in one framework. There are  specific features in this release, like input inheritance, that allow you to make changes at the top Project level which then flow throughout the entire system.  This saves an ...
Orignal Post Date: Thursday, April 1, 2010 Here are some choices to the question: 1. By comparing with old analogous data? 2. Creating and presenting the basis of estimate (BOE) documentation? 3. Illustrating a track back to cost estimating relationships (CERs) and their referenced historical databases? 4. Demonstrate that the estimate came from a reputable parametric tool like TruePlanning? 5.  Any other approach? 6.  All of the above or some combination of these approaches? 7.  You don't have this problem i.e. you never had a need to prove the credibility of your estimates? If the answer is point number 7, ...
Orignal Post Date: Thursday, February 11, 2010 That’s a question that members of the cost estimating community will try to answer at next week’s  43rd Annual DoDCAS symposium. The conference is centered around the “theory and implementation” of the WSARA 2009 (Weapons System Acquisition Reform Act). Simply put, the cost estimating community needs to first and foremost understand what the real life implications of the WSARA will be. At least in theory that is.   According to GAO, nearly 70% of the Pentagon’s 96 biggest weapons programs were over budget in 2008 and another government report found $295 billion in waste ...
Orignal Post Date: Thursday, January 21, 2010  It’s a common practice to measure failure or success of a project based on the initial functionality requirements and initial cost and schedule estimated. The Standish Group publishes its Chaos report for software projects which terms a project as a "Success" if it is completed on time, on budget, and satisfying all the initial requirements. Projects are deemed a "Challenged" if functionality is achieved but cost and schedule over runs occur and "Failed" if a project is cancelled while in execution. However there are other factors e.g. Tom DeMarco’s  Estimation Quality Factor  and Boehm’s Cone of Uncertainty (COU) ...
Original Post Date: Friday, January 15, 2010 Failed software projects are always bad but there are additional complications when there is a contract in place to deliver the software.  Disputes over failed software can result in costly litigation that generally damages both the vendor and the buyer. According to observations of Capers Jones in "Conflict and Litigation Between Software Clients and Developers" (2007) , 5% of the projects his clients were involved in either had litigation pending or were currently involved in litigation over project failures.  His findings indicate that it is very large projects, over 10,000 Function Points that ...
Original Post Date: Friday, November 20, 2009 Bill Scheessele’s article in the Washington Technology, Time for a hard look at marketing strategies, is a quick read about organization’s reacting to these new economic conditions. He suggests that most organizations are... "Attempting to move forward with an obsolete business development operation, reacting to fewer opportunities and shifting budgets by shedding business development personnel, sticking with an outdated business development process that everyone in the industry uses, or doing nothing while waiting on the sidelines for conditions to change are not reasonable decisions." This is further supported by the recent flurry of acquisitions both ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, September 16, 2009 While most of the books on the topic of parametric modeling take a look at detailed techniques and fundamentals, such as building parent/child relationships or the mathematics behind models, Systems Cost Engineering, takes a more practical perspective to answer a very basic question:  What can parametric estimating do for my organization and how can we implement it?  The book covers an array of business processes that can be dramatically improved with the application of a standardized parametric cost estimating framework. These processes exist across multiple phases of a program's lifecycle such as early concept planning through development and production. Chapters are ...
Original Post Date: Thursday, August 13, 2009 Let’s start with a simple test. Which is greater: the number of six-letter English words that have "n" as the fifth letter or the number of six-letter words ending in "ing"? If you are like most people you’re thinking the correct answer is six-letter words ending in "ing". But most people are wrong. And the reason is simple, people rely on what they can easily recall. Since it’s much easier to think of 6-letter words ending in "ing" the fact that people come to that conclusion isn't surprising. Psychologists refer to this as availability bias. ...