• Predictive Analytics for Improved Cost Management  



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Original Post Date: Monday, December 12, 2011 Check out this paper “The Economics of Community Open Source Software Projects: An Empirical Analysis of Maintenance Effort.”  In it the authors hypothesize that Open Source practices increase the quality of the software that gets produced and subsequently lead to code that is less costly to maintain.  Low quality code must be refactored more frequently than high quality code and there is substantial evidence that maintenance interventions tend to lead to even more degradation of the quality of the code.  So not only are low quality applications more expensive to maintain, the unit ...
Original Post Date: Monday, November 28, 2011  Check out this blog post  on project estimation.  The author discusses the practice of ‘padding’ effort estimates and how destructive this practice can be to healthy project management.  She suggests that project team members, rather than padding their individual efforts at a task level, should collaborate with project management in order to produce a good solid project plan with sufficient contingency reserves.  This allows for the project plan to reflect the most likely case but contains a safety net for those cases where the stuff that was unknown at the time of project ...
Original Post Date: Tuesday, November 8, 2011  Last week I attended the 26th annual COCOMO forum.  This meeting is an interesting combination of conference and working group and for me it’s a great place to take the pulse of the software and systems estimating community.  Lots of times you’ll go to a conference like this and feel as though the same old things are repeated year after year.  Not so with this conference – it is always a great mix of seasoned practitioners and graduate students with both groups providing forward looking information and inspiration on a variety of ...
Original Post Date: Thursday, October 20, 2011  Check out this article.   “Why IT Projects May be Riskier than you Think”.  If you read through the comments you will see that this article truly resonates with many in the field.  In the article the authors discuss research of over 1471 IT projects (large projects with an average cost of $167 million) comparing budgets and expected performance with actual costs and results.  Their results were surprising in that the average overrun was only 27%.  Turns out that the average isn’t what requires study but rather the outliers.  The study found that ...
Original Post Date: Monday, October 3, 2011 Here’s an interesting article “Technical Debt as Metaphor for Future Cost” ().  In this the author discusses the acceptability of using the metaphor of technical debt to facilitate communications between business leaders and the software team when negotiating around the triangle  (time, money, scope).   And while the  author accepts the use of this metaphor good “short-hand” for communicating the fact that avoiding the work now is not sparing the cost but just rearranging the way the costs are incurred – and often increasing the overall costs that need to be spent.  The ...
Original Post Date: Friday, September 9, 2011 I have recently being following an animated thread on LinkedIn “Death of a Metaphor – Technical Debt.” It’s been live for 2 months with over 200 contributions from dozens of different people.  The discussion was launched by questioning whether continued use of this metaphor makes sense.  The discussion thread weaves and bobs around actually answering this question but it’s amazing how passionate the world is on this topic.  My personal opinion is that it’s a perfectly adequate metaphor because it helps create a discussion between IT and the business leaders in terms ...
Original Post Date: Friday, September 2, 2011  The IEEE published “Top 11 Technologies of the Decade” in the  January 2011 editions of the IEEE Spectrum magazine.  It should come to a surprise to no one that the Smartphone was number 1 on this list.  The answer to the author’s question “Is your phone smarter than a fifth grader” was a resounding YES![1]   In 1983 Motorola introduced the first hand hell cellular phone.  It weighed in at two and a half pounds, had memory capacity for 30 phone numbers, took 10 hours to recharge and had a selling price of $4000 ...
Original Post Date: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 Check out this article from CIO magazine about managing your project budget.   The author, Jason Westland, suggests four things necessary to maintain control of your project budget.  While these are not earth shattering suggestions, sometimes project managers in the throes of a project can lose sight of their importance.  The strategies are: * Continually forecast the budget * Regularly forecast resource usage * Keep the team informed * Manage scope meticulously Or to put it another way – respect and revisit the Project Management Triangle.  (To learn more about the Project Management Triangle go to this ...
Original Post Date: Monday, July 11, 2011 There is a ton of code out there and we’re constantly adding more.  Gartner reported in 2009 that there were more than 310 billion lines of code in use worldwide. MS Word has grown from 27,000 lines of code in the first version to about 2 million in 2010.  The Windows Operating System grew from 3 million lines of code in 1992 to 20 Million in 1998.  You get the point – there’s lots of code out there doing lots of the same things that we may want our software to do. One ...
Original Post Date: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 At the 2011 ISPA Conference, I conducted a ½ day workshop How To Develop Data-Driven Cost Estimating Relationships  in TruePlanning. The attendees at the workshop learned how to import their own data into TruePlanning and develop custom Cost Estimating Relationships. We covered three case studies:   ·         In the UCAS case study we demonstrated how we can build CERs at a higher level to provide a test of reasonableness to the CAPE. ·         In the SRDR case study we demonstrated how we develop a CER to estimate SLOC based on historical data and use the results ...