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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: Monday, August 1, 2011 After many years of working with systems engineers and design engineers it became apparent to me that the cost of the system they were designing / building mostly seemed to be an after thought. Maybe not by the Lead Systems Engineer or Program Manager but certainly down in the trenches. The engineers working at the subsystem, component, and element levels always expressed frustration with having too much to think about to add one more variable, such as cost estimation, to their work load. I posit that this can no longer be the case. In ...
Original Post Date: Friday, July 29, 2011 PRICE Systems is integral in the INCOSE Design for Affordability Initiative as a vital member of the Working Group Internationally. The INCOSE Affordability Working Group’s definition of Affordability is: Affordability is the balance of system performance, cost and schedule constraints over the system life while satisfying mission needs in concert with strategic investment and organizational needs. The INCOSE Affordability Working Group’s definition of SE Design for Affordability is: Design for Affordability is the Systems Engineering practice of balancing system performance and risk with cost and schedule constraints over the system life satisfying system operational needs in ...
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 ...
Original Post Date: Friday, June 10, 2011 I’m on my way home from the ISPA/SCEA (International Society of Parametric Analysts, Society of Cost Estimating and Analysis) Conference held in Albuquerque this week.  Attendance was very good (2nd best in the conferences history) and as the content seemed especially good this week.  I attended lots of good talks on topics ranging from SEPM (System Engineering, Project Management) cost estimating, Joint Confidence Levels, Software Estimating, Affordability,  Agile software development and estimating for Enterprise Resource Planning Systems.   Of course, just because the topics are good and well presented doesn’t mean I have ...