Introduction To Software Productivity Causes, Effects and Measurement

February 13, 2014 · Filed Under General, Software Estimating · Comment 

I did the attached briefing on Introduction to software productivity some time ago and forgot about it. And while talking to Capers Jones today about productivity I found it and thought it was pretty good.

It talks about different productivity measures and how to get one that is consistent. In fact I believe the four main criteria are

  • consistent
  • repeatable
  • auditable
  • available

It cautions ” Quantifying Productivity is useful for comparison and estimate sanity checks but steps should be taken to ensure consistency”

 

Also, productivity, software estimation, and software measurement are discussed as follow:

Productivity: how to measure productivity, what to do with it, the pitfalls of productivity management, lessons learned and best practices.

Software Estimation: Making software estimation work for internal, external, fixed price and other acquisition scenarios as well as software estimation lessons learned and best practices

Software Measurement and actions based on software measurement: Including what to measure and how to apply measurement to more successful software projects.  Industry experience and best practices will be covered.

Thank you for reading “Dan on Estimating”, if you would like more information about Galorath’s estimation models, please visit our contact page, call us at +1 310 414-3222 or click a button below to ask sales questions, sign up for our free library or schedule a demo.




Dan’s Affordability Keynote at the SCAF Conference

It was interesting giving a talk on affordability to this group in London.  While the UK has affordability as a goal (in fact the conference theme was affordability) they look at it a bit differently.  It was interesting talking about price versus cost and the UK prospective.

Another thing that was interesting is the prospective that for IT systems software development is more like 6 to 10 percent of the total ownership cost.  But it is the bulk of the risk.

And I got out just before the tube strike began in earnest.  The next day I had to walk 7 miles from Paddington to get to a meeting.  The Bakerloo like was completely shut down, there was a 200 meter line for taxis and the buses were impossible to get on due to the masses of people.  I would love to see a cost analysis of this event.  The saddest part is, from what I understand, the strike was due to obsolete jobs being eliminated... But the people were not eliminated, just retrained.  Go figure?

Here are my slides: Affordability Analysis: The role of process, cost and ROI modeling in improved program management and performance.

Thank you for reading "Dan on Estimating", if you would like more information about Galorath's estimation models, please visit our contact page, call us at +1 310 414-3222 or click a button below to ask sales questions, sign up for our free library or schedule a demo.




Learning from healthcare.gov Challenges Webinar

December 6, 2013 · Filed Under General, Software Estimating · Comment 

Galorath Incorporated and CAST Software bring you a webinar….   This is not the typical finger pointing but summarizing the IT challenges and looking at what we can learn from them.

Join us for an expert examination of HealthCare.gov from Dan Galorath (Galorath Inc.), Lev Lesokhin (CAST), and Lee Fischman (Galorath Inc.).

Galorath and CAST each study and assist organizations to achieve more success in their software and IT systems.  Each examined HealthCare.gov’s troubled launch and its implications for the IT industry.  Galorath’s findings are summarized in Understanding HealthCare.gov’s Rocky Rollout“.  CAST’s Lev Lesokhin has discussed HealthCare.gov’s issues with the CBS Evening News, Wall Street Journal, and other media outlets.  

In this webinar we will reveal  more of what we’ve learned including the following:

1.   Findings described in “Understanding HealthCare.gov’s Rocky Rollout“.  What led to the conclusions behind some of its 13 points?

2.   Lessons learned from HealthCare.gov.  What went wrong, when and why?  What can be learned from the experience?

3.   Bestpractices for avoiding failure on future projects.  How can we plan, control and manage projects for success?

 

CAST is the leader in Software Analysis and Measurement, providing visibility into root causes of cost and risk in enterprise software systems.

Galorath’s SEER Software is the leading solution for project planning, estimating and tracking of software and IT projects.

Register Now:  Click here

Date & Time:  December 17, 2013  8:30am Pacific (11:30am Eastern, 4:30pm London)

 

Duration: 60 Minutes

 

Presenters:


Lev Lesokhin,
EVP of Strategy and Market Development at CAST


Dan Galorath,
Founder & CEO of Galorath Incorporated

Lee Fischman, Sr. Director of Galorath Incorporated 

 

 

Register: Click here 

Click “Register”

On the registration form, enter your information and then click “Submit”

Once the host approves your enrollment, you will receive a confirmation email message with instructions on how to join the event.

 

 

For Assistance: Contact Kelly Timko at 310-414-3222 x632 or ktimko@galorath.com

 

Thank you for reading “Dan on Estimating”, if you would like more information about Galorath’s estimation models, please visit our contact page, call us at +1 310 414-3222 or click a button below to ask sales questions, sign up for our free library or schedule a demo.




Understanding Healthcare.gov’s Rocky Rollout Infographic

November 11, 2013 · Filed Under Estimation Process, General, IT Estimating, Software Estimating · 2 Comments 

Galorath Inc. (the SEER Cost, Schedule, Risk Model Developers) watched the healthcare.gov rollout difficulties, the outcries and finger pointing and decided to take a more analytical look. While it is easy to throw stones at stakeholders, this was a huge IT project and there were bound to be challenges. Could it have gone better? Sure. Were there adequate resources? Seems so. Should testing and quality assurance been more rigorous? Yes, but there didn’t appear to be adequate time. Were the requirements firmed up in advance? That could have been a significant contributor.

We are confident that healthcare.gov will recover and this will go down in history as another IT lesson learned. Using our SEER models up front could have shown the minimum possible schedule as well as costs and risks. This foresight could have helped the government and suppliers to do better to plan for the inevitable defects.  Tracking progress with SEER could have also provided an early warning indicator…  Probably early enough that corrective actions could have helped.

Scroll down to the bottom of this post and look for the heading, “Embed Our Infographic On Your Site!” and you can use that code to embed this infographic on your site. Please link back to http://www.galorath.com if you use this infographic.  We have also provided a PDF document you may distribute freely with link credit to Galorath.com.  The PDF is 11 megs so be patient.

 

healthcare-gov-galorath-infographic

 

Infographic Transcript:

Why did healthcare.gov have rollout problems?

  • Extreme number of legacy systems, inside Government and among 3rd parties
  • Citizenship certification and income verification
  • Numerous, powerful stakeholders: the President, insurance companies, states, Congress
  • Complex eligibility rules
  • Different rules for different states
  • A volatile environment with numerous starts and stops: Supreme Court, Presidential election, extreme political disagreement
  • Registration requirement added very late in development
  • Not enough time

Not just another eCommerce site!How much has been spent on Healthcare.gov
How much does $150M buy?
Assuming…

  • 10-30 major systems
  • $18K average monthly salary (government rates)

What kind of quality is delivered on delivery day?

How much software can you buy for $150M?
500,000 to 600,000 lines of code Or about 24,000 unadjusted function points. In other words…

Half of Android 4.0 (2011)
http://thenextweb.com/google/2011/10/19/googles-andy-rubin-there-are-over-1-million-lines-of-code-in-android/#article

One tenth of Quickbooks (2012)
http://www.drdobbs.com/tools/building-quickbooks-how-intuit-manages-1/240003694

A teeny fraction of Facebook
http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2013/04/facebook-windows/

Why did some states develop their own exchanges?

  • Historical insurance sovereignty within states
  • State-specific insurance markets

Which states developed their own exchanges?
Map of states implementing there own exchanges

What were the states’ web site experiences?
Oregon

  • 1,700 individual rules affect eligibility for health insurance subsidies in Oregon
  • In Oregon, writing the eligibility rules engine took 12 people nine months.
  • Estimated cost of $54M
  • Paper only on Oct 1, site operational in mid October

California

  • Given $990M
  • Operational on time

Connecticut

  • Operational on time

Washington

  • Given $150M
  • Operational slightly late

Kentucky

  • Operational on time

New York

  • Operational on time

Idaho

  • Given $90M
  • System due early 2014

Minnesota, Nevada and Rhode Island

  • Operational on time, but issues connecting with Federal data hub

 

Sources: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/09/us/politics/uninsured-find-more-success-via-health-exchanges-run-by-states.html

Why build a Government insurance exchange if there already are private ones?
Unclear

However, private exchanges can now sell ACA-compliant plans WITHOUT subsidies. 34 were added in 2013.
Source: http://www.cnbc.com/id/100925732
Stumbling block: private exchanges also can’t access data hub to determine subsidies.
Source: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101153131

Private exchanges will later be able to offer subsidized plans.

How does the Government perform on other IT projects?
An analysis of Government sector projects indicates that they generally performed better than the non-Government sector projects. The highlights are as follows:

  • The Government projects were 8% more productive than non-government projects. By that we mean that more functionality was delivered per developer hour.
  • The speed of delivery of Government projects is slightly better, (measured by the number of function points delivered in a month)
  • On average, Government projects are being delivered 37% later than their delivery estimate and 22% of projects exceed their cost estimate.

Are there recent, successful Government Web IT projects?

2013:

  • How’s My Waterway – Environmental Protection Agency
  • Self-Service Logon Remote Proofing – Defense Manpower Data Center
  • Medicare.gov Responsive Design – Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

2012:

  • National Broadband Map – Federal Communications Commission/National Telecommunication and Information Administration
  • Supertracker – USDA Food Nutrition and Consumer Services
  • Arlington National Cemetery Explorer  – Arlington National Cemetery

When do Government projects succeed?

  • Incremental delivery
  • Expectations management
  • Team empowerment
  • Strong leadership
  • Accurate upfront estimates

 

Thank you for reading “Dan on Estimating”, if you would like more information about Galorath’s estimation models, please visit our contact page, call us at +1 310 414-3222 or click a button below to ask sales questions, sign up for our free library or schedule a demo.

Download this infographic.

Embed Our Infographic On Your Site!




World’s Largest Agile Program Goes Back To Waterfall

July 17, 2013 · Filed Under IT Estimating, Software Estimating · Comment 

The UK’s Universal Credit Welfare System , “a complex IT project that involves switching off multiple benefits and reworking them into a new tax credit system” was, by most accounts, the most ambitious agile software development project in history. Suppliers include Accenture, Cap Gemini, HP, and IBM. In their implementation they limited the potential users to the most simple cases: single people out of work, and is a small geographic area.  Seems to make sense, delivering working software, even if not the full feature set.

Quoting Computer Weekly “ DWP drops agile from flagship government software project”

The Department for Work and Pensions has dropped a coalition government scheme to avert software disasters from its £2bn Universal Credit programme.

The DWP gave up using the “agile” method of software development for Universal Credit, the coalition government’s flagship reform programme, last month.

It had before now repeatedly claimed agile was the way it would keep Universal Credit on track. The coalition government had meanwhile singled agile out as a major part of its flagship strategy to stop IT projects going calamitously and expensively wrong.

The Major Projects Authority – part of the Cabinet Office – was going to press-gang government departments to use agile methods on big software builds. Universal Credit was the government’s first – and immensely ambitious – big stab at agile.

In its final stages from April 2013, the programme is using the waterfall approach – a standard DWP testing methodology,” said Hoban, shadow employment minister.

“Initial development used agile, But it was no longer needed. “In a programme as complex as Universal Credit, which includes new IT developments and changes to existing IT assets, both agile and waterfall methods may be appropriate at different times.”

Just because we are not using agile doesn’t mean agile is inherently flawed, or that Universal Credit is inherently flawed,” he said. “It probably means agile is at a point where agile is not appropriate.”

There are potential issues like:

  • How was the initial schedule obtained (I hope they used some kind of estimation model)
  • What were the assumptions that changed
  • How agile was the program, really
  • Should this program have been agile or was it a well bounded replacement system where other approaches might have been better
  • Was this system too large to be agile
  • And on and on

Some say this should have been a 2 year development but they added another 4 years just to cover all bases.  There is an interesting 2 minute interview on youtube discussing the program and its agile plans.

According to techwell.com in their story “World’s biggest agile project collapses” there is massive finger pointing between the stakeholders as to was Agile the issue or something else. SOme say it was due to a billion + pound contract being issues as in waterfall, others say contractor personnel may not have has an agile track record.

We often describe agile is seeing how far you can get within a timeframe rather than waterfall ish where we see how long it will take to get the functionality complete. If they were required to build all the functionality and it had to replace existing functionality then they were probably in some hybrid mode.

Bottom line: Agile is a good thing when applied to the right problems. I can make no judgment as to whether this was one of those appropriate problems from existing information, nor about total ownership costs with their agile approaches for such a a long life large system without more information. Hopefully they did a lot more documentation than agile folks like since this system could be in place for decades.

This post Covering “Is Agile Cheaper” could be of interest as well.

Thank you for reading “Dan on Estimating”, if you would like more information about Galorath’s estimation models, please visit our contact page, call us at +1 310 414-3222 or click a button below to ask sales questions, sign up for our free library or schedule a demo.




Cost and Risk of Mobile App Development

July 9, 2013 · Filed Under General, Software Estimating · 1 Comment 

Lee Fischman (one of Galorath’s leading researchers) gave a webinar discussing mobile applications, their cost and complexity. Below is his blog and the actual slides for “Moving Target” How Much Do Mobile Apps Cost To Develop:

When we recently looked again into mobile apps, no surprise, we found a vast and sophisticated ecosystem dedicated to their development and maintenance. Just as with any other platform, mobile apps in terms of complexity vary from extremely simple to the “sky is the limit”. What differentiates the mobile platform is its extremely rapid evolution across the board: front end technology, back end infrastructure, market and participants.

Effort In Developing Mobile Apps

There of course is not one mobile platform but at least three major contestants: iOS, Android and Windows Phone. While the development tools vary for each platform, a surprising number of very robust authoring tools are being used by developers for cross-platform development. These tools either produce target code for each separate platform or towards the one major common standard sweeping across the web: HTML5. All the same, there is no shortage of work for dedicated platform developers.

The perhaps more compelling story in mobile app development is not what users see, or even what they are holding in their hands, but the back end that supports these apps. Any major application (Foursquare, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) has built out an infrastructure to support availability, performance, reliability, scalability, manageability, and – because server time can get very expensive – efficiency. A many-layered vendor ecosystem exists to support these goals.

Estimating mobile app development with SEER-SEM is similar to any other estimating exercise. Along with estimating the app (SEER-SEM supports development in Java, Objective C and so forth) there may be server components, frameworks, and integration with other systems. All of these can be estimated in SEER-SEM.

 

The actual recorded webinar How Much Do Mobile Apps Cost is available by signing in to the Galorath library.

Thank you for reading "Dan on Estimating", if you would like more information about Galorath's estimation models, please visit our contact page, call us at +1 310 414-3222 or click a button below to ask sales questions, sign up for our free library or schedule a demo.




Cloud Matters Canadian Cloud Council…. Costs & Benefits of Cloud

I had the privilege of presenting at the Canadian Cloud Council conference in Banff Canada.  It was exciting to see and hear all the wonderful things people are doing or planning to do with cloud computing.

My talk touched on the analysis of the business case for cloud computing and pointed out that sometimes cost savings are attributed to the cloud when they are really do to factors such as development environment.  The point was that each cloud development needs to estimate costs and business value and make the right decision for the business.

I have several more comprehensive briefings on cloud costing available if requested.  And have included the summary of Cloud costs, benefits and ROI.

My key points were:

  • Use an estimation process to identify costs, schedule, risk and benefits
  • Make decisions based on value to business
  • Attribute costs and cost savings to their root causes rather than just lumping them all to “cloud”

It is exciting to see the evolution of cloud computing.. And sometimes disturbing when organizations cast their distributed applications as cloud applications just to get on the cloud bandwagon.

 

Banff.... Doesn't get much more beautiful than this..

Banff…. Doesn’t get much more beautiful than this..

Thank you for reading “Dan on Estimating”, if you would like more information about Galorath’s estimation models, please visit our contact page, call us at +1 310 414-3222 or click a button below to ask sales questions, sign up for our free library or schedule a demo.




Evidence of Cloud Development Saving Development Time

January 28, 2013 · Filed Under General, Software Estimating · Comment 

An Evans Data Cloud Development Survey found that developers believe they are getting an 11.6% reduction in development time by using public and private cloud development platforms such as Amazon WebServices, Windows Azure, HP Cloud Services, VMWare, Salesforce force.com, and Netsuite’s cloud services.

“While about 10 percent of developers cited no time savings in using cloud environments, an almost equal amount said they had experienced more than 30 percent time savings. About 38 percent cited savings in the 11 to 20 percent range.”

Obviously if we just take the same tools, practices and environment and put it in the cloud nothing magic happens… Perhaps response time is a bit slower. Looking at the impact of response time we see a potential 6% increase in schedule due to immediate response to a developer and an 18% increase in effort if every action has a terrible (3+ second) response:

 

So why should the cloud reduce development time?

  1. Better environment (e.g. force.com)
  2. Better development Tools (e.g force.com)
  3. Mobile making more work hours in a day (development during off-hours)
  4. Hawthorne Effect (People respond to being measured…or in this case estimate reductions because they hope there are some)

A Galorath study of salesforce.com’s force.com showed an over 40% decrease in development time.  But this was attributed to the availability of reusable components and the powerful development language, not the fact that it was cloud based.

 

Thank you for reading “Dan on Estimating”, if you would like more information about Galorath’s estimation models, please visit our contact page, call us at +1 310 414-3222 or click a button below to ask sales questions, sign up for our free library or schedule a demo.




Typical Agile Development Lifecycle

May 3, 2012 · Filed Under General, Software Estimating · Comment 

I ran across this nice graphic of an agile lifecycle produced by Galorath’s David Dewitt.  I thought it was clear in its presentation of the lifecycle and how estimation and planning fit in.

I am often surprised when speaking to people who say, “We don’t need estimation or planning any longer because we are agile.”  I suppose that may be true for very small projects.  But for projects of any significance, it is not enough to tell stakeholders who need to budget and plan for delivered software that we will tell you we are done when we get there.  Estimation at the macro level is required so the overall project scope is understood as well as at the lowest levels for developers to commit to their work in a sprint.

Thank you for reading “Dan on Estimating”, if you would like more information about Galorath’s estimation models, please visit our contact page, call us at +1 310 414-3222 or click a button below to ask sales questions, sign up for our free library or schedule a demo.




New SEER Labor Rate Calculator: A Leap Forward in “Should Cost” & “Will Cost”

I saw a demo today of our new labor rate calculator.  It takes in various labor rate drivers and computes a viable labor rate.   It even evaluates the cost of equipment, electricity, floor space, insurance, etc.

This is a great step forward in the “should cost” and will cost for product manufacturing.  Buying organizations can describe the problem and see what a fair labor rate for the region, country, machine, etc.  Mixed currencies are supported as well.

The following is a small example of the kinds of information that can be specified  In this case it is configured for manufacturing.

 

Thank you for reading “Dan on Estimating”, if you would like more information about Galorath’s estimation models, please visit our contact page, call us at +1 310 414-3222 or click a button below to ask sales questions, sign up for our free library or schedule a demo.




Next Page »