Dan’s IT Affordability Talk at RANEPA

February 1, 2014 · Filed Under General · Comment 

I just submitted my slides for a talk at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA)  On Feb 28 – March 1.

IT Affordability, Estimation, Planning & Control for More Successful Projects For RANEPA

By Daniel D. Galorath

Founder and CEO

Galorath Incorporated

Companies struggle to increase profits and often view IT as a necessary evil – one that consumes resources rather than contributing to the bottom line. In fact, IT can be a significant contributor. In many cases, IT is a primary corporate asset.  Making transparent IT decisions based on the most affordable solutions and return on investment can:

  • improve the business
  • improve IT’s stature
  • increase appreciation and IT budgets within the organization.

A complete affordability analysis can quantify an IT budget’s risk-adjusted Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and Return on Investment (ROI). Affordability analysis can also determine an IT budget’s consistency with an organization’s long-range investment and business strategies, measured against risk and key technical and performance parameters.

Both existing systems of affordability analysis and new developments will be addressed.  Additionally, risk and tradeoffs between functionality, quality, security and other system goals will be covered by describing a 10-step Affordability Analysis Process as well as the cost / schedule estimating process.  The talk consists of three major sections covering first a recent monumental US IT challenged project, estimation, and affordability as follow:

  1. US healthcare.gov problems highlight the need for estimation, planning & control
  2. Estimation is critical and Should Be A Core Process
  3. Viable Estimation Can help achieve affordable systems with optimal ROI

Here are the slides: IT Affordability, Estimation, Planning & Control for More Successful Projects For RANEPA

 

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!




Working From Home Increased Productivity 13% In Stanford Study

October 17, 2013 · Filed Under General · Comment 

http://vancouverrealestate.blogs.com/.a/6a00d834cd270a69e20115706ac333970b-piAs the world becomes more and more virtual, working from home appears to be the trend.  A notable exception was Yahoo that just stopped all their employees from working at home.

I know in Los Angles the days when I work from home I avoid about 90 minutes of commute time. and spend that time working.  Lunch is just in the kitchen… No need to spend an hour going out:  hence increased working time.

On the other hand, even though I am on the phone or Webex much of the day, I miss the non-verbal communication (body language, etc.) as well as the opportunity to have human interaction… To spend a minute hearing about a coworker’s kids accomplishments, and some of the latest problems… Successes do get communicated.  But since may of our people are located outside of Los Angeles, and many of those in Los Angeles work at home some days each week, the traditional physical communication environment is nearly extinct in any case.   I know at times in the 90′s when we tried, some people took advantage of the work at home situation… I could tell some stories.  But we didn’t have the tools or culture we have today.

In a Stanford study “Does Working from Home Work? Evidence from a Chinese Experiment”  the conclusion was a 13% INCREASE in productivity for call center type functions.  More skilled functions such as software development were not addressed but the is mounting evidence that it also helps productivity when appropriate communication and collaboration tools are available.  My first thought was “how did the Hawthorne effect play into this… People respond to being measured.  But the paper has refuted that well.

So what is the bottom line for IT and software development workers…

This needs more study but it appears the flexibility to work from home at least some days improves morale as well as saving time.  More study is needed.

And the working at home productivity must somehow inter-relate with the productivity based on level of engagement.  I suspect taking an unengaged employee and putting them at home only makes things worse.

I did blog about the costs and benefits of telecommuting a while back.  But I think the Council of Economic Advisers is right:

“A factor hindering a deeper understanding of the benefits and costs of flexibility is a lack of data on the prevalence of workplace flexibility and arrangements, and more research is needed on the mechanisms through which flexibility influences workers’ job satisfaction and firms’ profits to help policy makers and managers alike.” (Council of Economic Advisers, 2010, Executive Summary)”

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.




IT Data Collection, Analysis and Benchmarking: From Processes and Benchmarks Into Real Business Value

October 8, 2013 · Filed Under business value, Conferences, General, IT Estimating · Comment 

The following abstract and presentation are from my talk at the IT confidence conference in Rio de Janeiro, October 2013.  I must say the conference was very interesting and is one to support in the future.  I have included both the abstract and a link to the actual talk “IT Data Collection, Analysis and Benchmarking:  From Processes and Benchmarks Into Real Business Value“.  I love talking to IT people about actually quantifying business value rather than just the costs of programs or projects.  The responses are always positive. And tying in risk  analysis is a concept that is foreign to many but quickly accepted as a positive step.   The abstract for my talk follows:

In an IT context companies struggling to increase profits and often view IT as a necessary evil: one that consumes resources rather contributes to the bottom line. These organizations often don’t see value in data collection analysis or benchmarking either.  However, IT can be a significant contributor when IT decisions are made after measuring and estimating both cost and return.

IT data collection analysis and benchmarking continue to improve the cost of IT systems and help make decisions regarding where to spend money to stop the bleeding. As such, repeatable processes for estimating cost, schedule and risk will be addressed along with the “iron triangle” of software.  The Iron Triangle looks at issues of cost, schedule, scope and quality and helps determine what must give when client increases scope, reduces schedule or reduces budget.

Additionally this presentation will address the risk adjusted Total Cost of Ownership and return an IT investment along with its consistency with long-range investment and business strategy of an organization measured against risk and key technical and performance parameters and technical debt.

Finally, since  this presentation will address the overriding business concerns: how much value does this software contribute to the business and is the best place to spend the money.

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.




Fagan Inspections And Software Cost

August 20, 2013 · Filed Under General · Comment 

Fagan Inspections have been around since the 1980′s as an effective way to reduce software cost by finding and removing errors early.

As Wikipedia says:

Fagan inspection is process of trying to find defects in development documents such as programming code, specifications, designs and others during various phases of the software development process.

Yet the vast majority of organizations are not interested, or at least are not able, to implement them. In my own career, I have seen teams kill inspections on several occasions with the poor logic that they take too much time.  What a shame.  Looking at the data (the data is old but the approach is still completely viable) we can see that if software organizations, using waterfall, Agile, or anything in between, could achieve significant software cost savings.    Here is some of the data:

Company Cost to Repair During Inspection Cost To Repair During Test Cost to Repair after Delivery
IBM $48 Per Defect $61-$1030 per defect 117 * more than if caught during inspection
AT&T 1 Unit 20 Units
JPL $105 per defect $1700 Per defect
Shell 1 unit 30 units
Thorn EMI 1 hour 30 hours
Infosys 1 unit 3 – 6 units
Source: Radice, 2002 via Oxford Software Engineering http://www.osel.co.uk/presentations/fitsbnwtf.pdf

 

I believe there are at least three reasons for the failure of Fagan inspections:

  1. Developers don’t like to critique each others’s work negatively
  2. The “why isn’t Jonny coding Syndrome”  People think it is not as productive as don’t their own work
  3. Lack of training and discipline

Software estimation and software cost estimation provide the potential for improvements.  But it takes management discipline to really make things happen.

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.




Is Agile Software Development Cheaper? Depends on What “Cheaper” Is

June 27, 2013 · Filed Under General · 1 Comment 

I read an excellent discussion of “Is Agile Software Development Cheaper” by Kennith Grant.  This discussion was similar to one I had last week myself.   He pointed out that the typical answer “we will deliver every few weeks and not building features people don’t want”  was the normal answer but that really didn’t answer the CEO’s question.  Cheaper in the CEO’s context “cheaper” means “a project can be completed with the same or smaller amount of people for the same or shorter length of time”

AGILE VERSUS WATERFALL IS LARGELY APPLES TO ORANGES: “If we have a software product with a known and unchanging scope and all other things are equal, will it be cheaper to deliver the product in its entirety using an agile methodology rather than using waterfall?” The short answer to this question is no. Agile has, especially with Scrum, a degree of ceremony, and in this make-believe scenario that would get in the way of pure analysis, design, build, test, etc. As you can see, this degree of ceremony would slow things down, hence making a project more expensive.

But the real questions should be more like “if rather than building the program in its entirety, we build only the critical functionality and reduce rework the answer is different.

agile development cycle

AGILE USUALLY CHEAPER IN THE REAL WORLD: If we build functionality the user wants and with feedback so we stay on course is the program cheaper… LIKELY

STANDISH FOUND MUCH WATERFALL FUNCTIONALITY NOT NEEDED: The Standish Group once found that when requirements are specified early in the lifecycle, 80 percent of the functionality is relatively unwanted by users with 45 percent never used, 19 percent are rarely used, and 16 percent are sometimes used.

VIABLE COST & SCHEDULE ESTIMATES ARE POSSIBLE FOR DECISION MAKING: But in answering this question from a pragmatic view, estimation IS needed up front to understand the probable scope and the range of cost and schedule.  For programs of any substance management needs this information to make proper decisions.  I sometimes hear agile people say something like “can be done at any time, will deliver constantly,  and can’t tell you when the customer will have achieved their full business value. ”  Further, I have seen Agile programs that took their user stories, assumed this was the complete list up front and forgot all the volatility designed into an Agile program, with change encouraged and new / changed user stories likely coming up regularly.

CHEAPER NEEDS TO CONSIDER TOTAL OWNERSHIP COSTS, NOTE JUST DEVELOPMENT: Again, developers are rightly concerned with development, not maintenance.  But what about the C level…  If something can be developed using Agile but is a nightmare to maintain (we did minimalise on documentation, for example) we may be bloating the maintenence portfolio with surprises.  And management hates surprises.  Using SEER one can evalaute both development and maintenance.

Some of the risks that are often ignored and should not be:

  • Using User Stories as size doesn’t mean they won’t grow / change
  • Requirements volatility can be even more drastic (design on the fly)
  • Risk of lack of integration / regression testing from sprint to sprint
  • Requirements growth due to regular wish lists
  • Poorly constructed user stories may require modifications
  • More

And some of the SEER parameters that model Agile are:

  • Requirements Formality
  • Requirements Volatility
  • Personnel Capabilities – Analyst and Programmers
  • Familiarity with the Process
  • Process Maturity
  • Staffing Complexity
  • Development System Volatility
  • Automated Tools Usage
  • Testing Level
  • Quality Assurance Participation

Recent briefing covering Agile methods and modeling Agile cost, schedule, and risk

Here is a link to Kenneth Grant’s blog “Is Agile Cheaper

 

 

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.




ICEAA Briefing Slides: Other Uses of Parametric Models

June 19, 2013 · Filed Under General · 1 Comment 

I had the good fortune to be asked to brief other users of parametrics at the ICEAA conference training.  My slides were newer than those distributed to the group so I told attendees I would offer those slides on my blog…  This was material originally provided by others and taught by myself this year.  In preparation for teaching I did update the slides substantially.  I also included much of the original content in the slides.

The bottom line is whenever you want to make decisions, do tradeoffs, establish the most affordable approach or understand risks and risk analysis, parametric estimating equations can help. Here are the slides:  Other uses of Parametric modeling slides.

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.




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