Affordability Analysis: The Role of Process, Cost & ROI

October 19, 2012 · Filed Under Estimation Process, General, Presentations, Project Management · Comment 

This is the short version of my new brief on Systems and Software affordability and affordability process.  This version is oriented towards Department of Defense software.  I have another, more comprehensive version that covers commercial software.  One key point is the use of parametrics in the affordability process to make lots of trades quickly… then after analysis of alternatives, drilling down on the chosen one or few alternatives.

Here is the abstract:

Affordability Analysis:  The Role Process, Cost and ROI Modeling In Improved Program  Performance

Affordability analysis as part of decision making  may be the biggest edge of the decade for both commercial organizations and DoD / government organizations.

In an IT context companies struggling to increase profits often view IT as a necessary evil: one that consumes resources rather contributes to the bottom line. However, IT can be a significant contributor when IT decisions are made after modeling affordability in terms of the cost and return.

In a DoD context affordability as “should cost” and  “will cost” are the bywords of the times: attempting to replace past cost / performance failure due to inflexible user requirements or over-specified contractor requirements is being replaced by realistic trades of cost, schedule, performance and other key performance parameters.

As people go forward in affordability analysis it is important  to recognize that tools are important and that repeatable process is essential to success.

A complete affordability analysis  determines the risk adjusted Total Cost of Ownership and return on 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.

Both existing systems and new developments will be addressed.  Additionally risk and tradeoffs between functionality, quality, security and other system goals will be covered.

Process steps include: Read more

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.




Estimation, Planning & Control Can Make the Difference Between Project Success and Failure

This is the webinar I did through the ITMPI today covering estimation and project success as well as estimation process and best practices.  Estimation, Planning & Control Can Make The Difference Between Project Success and Failure

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.




Software Project Failure Costs Billions.. Better Estimation & Planning Can Help

June 7, 2012 · Filed Under Project Management · 22 Comments 

There are so many studies attempting to quantify the cost of software failures.  They don’t agree on percentages but they generally agree that the number is at least  50 to 80 billion dollar range annually.

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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 Risk Management Through Process, Estimation and Measurement

I had the privilege of presenting “IT Risk Management Through Process, Estimation and Measurement” at the Manila ITMPI conference on the topic of IT risk management.  There was a large, savvy audience, eager to further explore this topic.  As we have seen in other countries, many don’t look at estimation, planning, measurement, and control as critical processes.  Those organizations often have less than successful projects, late, over cost, and with missing functionality.  Conversely, those organizations that do spent mind-share on these critical planning and management functions perform much better.  Of course not all their projects are successful, but many more are, and they know when things are turning for the worse and can fix them sooner.  The three key points of the presentation were.

  1. Critical IT Systems present significant risks to organizations
  2. IT estimating processes are core to reducing risk
  3. IT estimation & metrics can help mitigate risk & empower program managers to be successful

PS:  I also got a little R&R in, scuba diving about 100 kilometers outside Manila.  Beautiful diving and very unusual dive boats… This is the exact style, but not the actual boat we dove from.

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 Cost & Affordability Using SEER as a Common Benchmark, Driven By Facts

I was pleased to present at the joint CAST / Galorath event.  My paper, “Understanding Cost & Affordability Using SEER as a Common Benchmark, Driven By Facts,” covers use of parametrics as a common language for describing estimation problems and solutions.  It also points out how parametrics can be the basis of affordability trade-offs even when the final cost may be produced bottoms-up.  Additionally it illustrates how SEER parametrics combine with data and provide traceability and confidence by the facts of prior systems.  The following graphic illustrates the savings in time as well as the potential number of affordability analyses that can be done with SEER versus manually:

This briefing also touches on the Carter DoD “Better Buying Initiative” and affordability analysis to provide “will cost” analysis.

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.




The Future of Software Analysis and Measurement : Expert Panel Questions & Answers

Here are some of the questions that were answered after the webinar with Bill Curtis, David Herron, and Dan Galorath.  They were answered on Cast software’s Facebook page.

What about aerospace component level software and how would you apply a cost factor their  complexity factors?

Daniel Galorath The way we do this in SEER is to apply people, process, technology, complexity, and constraints to the components.   SEER would then output the cost.

What is IFPUG Back Fired Points, how does it help?

Daniel Galorath Backfiring  means counting lines of code then using a number of lines per function point to approximate function points.  I think it is much better than nothing for a finger in the wind.  Many others in the industry object strongly to it.

Another question – What type of information is needed to start using a software analysis and measurement tool?

Bill Curtis First  you need to know how you want to use the results.  That will help you establish criteria for evaluating which of the various tools best meets your needs.  The Goal-Question-Metric paradigm is a good guide for determining what your measurement needs are.

Here’s  another question from the webinar – Would like to understand how we can  improve our ability to capture metrics (defect density either using effective loc and or functional point) for applications that rely heavily on database’s where the logic resides – e.g to map biz rules existing in table rows/columns etc?

Daniel Galorath Generally  you would count the work involved in building the database, not the entry of the data into the database itself. SEER will provide estimates of defect density, etc.  From my understanding CAST can provide measurement of this.

What  is the panel’s opinion on LLOC to FP translation such as QSM language by language table which they developed from their database.

Daniel Galorath While  lines of code do not translate into function points and most people object to “backfiring”  it does make sense to relate function points to  effective effort units.. that is effort that has not yet been adjusted for complexity, technology, constraints, etc.

Do you have to have a technology inventory?

Bill Curtis Having an inventory of the technologies you are supporting is a necessary first step in trying to reduce IT costs, since reducing the number of technologies may be a critical issue. Even when organization has tools that allow easy entry of effort the developer/tester/reviewer doesn’t want to spend time to enter the data – this is a culture thing or motivation (understands value in collecting the data) In some environments it is required by law (government contracting). If developers don’t collect accurate effort data, they will always be subject to effort estimates that dramatically underestimate the time that the work will actually require. It is in developers best interest to record accurate effort data.

How do you extend the IT governance to software suppliers? what requirements to pose to them?

Bill Curtis Customers are starting to write measurable quality targets such as robustness or security targets into their outsourcing contracts as the equivalent of service level agreements. They then establish a Quality Gate where all software received is measured and evaluated before being put in operation. If the supplier’s software falls below the quality target they must remediate the code or face a financial penalty.

 

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.




DoD Affordability: Implementing Directive For Ash Carter Initiative

November 8, 2010 · Filed Under General, Project Management, Thoughts · Comment 

A lot of people are interested in DoD’s initiative for improving affordability, often referred to as the Ash Carter memo.  Here it is from NDIA and others: “Implementation Directive for Better Buying Power: Guidance for Obtaining Greater Efficiency and Productivity in Defense Spending,” issued by Dr. Ashton Carter, DoD AT&L, concerning implementation instructions for a series of measures aimed at improving efficiencies and reducing costs in support of Secretary Gates’ Efficiency Initiative.  This directive and guidance are effective immediately.

- CLick here for Document

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.




Capers Jones, Gary Gack, Leon Kappleman, Dan Galorath Team Up To Improve IT

January 20, 2010 · Filed Under General, Project Management · Comment 

From the consortium web site:

Information Systems Risk Management Consortium Charter

Written on January 28, 2010 at 4:25 pm, by adminThe consortium is the result of four of the industry’s leaders (Capers Jones, Gary Gack, Leon Kappelman, Dan Galorath) deciding to pool our expertise and form a consortium called the Information Systems Risk Management Consortium for the purpose of offering our combined talents to assist the information systems industry.  The process improvement results we’ve achieved with other diversified government and industry organizations and large distributed companies has convinced us we can help you accelerate your strategic initiatives while improving tactical performance with measurable results within a 6 to 18 month calendar window.

Our experiences can help your teams identify and reduce the potential risks earlier in the project life cycle.  In most cases the problems and failures are avoidable if you know what to look for, what to do about them, have repeatable processes, appropriate practices, and utilize independent expertise like ours both before and after contracts are awarded.  Federal Government organizations a world-class companies often lack the necessary in-house expertise to ensure success in these high-risk, complex, multi-year initiatives.  Independent specialists with world-class experience and capabilities can provide the critical differentiator needed to manage successfully large high-risk projects.

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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.




Estimating the Costs and Benefits of Software Process Improvement

January 12, 2010 · Filed Under Project Management, Software Estimating · 1 Comment 

I recall, some years ago, participating on a source selection for an improved software development environment.  My part was essentially to assess the costs (personnel, time, etc.)  and the benefits (increases in productivity when the new software development was deployed.

Interesting work and right up SEER’s alley.  I looked at improved development tools and  development practices and cost reduction versus the costs and temporary reduced productivity.

Watts Humphrey of SEI published a document on costs and benefits of software process improvement that is worth review.

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.




A Business Imperative for Change From the Taskforce on Defense Acquisition Law and Oversight

January 7, 2010 · Filed Under business value, Project Management, Thoughts · Comment 

This document analyses Government Acquisition Reform and was developed by a business task force including a who’s who of American technology business and government.  It is very relevant to those concerned with DoD acquisition costs.  I have included a few quotes and conclusions here to give the reader a flavor of the document.

“I reject the notion that we have to waste billions of taxpayer dollars to keep this nation secure.” —Barack Obama

1. Requirements need to be iterative

2. Government needs to bring back highly experienced personnel  

“Higher costs, whether based on low estimates or poor enterprise management, is unacceptable and harmful to the defense enterprise.”

 

“While the shortcomings of defense acquisition are manifold, the issue that has drawn by far the greatest criticism to date is the high cost, and cost growth, of the products it produces. Simply stated, we are on an unsustainable cost trajectory.” —John Young, former USD (AT&L)

 Adherence to program execution processes aimed at satisfying the needs of the war fighter is essential: with resources to address contingencies, with proven technology, and viable poor estimates of production volumes.  Programs should be funded when:

 1. the requirement is clear (And requirements should be iterative);

2) funding is adequate, including reserves, is available

3) the technology is proven

 4) the system concept is well-defined

 

 

 

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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