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July 11, 1996
"Controlling Software Development"
Michael Mah, QSM Associates

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Controlling Software Development

In a recent issue of IEEE Software, it was reported that even today, 31% of software projects are canceled, 53% are more that 189% over budget, and only 61% of the features that users request make it into the final product. Clearly, software development still continues to confound traditional project management methods, many rooted in hardware project management techniques. However, new approaches now address the unique ways that software projects behave. Software project control functions are moving into realms that can more effectively measure, estimate, and capture software project behavior, mid-stream. Old methods of simply tracking activities, time and effort, do not capture the behavior of software development. By using the Carnegie Mellon SEI/QSM minimum data set, which adds 1) size metrics and 2) defect metrics, we have the ability to identify the path, or "trajectory" of a software project.

These new techniques give managers ability to identify "health at a glance" and can help to accurately predict as to where a project is headed. This presentation will highlight these key points, and describe how they can leveraged within an organization's existing processes. Two case studies from the Netherlands Telecomm and Intel Corporation will also be discussed..

Michael Mah

Mr. Mah is director and principal of QSM Associates. Since 1978, QSM has been an industry research leader on software productivity management, metrics, and lifecycle modeling. Mr. Mah has provided software estimating and productivity consulting for both commercial and government agencies, and has lectured internationally in North America and the Far East on software metrics, productivity management, and total quality for software. He has authored articles on software productivity and benchmarking for publication such as Programmer's Update Magazine, and Canada's Information Technology Magazine.

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