Without a doubt, PIMS is a higher-quality system than it was a few years ago. It forms the central nervous system of a number of factories and consists of hundreds of thousands of lines of code; yet recent major installations have been almost trouble free. Ongoing maintenance costs are one quarter of what they once were, and key metrics indicate that the project is close to a Six Sigma quality deployment effort. This success can be directly attributed to improvements in PIMS software development.

One of the major lessons learned is that the techniques and philosophies of continuous quality improvement are as important and as applicable to software development as they are in more traditional functions like manufacturing. Other beneficial lessons drawn from the PIMS experience can be applied to the continuous improvement program in general:

■ Systematic improvement requires dedicated support from developers and managers. It has taken many years of coordinated effort to achieve the improvements Motorola has made in the PIMS project, and the team is still far from satisfied. IS managers hoping for instant measurable improvement will almost certainly be disappointed.

■ It is harder to change culture — people's thoughts and habits — than it is to change technology. The PIMS project team wrote its own defect- tracking tools in a few weeks, but convincing people to use the tools consistently to track their own errors was far more time-consuming.

■ A formal development process pays for itself in improved quality and efficiency. It is always painful to spend the time up-front to do the analysis and design thoroughly, but doing it right the first time is less costly than redoing work at coding, or even worse, after the product is released.

■ Metrics are the key to measuring, understanding, and controlling the development process. No gut feeling is worth the measurement of a 100 percent defect improvement rate.

■ Any project can benefit from formal management of the basic development process. These lessons have been transferred to other projects, large and small, old and new, thus proving that the techniques are valuable in all types of systems.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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