Conclusions The Almost Perfect Project

In the case being discussed, all went according to plan until the final validation tests performed in the last two weeks. At this point, there was concrete evidence that high reliability would be achieved and delivery from the supplier would be on time with all the functionality required.

The final validation tests of this complex telecommunications software development included testing the interfaces to network equipment and systems. Unfortunately, the telco had not assembled one essential set of interface equipment required to perform the final validation tests. The result was that completion slipped by six weeks. This was, however, due to the telco — not to the supplier.

In all fairness, the telco did comment that the project had been among the best in its experience. The supplier had kept to the schedule and the budget, had delivered all the contracted functionality, and had achieved high reliability.

Applying the same six criteria to assess the telco's purchasing competence gives the following results:

■ Telco corporate memory: Suppliers' plans are kept and compared with industry reference measures. Over time, detailed measures are built regarding suppliers, as their developments complete. These measures are also used to check new plans from the same suppliers.

■ Telco sizing and reuse: Each supplier is formally required to estimate software size, including uncertainty and reuse. This size data is used to assess the plan and to quantify the risk. The size data forms part of the contract baseline, and is used to track progress in each software module and control requirement changes.

■ Telco extrapolation using actual performance: The core progress data is used to determine progress against the contract baseline. Variance analysis determines if progress is within agreed-upon limits. If it is outside the limits, then new extrapolations are made of the outstanding time, effort, cost, defects, and actual process productivity.

■ Telco audit trails: The initial baseline plan is recorded, together with potential alternatives. All progress data, new forecasts, and the agreed-upon contractor plan and size revisions are logged.

■ Telco integrity within dictated limits: Each supplier proposal is evaluated against acquisition constraints of time, effort, cost, reliability, and risk. Development progress is reviewed continuously to confirm that it is within the contract limits.

■ Telco data collection and performance feedback: The development history is captured using the core measures, including the initial proposal, contract baseline, progress data, forecasts, and revised plans. This history is used to continuously update the data repository of supplier performance, and highlight those that provide value for money.

Thus, one can see that the telco motivates suppliers to get and use the SEI core measures to their mutual advantage. This parallels the U.S. Department of Defense's motivation in applying maturity assessments to suppliers.

The telco is concerned with getting commercial benefits from exploiting the SEI core measures. There are real bottom-line benefits to using the core measures, as illustrated here.

It is a pleasant change to describe a real development success. Indeed, use of the SEI core measures facilitates success. All too often, software case studies are based on disasters, many of which could have been avoided by actively using the SEI core measures.

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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