Newsletters

Total Metrics Newsletters to view online.

November 2005

Project Governance and FP Auditing

IT and Project Governance are prominent topics in the IT media. Organizations are experiencing high risks and high costs for IT project development. The role of Project Governance is to balance the risk of the organizations Investment against the opportunities and benefits that the outcomes from the project will provide the business. For IT projects it is about providing the client with the capability to monitor the project status and control the risk of the project not delivering the business value they require within the time and budget available.

This issue's special interest article - Metrics Based Project Governance looks at how metrics can play a role in mitigating Project Risk. We also look at the new features in SCOPE Project Sizing Software™ and how to convert your existing MS EXCEL® counts to SCOPE.

Our feature article discusses the ‘Terms-of-Reference’ that need to be in place before an FP audit starts to ensure that the client gets what they paid for and the supplier is not unfairly assessed. Contractual disputes can arise in outsourcing contracts when clients bring in external FP Counters to audit the supplier’s performance metrics. Often this is done without consultation on the activities of the audit or agreement on the dispute resolution processes. Our feature article discusses the ‘Terms-of-Reference’ that need to be in place before anFP audit starts to ensure that the client gets what they paid for and the supplier is not unfairly assessed.
September 2004

Implementing a Mature FPA Process and FP Decision Maker

Total Metrics have distilled the IFPUG 4.2 Counting Practices Manual’s knowledge and rules into a discrete set of carefully constructed questions enabling you to make the correct counting decision every time.

For some time we have taught some of these techniques in our FPA Training but in the interests of ‘best practice function point counting’ we have now made this methodology open to everyone. Our FP Decision Maker™ expert system assists you in answering all your FPA counting queries. It will be available free on our WWW site for you to use every time you have a counting query from September 1st 2004.

Our feature article on How to Implement a Mature FPA Process discusses the importance of accurate function point results and how the measurement process itself needs to be predictable, repeatable and auditable.

Managing Change and Controlling Project SCOPE – how to do it! About 12 years ago Function Point counting repository tools were first released and it was hoped that these tools would be able to address this problem. Ie, allowing concurrent counts on the same baseline and being able to individually size them, modify them, remove them and still keep the integrity of the Baseline.

However up until the release of SCOPE Project Sizing Sofware™ no function point tool had solved this problem. See hoe SCOPE can assist you in never again having problems in managing your count sequences or overwriting changes.

September 2003

SCOPE - Reducing Risk for Software Projects


Our most significant news for this month is the launch of our new SCOPE Project Sizing Software™ tool for functional sizing and project management.

This issue explores the features in this tool that revolutionises the way you count function points and quantify your software.

Have you been tasked with setting up your organisation's metrics program in a limited timeframe? This month Elwyn Hurst, one of our senior consultants, shares his experiences with setting up a large baseline function point count in an organisation and the activities to be considered in scheduling resources for the count.

The concept of valuing internally developed software as a capital asset to be depreciated is now gaining acceptance in accounting circles. Organisations are benefiting from the financial reporting advantages of not expensing the development costs in a single financial year and recognising the need to financially plan the decommissioning and replacement in their future budgets. See our special interest article - The Secret is Out – Software is an Asset!

June 2003

Metrics based Project Governance and Function Points - Beyond Estimating – Part 3

Our most significant news for this month is the availability of Release 8 of the International Software Benchmarking Groups Data Repository data listing project data from over 2000 projects. Visit: WWW.ISBSG.org for details.

We conclude our 3 part series of articles on how to use function points beyond project estimation. The final part looks at how FPA can assist in the evaluation of supplier support contracts, comparison of functionality offered by software packages and valuing your software assets.

Of the $382 billion spent on software development in the United States last year, it is estimated that $82 billion was wasted through bad planning and mismanagement. Our special interest article this month looks at the role that metrics can play in improved project governance.

September 2002

Industry Metrics for Maintenance and Support and Function Points – beyond project estimating – Part 2

Our most important news for this month is that the MarkII and IFPUG 4.1 unadjusted methods for functional size have both officially completed their ISO approval process and are awaiting publication as ISO standards. The approved ISO versions of both methods do not use an adjustment factor. The ISO functional size is reported in ‘unadjusted function points’. The newer COSMIC-FFP functional size method and the Netherlands NESMA method are both currently in their final ISO ballot which will give our industry four official ISO functional sizing methods.

This month’s newsletter includes updates from the USA IFPUG conference and the ISBSG Workshop as well as a write-up on Ed Yourdon’s insights into project risk management.

Total Metrics is pleased to announce that our training course in IFPUG 4.1 Function Point Analysis has been officially IFPUG certified and attendees can gain credits towards their CFPS recertification.

We continue with Part 2 of our series of articles on how to use function points beyond project estimation. This series will be concluded in our December issue.

March 2002

A simplified approach to Project Status Reporting and Function Points – beyond project estimating – Part 1

Good news for organisations that require their IT processes to conform to ISO standards is that the voting for the acceptance of IFPUG 4.1 and MarkII functional size methods has completed. Both methods have provisionally been approved as ISO standards.

The newer COSMIC-FFP functional size method is currently in its second last stage of balloting for ISO standardisation. Over the next few months we will keep you informed on the progress of all three functional sizing methods as they progress through the ISO process.

In this issue we have an update from the International Software Benchmarking Standards Group on products they will be delivering in 2002 to enable organisations to better understand the productivity of their software processes.

We commence Part 1 of our new series of articles on how to use function points beyond just input into estimation. These articles were developed by Total Metrics for the soon to be released IFPUG book on Practical Measurement.

December 2001

Benchmarking Metrics Standards for Maintenance and Support and ISO Standards for the Software Measurement Process

Metrics enthusiasts have been busy over the last few months attending metrics conferences worldwide. In this issue of Soft Measures, we review some of the key committee presentations from the IFPUG fall conference in Las Vegas and the November Australian Software Measurement conference (ACOSM) in Melbourne Australia.

A common theme of the ACOSM conference was the new ISO/IEC 15939 standard for the software measurement process and how this standard can be adopted within the CMMI process assessment model and adapted for use within IT organisations. We review the content of this new standard and its impact on software measurement processes.

In our review of the ACOSM conference we discuss the results of a Japanese study showing the effectiveness of the COSMIC-FFP functional size method for early prediction of project costs and research into the ISBSG Repository on the soft factors impacting project productivity.

At Total Metrics we are very excited about the release of our new Function Point Counting software the Software Sizer™. We review the key features of the software and compare it with the current market offerings.

August 2001

NEW METRICS BOOK FOR PRACTICAL MEASUREMENT and How to Count Calculators and Simulators

As you may be aware, over the last 12 months, Software Measurement has made enormous advances in becoming an accepted and integral part of the software development process. This edition looks at some of these advances, particularly in functional size measurement tools and techniques. We review the new product release for recording and reporting IFPUG 4.1 function point counts. This tool based on the latest technology looks set to lead the field in functional size measurement tools. We also review the new Estimating Toolkit and Estimating and Benchmarking Research suite developed by the International Software Benchmarking Group (ISBSG) and supported by their data.

Functional Size Measurement is still news as four methods are in their balloting stages of becoming International ISO Standards.

Since our last newsletter Total Metrics has released a practice exam for the IFPUG CFPS Exam which is available on our WWW site.

October 1999

Stemming the tide of Software Asset Rot

This month’s key article is a summary of one of the IFPUG meeting’s key note speakers, Paul Strassmann, whose presentation was anything but ‘dry’. Strassmann emphasized the need for organizational metrics programs to shift their focus away from ‘cost’ of software to the ‘value’ of software. He proposes that organizations need to ensure that their long term strategies involve optimizing the longevity of their software so as to maximize their knowledge capital. Strassmann's presentation is thought provoking and identifies some key issues in measuring the true market value of an organization beyond the financial accounting methods of measuring just capital assets.

July 1999

Forgotten Aspects of Function Point Analysis and COSMIC Trials for the new FSM Method set to go!

More news from COSMIC (Common Software Measurement International Consortium) as they are gearing up to launch their new method for sizing software projects. Organisations world wide, have registered for the COSMIC trials to test the effectiveness of this new method which is based on a refinement of the Full Function Point Method of functional sizing.

April 1999

COSMIC – Development of an International Standard Method of Functional Size Measurement which is ISO 14143-1 compliant plus ISBGS workbook for macro estimating of software development effort and duration

‘Think of a number then double it!” Sound familiar? This is a common response when you ask a project manager how he estimated the costs, schedule and resources for this latest project. Software measurement practitioners have worked hard over the years to improve the process of software project estimation by encouraging project teams to collect actual historical data on project size, effort consumed and elapsed time. All of which can then be used to determine typical productivity rates for software projects built with different software and hardware platforms, different languages and tools and within different application domains. Informed project managers can then apply these historical productivity rates to their next planned project to provide a more objective, quantitative method for developing project estimates. It was to this end that the International Software Benchmarking Standards Group (ISBSG) developed their repository of industry based productivity data. The latest news from this group is that they have extended their offerings and developed a workbook, which is aimed at assisting project managers to macro-estimate their software development effort and duration using the data within the repository. The potential uses and benefits of this new ‘estimating tool’ are explored in our feature article for this month. We also take a look at the latest work done by the COSMIC group who are working towards an international standard for measuring software size and promise to have a draft version for testing by the third quarter of 1999.

Our key article this month is a review of the work recently published by Chris Lokan from the Australian Defence Force Academy, on the relationship between the key elements (transactions and files) in Function Point Analysis results and how they change with different types of projects and project environments.

February 1999

Latest Advancements in Software Functional Size Measurement

This month’s news letter focuses on software quality and looks at the work done on the USA “National Quality Experiment”. This experiment was conducted between 1992 to 1997 to benchmark the state of software product quality and to monitor improvements against stated goals. Our source is quality expert, Don O’Neill an independent consultant specialising in quality related aspects of software development. The metrics collected from the 112 inspection labs which participated in the experiment provide some interesting reading for those interested in establishing defect tracking as a means of monitoring software quality.

January 1999

Benefits and Risks in Outsourcing - Industry Trends

We cover the imminent release of the new IFPUG Counting Practices Manual. According to our sources within IFPUG, the counting practices group is still on track for releasing the next version 4.1 of the CPM, at the end of this month.

We also review a recent presentation to the Australian Software Metrics Association by Neil Fraser, a Senior Manager with Deloitte Consulting, on the benefits and risks of outsourcing. The paper is based on the results of a survey of 120 Australian companies carried out in 1997. It presents data, which summarises what Information Technology services are being outsourced and why the organisation decided to outsource in the first place. It identifies the benefits realised by the decision to outsource and the difficulties encountered with the different outsourcing arrangements. If your organisation is currently involved in an outsourcing arrangement or looking at adopting an outsourcing strategy in the future, then I am sure you will find it interesting reading.

December 1998

Evaluation of Functional Size Measurement for Real-Time, Embedded and Control Systems

For nearly 20 years, organisations worldwide have been using Functional Size Measurement methods to estimate the size of their planned software projects. However the successful use of functional size measurement has lain almost exclusively with those organisations that develop commercial type applications. Organisations who develop real-time control or embedded software have only been able to use the traditional FSM methods with limited success. We present a discussion paper that looks at the alternatives sizing methods and makes recommendations on suggested strategies.

November 1998

Software Measurement in Practice

This month’s newsletter provides an insight into the recent advancements in the progression of software measures with the establishment of the COSMIC initiative. COSMIC (Common Software Metrics International Consortium) is a group of international metrics experts and sponsors who have set up a project which aims at developing a set of software measures to address the measurement needs of the Information Technology industry beyond the millennium.

The project aims to target a wide range software functional domains and provide the IT industry with better measures for productivity comparisons and for estimating software effort, cost, schedule and resources. We review the aims and deliverables of the group and discuss the benefits of such an initiative to the IT industry, worldwide. We have continued with our reviews of major Software Metrics conferences and this month review the UKSMA 10th Anniversary conference (United Kingdom Software Metrics User Group) held in London late October. We summarize presentations given by two of the keynote speakers; the most renowned of which was Tom Gilb.

Gilb is recognized as a metrics ‘guru’ and originally coined the term ‘software metrics’ in his book of the same name in 1976. His presentation reviewed the 1995 Ratheon Report, which he held up as an excellent example of process improvement driven by the measurement of that improvement.

Other key note speakers included, Carol Dekkers the current IFPUG president who spoke about the IFPUG Vision of the future and Professor Alain Abran from the University of Quebec in Montreal who introduced the new Full Function Point Method for sizing software, to the UK audience. Pam Morris from Total Metrics Australia extended the topic of FFP by discussing its effectiveness in measuring utility, infrastructure and systems software, with a focus on the needs of outsourcing contract performance requirements.

September 1998

Functional Size Measurement from Vision to Reality

This month’s newsletter which focuses on the international level of cooperation between metrics bodies to advance the role of software measurement in Information Technology. We have covered an in-depth review of presentations by the metrics gurus Capers Jones and Charles Symons at the recent IFPUG Orlando conference in which they both discussed the future of Functional Size Measurement and the need for a review and standardisation of current methods. The most significant news this month is the planned release of the new IFPUG Counting Practices Manual, scheduled for January 1999 and the remarkable impact that Full Function Points is having on the metrics world.