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Sep 18

Agile Company #5 Is Revealed

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Sep 18

September 18, 2007

The secret is out. After our productivity analysis of Agile methods at BMC Software, executives at the firm were so excited about the results that a press release was issued last week about the findings:

Agile Excels at BMC, Programming Technique Provides Customers Higher Quality Products in Record Time

SLIM Analysis Shows Agile Development Can Bring Positive Results for both Developers and the Bottom Line

PITTSFIELD, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–QSM Associates and the Cutter Consortium today announced unprecedented quality and productivity results for a major development initiative at BMC Software [NYSE: BMC]. Using QSM Inc.’s SLIM (Software Lifecycle Management) suite of benchmarking and project management software, the Cutter Consortium concluded that BMC had achieved “remarkable levels of time-to-market and quality in their software development” using Agile programming, a teamwork-based approach developed in recent years.

“Developers who adopt Agile programming techniques enable the company to be more nimble,” remarked Michael Mah, a senior consultant with The Cutter Consortium and managing partner at QSM Associates, who worked with BMC on the benchmark project. “When a software company pushes high-quality products to the market in record time, it’s their customers who win.”

BMC worked with Mah to assess the performance of its IT organization and identify strengths/weaknesses across the software development lifecycle. SLIM was used to obtain objective data and benchmark BMC projects for time and effort against QSM’s database of more than 7,000 completed projects. BMC’s performance was compared to software industry averages for cost, efficiency, speed, and quality, representing traditional as well as Agile development projects.

The company’s adoption of Agile programming enabled BMC to produce large scale enterprise software in four to five months, compared to the typical organization, which takes about a year to deliver comparable software.

“BMC is hitting exceptional time-to-market without sacrificing quality, which provides a real competitive advantage” continued Mah. “Especially noteworthy is the fact that BMC has found a ‘Secret Sauce’ that enables its SCRUM process to succeed in spite of teams being geographically dispersed. Other companies experience higher defects and longer schedules with split teams, but BMC does not. I’ve never seen this before. The low bug rates also result in very low defect rates post-production, which is great news for their customers who demand a high quality product.”

“In an era characterized by requirements changing faster than traditional development cycles, Agile development has helped BMC reach a level of proficiency that enables us to respond to our customer needs much more quickly,” said Israel Gat, BMC’s Vice President of Distributed Systems Management. “BMC has always had great confidence in our development team. The unbiased numbers from Cutter validate that high level of confidence.”

In addition to analyzing BMC’s performance against industry standards, SLIM enables development and business management to further measure, reliably estimate, and control the destiny of their projects with state of the art management practices.

“Agile development contributes to the making of an agile manager,” Mah said. “When managers have instant access to critical decision-making data –such as productivity metrics, the ability to accurately forecast/predict project schedules, reliably estimate time, effort, staffing as a function of the volume of requirements/features/stories, and measure projects instantaneously in ‘mid-flight’– everyone wins.”

The SLIM-Estimate and SLIM-Control models were used to demonstrate how to avoid typical programming pitfalls in the future. SLIM scenarios show how management can optimize future time/scope/reliability trade-offs in virtual space, running simulations in advance to execute a more effective release strategy.

Mah continues, “My experience is that many companies pay lip service to being Agile, others are at different levels of maturity but BMC has obviously made a serious commitment and the results speak for this achievement. With results clearly ahead of more than 95 percent of all the software projects captured in the SLIM metrics database, they’re among the best I’ve seen at this.”

About Cutter Consortium

Cutter Consortium is a unique IT advisory firm, comprising more than 200 internationally recognized experts who offer content, consulting and training services. These experts have done, and are doing, groundbreaking work in organizations worldwide, helping companies deal with issues in the core areas of software development and agile project management, enterprise architecture, business technology trends and strategies, risk management, metrics, and sourcing. Cutter’s goals are to further the thinking in business-technology and to help organizations leverage technology for competitive advantage and business success. They accomplish their mission by serving as a catalyst for collaboration between business-technology thought leaders worldwide and by giving clients access to this think tank through its research, training and consulting.

Cutter’s clients are able to tap into this collaborative community of thought leaders in a variety of formats including online and multimedia research, mentoring and inquiries, and training/consulting services.

About QSM Associates

QSM Associates, based in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, has furnished solutions in software project estimation, control and productivity measurement and benchmarking for more than 15 years. It provides tools such as the QSM SLIM Suite, plus consulting, metrics training, and negotiation workshops along with its partner-affiliates to many of the world’s leading producers of software. Information is available at www.qsma.com

More of Michael Mah’s work, including Agile Executive reports, can be found at www.cutter.com.

Contacts

Cutter, QSM Associates
Edward Bride, 413-442-7718
Ed@edbride-pr.com
or
BMC
Jennifer Cadmus, 713-918-2353
jcadmus@waggeneredstrom.com

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