Tag Results

5339_482402728502793_1438618547_aMichael Mah to Reveal Game
changing Practices in Software,

Secrets of Agile Release Planning,
at Better Software Conference

QSM Associates to Present Retrospectives on Agile Practices, Including Real-world Metrics versus Waterfall Development

BOSTON, Nov. 8, 2013 – Michael C. Mah, one of the leading thinkers on the Agile development scene today, will lead two revealing sessions at the combined Better Software Conference and Agile Development Conference in Boston, Nov. 11-13.

WHO: Michael C. Mah, Managing Partner, QSM Associates and director of the Benchmarking Practice at the Cutter Consortium, a U.S.-based IT think-tank.

WHAT: Agile Development Conference East, and the associated Better Software Conference East


  • Conference overall: Nov. 10-15, 2013;
  • Expo: Nov. 13-14.
  • Michael Mah conference participation:

Nov. 11: all-day tutorial (Agile Release Planning, Metrics, and Retrospectives);

Nov. 13: presentation (Game Changing Practices in Software: Data from Recent Benchmark Research)

WHERE:  John B. Hynes Memorial Convention Center, Boston


  • Tutorial, Nov. 11, 8:30am: This world-renowned tutorial was over-subscribed at the recent Better Software Conference in Las Vegas.

How to compare the productivity and quality that Agile developers achieve with that of traditional waterfall projects; learn about both Agile and waterfall metrics and how these metrics behave in real projects; attendees will also learn how to use their own data to move from sketches on a whiteboard to create Agile project trends on productivity, time-to-market, and defect rates. Using recent, real-world case studies, Michael Mah offers a practical, expert view of agile measurement, showing these metrics in action on retrospectives and release estimation and planning.

  • Presentation (Nov. 13, 3:45pm): Game Changing Practices in Software: Data from Recent Benchmark Research

As agile practices become mainstream, compelling patterns are being revealed about defect rates, time-to-market, and effort/staffing. Industry data from QSM Associates reveals that many companies grapple with collocation, pair programming, offshoring, and combining agile with waterfall methods. Some of the best teams find significant schedule and quality implications that are literally redefining the economics of software; others are not. What factors make a meaningful difference? With the latest industry analysis, Michael Mah discusses productivity, time-to-market, quality, and cost patterns as Agile communities mature. Serving as a comparison framework is the QSM SLIM industry database, with more than 12,000 completed projects—waterfall, Agile, offshore, onshore—collected worldwide. Attendees will learn find out how to assess their own patterns and apply the findings to their development practices.

ABOUT THE CONFERENCE: The Agile Development Conference East and the Better Software Conference East are sponsored by Software Quality Engineering, which delivers training, support, research, and publications to software managers, developers, test professionals, and quality engineers worldwide. Since 1986, SQE has  been at the forefront of software quality improvement technology and was instrumental in setting the stage for the software industry to view testing as a distinct discipline. Today, Software Quality Engineering is a resource relied upon by the Fortune 1000 companies. They also produce highly-rated publications such as Better Software magazine, StickyMinds.com, and TechWell.com.

The conferences cover the latest in methods, technologies, tools, and leadership principles from thought leaders who deliver inspiring keynotes, in-depth tutorials, and a wide range of conference classes, with more than 100 learning and networking opportunities: Conference details and registration information can be found at http://bsceast.techwell.com/conference-overview-4.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:  With 25 years of industry experience Michael Mah (Twitter: @MichaelCMah) teaches, writes, and consults for QSM Associates to tech companies on measuring and estimating software projects for offshore, waterfall, and agile. Michael and his QSM partners have researched thousands of projects worldwide. His work examines time-pressure dynamics of teams and their contribution to project success and failure. Michael’s clients include Boeing, Progressive, Verizon Wireless, Nationwide, JPMorgan Chase, Roche, and other Fortune 100 companies. He is the director of the Benchmarking Practice at the Cutter Consortium in the U.S.

ABOUT QSM ASSOCIATES: QSM Associates, Inc. helps organizations measure, plan, estimate and control software projects. It offers the SLIM (Software Lifecycle Management) Suite of tools, so managers can benchmark and forecast Agile, waterfall, in-house, offshore/multi-shore or ERP/package implementation projects. SLIM contains statistics from a worldwide database of more than 12,000 completed projects, enabling productivity benchmarking on the desktop. Using SLIM to dynamically run “virtual project simulations,” companies can model and forecast waterfall and Agile releases to deliver on time, within budget with >90% estimation accuracy. SLIM can also derive ROI achieved by Agile methods and other process improvements. QSM Associates offers consulting, training, and coaching to help accelerate this capability. Information is available at www.QSMA.com or email info@qsma.com. Along with Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce.com, QSMA is a Rally Software Strategic Partner.

Contact: Edward Bride, 413-442-7718 (Ed@wedbride-pr.com)

September 29, 2005

Just returned from Boston where Joshua Kerievsky and I gave a talk entitled “Agile Metrics: Keeping Deadlines from Killing Your Projects and Ruining Your Life.”

A most lively reaction came from the audience of 100+ attendees, especially when I commented that “Agile Metrics” seemed an odd oxymoron, akin to terms like “Homeland Security”, “Central Intelligence”, or “Federal Emergency Management.” (Couldn’t resist…) But seriously, what we mean by the term Agile Metrics is actually two-fold: The first being about how to measure quickly and reliably (which you can do on your own) and the second being about gaining measurement insights into the “before and after” (think ROI), of implementing an Agile approach.

Joshua began by talking about the void in the industry when it came to productivity metrics on XP projects. To some extent, he even laid the blame at the steps of the Agile community for the absence of measures that senior managers would believe. (“Metrics? We don’t need no stinking metrics.”) He commented that many of the proponents of XP sought to go it alone, to their eventual chagrin, and didn’t see how to collaborate with those in the field of metrics to understand how XP projects were behaving versus the status quo, and make a compelling enough case to senior decision makers who would ultimately hold the purse strings on approving an Agile initiative.

Kerievsky then went on to talk about his excitement about the prospect of synthesizing what we are able to accomplish with modern benchmarking practices that I’ve written about over the last 10+ years, and how this collaboration yielded powerful results that were clear and concise when it came to schedule and defect patterns on XP projects.

My portion of the talk gave insight into how we can quickly and reliably get a diagnostic reading on the outcomes for any development paradigm, and what we saw when we measured “before and after” an Industrial XP implementation, at a major medical devices company.

(Rather than repeat the findings described in an earlier post, you can view the results in this blogosphere. See the entry on “Reassessing XP.”)

Ironically, one thing I believe we conveyed in this session was the debunking of some myths about Agile, and about software measurement.

Myth #1: Agile is another term for “License to Hack”. I’ve heard critics of XP and other Agile methods dismiss it as undisciplined. But, truth be told, what seems like programmers running amuck is actually one of the most disciplined executions of software invention that one can imagine. It seems to me that, done properly, something like Industrial XP is more rigorous than most organizations that claim a high degree of process maturity. Tim Lister says they’re at least the equivalent of CMM Level 3.

Myth #2: Metrics is a Frederick Taylor inspired, “heavy methodology” that slows things down by detracting from real work. Yet ironically, companies that know how to use measures well, quickly gain insights into their current IT capacity, can reliably generate project scenarios using advanced modeling techniques in days rather than weeks, and are more able to respond to changes on a project, from a management perspective.

So to sum it up, we’re discovering that Agile can be highly disciplined, and measurement can be about fast and accurate knowledge about software productivity, along with accelerated decision making. In my opinion, we’ve only just scratched the surface on this subject.