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WhatMyers SoftwarePutnam Stakeholders Want

by Lawrence H. Putnam and Ware Myers

Adapted from Five Core Metrics. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved. See below for copyright notice.

Software stakeholders—the clients, management, and developers—want predictable operations. A fair percentage of software organizations are now achieving this goal. They are an existence proof, as the scientists say, that orderly software development is within reach. That is not to say that reaching it is easy, only that it is possible.

What do we mean by predictable? We mean that a project organization at a certain level of productivity can accomplish the required work within a planned time frame, by expending a planned amount of effort. We mean that the result of the work, the product, will attain the planned level of reliability. These five factors (shown in italics) can be measured and are, therefore, metrics. It is evident that measurement stands astride the path to predictability.

That path in software development is called a process. In some organizations, the process may be the result of careful thought. In other organizations, that process may merely have grown like a weed: "It's the way we do things around here." In either case, for the path to be predictable, the organization has to be able to repeat the process. Thus, metrics are needed to measure the process and make its repetition predictable.

The prediction, then, is based on the metrics. Management has to allot the work (measured by a metric) in relation to the resources available (measured by metrics). The staff wants to keep the work within the limits of its capacity (another metric) because then staff members can plan to have a life outside of work. The client wants a predictable outcome because it has to fit the outcome into its own plans. To be successful, software development has to integrate metrics with process. That integration is the intelligence behind successful software management.

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COPYRIGHT NOTICE: This excerpt from Five Core Metrics [0-932633-55-2] appears by permission of Dorset House Publishing. Copyright © 2003 by Lawrence H. Putnam and Ware Myers. All rights reserved. See http://www.dorsethouse.com/books/fcm.html. The material contained in this file may be shared for noncommercial purposes only, nonexclusively, provided that this Copyright Notice always appears with it. This material may not be combined with advertisements, online or in print, without explicit permission from Dorset House Publishing. For copies of the printed book or for permissions, contact Dorset House Publishing, 1-800-342-6657, 212-620-4053, http://www.dorsethouse.com, info@dorsethouse.com, New: 3143 Broadway, Suite 2B, New York, NY 10027 USA. Additional rights limitations apply, as presented in the Legal Disclaimer posted at http://www.dorsethouse.com/legal.html.



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