How to Bid, Control, and Complete Your Software Projects Using Metrics
To succeed in the software industry, managers need to cultivate a reliable development process. By measuring what teams have achieved on previous projects, managers can more accurately set goals, make bids, and ensure the successful completion of new projects.
Acclaimed long-time collaborators Lawrence H. Putnam and Ware Myers present simple but powerful measurement techniques to help software managers allocate limited resources and track progress.
Drawing new findings from an extensive database of more than 6,300 software projects, the authors demonstrate how readers can control projects with just five core metrics - Time, Effort, Size, Reliability, and Process Productivity. With these metrics, managers can adjust ongoing projects to changing conditions - surprises that would otherwise lead to failure.
Review By: Michelle Giles 01/29/2004
Five Core Metrics: The Intelligence Behind Successful Software Management by Lawrence H. Putnam and Ware Myers, is a guide for estimating and controlling software projects based on five core metrics: time, effort, size, reliability, and process productivity. Five Core Metrics provides the reader with a clear and logical path to making use of reliable historical data from an existing measurement program. However, measurement-poor organizations may find the book lacks guidance for newcomers. With a minimal amount of historical measurement data, Putnam and Myers provide simple solutions for estimating project size, reporting project status, and continuous process improvement. Detailed explanations of how these measurements affect one another makes this book an invaluable resource for project managers and project leaders. Those managers bombarded with software measurements will find what Putnam and Myers refer to as the “five core metrics” to be a welcome solution to their metric woes. Organizations working with the SEI Capability Maturity Model will find many of the concepts presented to be very familiar, as both authors seem to be intimately acquainted with the model. But alas, Five Core Metrics is not for the beginner. Those with no existing historical information will find it difficult to apply the techniques covered here without a great deal of time and investment in gathering the organization-specific historical data that is required to make the metrics work. However, while not geared toward them directly, those with even a little software management experience should be able to adapt the concepts into a workable measurement program.
Overall, Five Core Metrics is a good read for those involved in software project management. The informal style in which the majority of the book is written simplifies many of the concepts introduced and the authors provide good coverage of all areas related to the five core metrics. Although there are a few chapters that might make even the most eager management types heavy-eyed (avoid the Introduction at all costs), the content is clear and relevant to software management.
Those seeking insight into the meaning of software metrics should find the book useful, if not too exciting. The technical portions of the text can be a bit immense, but if read carefully, it won't be too overwhelming. New software project managers will find that the book not only puts forth a plausible measurement concept but provides a great deal of clever insight into the world of software management. Readers will frequently find themselves nodding in agreement to some of the thought provoking and all too true industry tales.
Five Core Metrics is also a great resource for organizations not directly involved in software management. The insight gained into the world of software management and its metrics would surely benefit any organization preparing to take the leap into the world of contract software development.