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Five Core Metrics : The Intelligence Behind Successful Software Management [Paperback]

Lawrence H. Putnam and Ware Myers

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Book Description

1 May 2003
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 project progress.

Drawing new findings from an extensive database of software project metrics, 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 cause project failure.

Insights from the Book

"Whether it's a single company making use of metrics or nine companies finding out from measurements how much difference a new technology made, metrics can tell us that we are doing things right. Metrics provide and enable the following:

* dependable estimates of project effort, schedule, and reliability
* control of the project during its course
* ability to replan an errant project along the way
* master-planning the assignment of resources to all projects within the organization
* monitoring process improvement from year to year

"Furthermore, an organization can apply these same metric capabilities to the oversight of development subcontractors and outsourcing contractors."

"But first we must ask, What do we mean by doing things right? We mean that fundamentally, we are turning out software products in less development time, with less effort, at a better reliability level." - From Chapter 1

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evolution and refinement of earlier work 23 Jun 2004
By Mike Tarrani - Published on
The authors have impeccable credentials in the software estimating discipline, with Putnam's experience dating back to his breakthrough approach using Rayleigh curves to model staffing developed in the early 1970s, and Myers as his coauthor and collaborator for three earlier books from which this one is roughly based and represents a distillation and refinement of earlier ideas.
Material in this book is not done justice if you go solely by the table of contents. It contains deep thought and a wealth of information that support the five core metrics proposed. After introductory material in the first chapter, this book picks up pace by going into what the authors consider to be the right metrics and why. They follow this discussion with a chapter that shows how they align to a development lifecycle (using the RUP's inception, elaboration, construction and transition phases as a framework). This is followed by two chapters that address the five metric areas, time, effort, quality, workload and productivity, and sizing. Chapters 7 and 8 address productivity and reliability as they relate to the metrics.
I liked the material in the final chapters the most because it takes the concepts in the first eight chapters and applies them to problem spaces such as project control, requirements management, trade-off analysis, and how to use estimates to formulate accurate bids. This material is practical and reflects the real world. Among my favorite chapters are 15 (Replan Projects in Trouble), 17 (Evaluate Bids on the Facts), and 21 (Metrics Backstop Negotiation). However, each chapter in between was also on the mark and credible.
If you are immersed in an unmanageable morass of metrics and want to manage to a smaller set of key indicators in projects or maintenance this book is an essential resource. If you are using Ad Hoc metrics or none at all, this material is an ideal starting point.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Actual values to feed the formulas would have been great 20 Dec 2005
By Carlo R. Montoya - Published on
Our company has been trying to improve its processes for almost

three years now but our efforts were and are still fruitless.

Although we were recording four core metrics (we were using

conventional productivity not process productivity so I'm

counting this one out) -- effort, time, size and defects

(although not the defect rate), we didn't know their

relationship until now. The knowledge we have gained from this

book will help us renew our efforts next year.

Statistics know-how is somewhat needed to understand some of the

chapters although you won't actually be computing anything. I

mean if you don't know what normal curves, medians, standard

deviations are, then you'd be at a lost. I've bought a book

on statistics to relearn it along with my colleagues. However,

the graphs make up for it.

The book was also somewhat lacking in giving actual values to

put in the formulas. I think I'm interpreting the data

incorrectly because I'm getting very big or very small values

from the process productivity formula. I've e-mailed QSM but

they haven't replied yet but I do hope they will.

Nevertheless, the book is a good companion to other software

quality books that focus on people, methods, processes, tools

but don't mention how to measure them objectively.

Get this book if you're part of the software industry regardless

of your title, rank, responsibilities, or party (client or

4.0 out of 5 stars Quite good, but too long 28 Oct 2013
By Per Holst - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
The book covers why metrics are important in successful (software) management - the right metrics that is. But most of all the need to monitor and adapt based on the picture drawn from the metrics.

I found the latter part to be excessive content, but all in all a good read.

Apart from mentioning tigers in Africa I didn't find any blatant errors
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Core Metric review 11 Sep 2009
By Rodney R. Rogers - Published on
I found this book to be very enlightening. It has presented many concepts that are reasonable and applicable to the work environment that I am in. It has been of great assistance and is well written.
8 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Actual Professional 12 Feb 2008
By Project Manager - Published on
This book would have been good if written 15 - 30 years ago when all of their examples and references where fresh, but today this is like reading a first grade book on the subject of project management.

It is as if the authors never grasped the CTQS triangle, and such of project management. The 5 metrics are so obvious and unmeasureable that it is an exercise in no-kidding, now what.

The continual references to the third rock from the sun and such is just page filler.

A nice title but no beef here (to have a pharase from the time the authors seem to still be living in).

I suggest you find more meaningful books.
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