SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Roberto Medrano, Sean Houghton, Glenn Rossman, Ignacio M. Llorente

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Early Results of Agile Munich Study Announced, As QSM Associates Launches Version 2.0 of Research

European software teams following the Agile methodology achieved lower-cost results than the worldwide benchmark, according to early results in a QSM Associates study. Announced at the OOP 2014 conference in Munich last week, the ongoing study analyzes software development practices of Munich and central Europe, comparing that region’s experience with both worldwide results and a landmark study in Columbus, Ohio.

Both the Columbus and Munich studies, being conducted by software productivity researchers QSM Associates, bode well for adopters of Agile software development. In both of these studies, Agile software projects were delivered sooner than with the Waterfall or other programming approaches, according to Michael Mah, managing director of QSM Associates.

The core of the study initially represented metro Munich, and the scope was expanded to central Europe, reflecting the widespread attendance at the OOP 2013 conference, where the study was initiated. Mah depicted the early results from this study as “a snapshot in time,” which will prove to be an invaluable reference as “Agile Munich Version 2.0,” which was launched at OOP 2014, brings increased participation.

“The projects reported in Europe were lower cost, but the Columbus experience –characterized by larger teams-- produced code with fewer bugs, and faster." One artifact that differed between Europe and Columbus was the practice of Test Driven Development, which was more prominent in Columbus, added Mah, at his keynote presentation at OOP.

The survey shows that concepts embraced by Agile deliver remarkable results in areas of compressing a schedule and reducing defects. Some of these approaches include acceptance-test-driven development (TDD), pair programming, and co-location, Mah said. But even participants that had not adopted all of these techniques achieved better-than-average results compared to the global database of completed software projects.

“Patterns are continuously changing, and today's results might be very different in another year’s time,” said Mah. “That’s one reason why this year’s benchmark will be so valuable, enabling us to track these trends with a solid foundation of both regional and global experience.”

The study allows participants to objectively benchmark an organization's performance to create an initial productivity baseline. This enables companies to identify strategic directions and goals, and to focus their improvement efforts with optimal efficiency. When presented by region, survey participants are able to see their own results contrasted with the industry at large; the central Europe community compared its regional results in the aggregate with both Columbus and worldwide data.

Mah’s first public revelation on Agile was in 2004 at his keynote session at the Better Software Conference West. Since then, QSM Associates has been collecting data and analyzing patterns on schedules, quality, effort, and productivity. Today, Agile patterns are published in the SLIM database.

QSM Associates is accepting ongoing enrollments for companies that want to join the study or to launch one in their region. Since sharing the Columbus results at the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference in Portland last Fall, and then the NYSPIN meeting, efforts are under way for similar Agile studies on both coasts of the U.S. and elsewhere.

QSM Associates has more than 30 years experience in helping Fortune 500 companies, and has access to the largest benchmarking database, comprising more than 12,000 projects, and believed to be the world's largest and most complete benchmarking database. The company, an affiliate of QSM, Inc., uses state-of-the-art measurement and estimation tools that are part of the QSM SLIM software lifecycle management suite.

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 [email protected].

Michael Mah (Twitter: @MichaelCMah), Managing Partner is also the Benchmark Practice Director at the Cutter Consortium, a Boston-area IT think-tank. Along with Microsoft, Oracle, and Salesforce.com, QSMA is a Rally Software Strategic Partner.

QSM and SLIM are registered trademarks of Quantitative Software Management, which is headquartered in McLean, VA with partner offices and affiliates throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.

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