Sunday, May 29, 2005

Identifying Best Practices

Highlights from CrossTalk June 2005, Identifying Your Organisation's Best Practices.

The desire to identify best practices is driven by business goals and objectives: customer satisfaction, reduced time to market, decreased cost, better product quality, minimized defects delivered, improved performance.

The organisational strategy to achieve these goals are often centered on quick fix approaches, which are usually not effective:
  • cost reduction: decide to outsource software development to offshore provider
  • time to market: deliver fewer features
  • defect minimizations: often ignored
The key to successful performance management is performance measurement. Provide quantitative evidence that those goals and objectives have been achieved.

A basic measurement model from Practical Software and Systems Measurement suggests that an organisation follows three steps:
  • identify the needs of the organisation
  • select measures
  • integrate the measurement into the software development process
The basic measurement model includes the collection and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative elements:
  • quantitative elements: size, effort, duration, defects
  • qualitative elements: data points used to evaluate levels of competency regarding process, methods, skills, automation, technology, and management practices.
The qualitative data identify the attributes that contribute to high or low yields of performance. The baseline values are compiled from a selection of measured projects. Results vary significantly. The qualitative data give the opportunity to determine why certain projects have outperformed others.

The article concludes with 3 case studies with some remarkable results: projects with productivity 3 times higher than industry average and 5 times less defects. Impact of CMM level 3 practices: productivity increase 132%, time-to-market reduced by 50%, cost reduction by 40%, defect density reduced by 75%.

A challenge with this approach is the reliability and accuracy of the metrics. If people or organisations feel threadened by the measurement system they will most probably not report the correct figures. It is essential to use the measurements only for improvement activities and not for evaluating and punishing individuals and teams, and to communicate this clearly. Measurements and CMM are a means to reach goals, not goals themselves.


Anonymous my life goals said...

I like to leave a little “wisdom” to jolt your into thinking about goals you may have set over the past few years, months and days, after a good blog read.

Not earth shattering by any means, and you have read this before, but have you
actually practiced it lately?

You know – gnitteS laoG

Jot down a few new ones today or visit a few old ones that would make you a better person, better business person or a better provider.

I dare you!

Today’s tidbit…

There is a difference in setting your goals and setting them effectively. Anyone can set a goal, but doing it effectively means that it will actually get done.

There are so many things that you can do to better your life, but if you don't know how to go about it you are stuck.

The following guidelines will help you to set effective goals and help you manage your time in an efficient manner that will cause those goals to become reality.

State each goal as a positive statement

Express your goals in a positive way. That is a key component to setting goals that you can attain.

How often have you been excited to accomplish a goal that didn't even sound good when you brought it up? If you are not comfortable or happy with the goals that you have set, the likelihood of you succeeding is pretty low.

If you want to express your goals in a positive way, you simply have to first think of a goal that puts a smile on your face when you imagine it completed. Why would you want to set a goal that made you frown, cringe or cry?

When you are beginning to set your goals it helps when you are talking about them to others in a manner that states your actions as positives because it will have others seeing it as a positive as well.

That will garner you a great deal more support. In the end, don't we all need a little support when we are trying to do something positive in our lives?

Be precise

Set a precise goal that includes starting dates, times and amounts so that you can properly measure your achievement.

If you do this, you will know exactly when you have achieved the goal, and can take complete satisfaction from having achieved it.

Being precise in setting your goals is no more than setting them with exact details. It is easier this way because then you can follow a step-by-step format. That's all there is to it.

Set priorities

When you have several goals, give each a specific priority. This helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed by too many goals, and helps to direct your attention to the most important ones and follow each in succession. Setting priorities will force you into the step-by-step format above.

By doing the most important first and moving to the least important in succession, you are enabling each task to be easier than the last. It causes the accomplishment of each task to get easier and easier which will encourage you to complete your goal.

There’s a few more “tidbits” for you at effective goals

Enjoy your day – And have a GREAT one!

Thursday, October 27, 2005 11:37:00 PM  

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