Projects and programs aim to support the achievement of competitive advantage, improve efficiencies and underpin innovation. Unfortunately project costs often outweigh the benefits that they bring and too frequently these benefits are realised later than promised, if at all. This is the challenge faced by programme directors, CIOs and sponsors of such projects.
To add to this challenge, requirements are often ill defined and in flux and business deadline unrealistic. The key questions that need to be answered include:
- Are we over promising?
- Do we have the capability and capacity to achieve the objectives within the time-frame?
- Should our plans be reshaped? • Do we require more budget?
- Can our suppliers (either in-house or extarnal) demonstrate a track record of delivery that will give us the confidence to accept their forcasts?
QuantiMetrics provides a practical and fact-based due-diligence service aimed at answering these questions and helping our clients to commit to realistic forecasts or cost and schedule. It identifies probability of successful delivery against time, budget and quality targets and proposes alternative scenarios with higher likelihoods of success.
Using data from thousand of projects, we are able to provide a realistic framework of the scheduling, planning, costs and risks associated with almost any project. Our analysis, based on real world information, helps our clients to negotiate with vendors who have put forward either optimistic or exaggerated bids.
The starting point of our due-diligence studies is to objectively ‘size’ the amount of software requested or to be procured, and relate this to the cost of the development or procurement.
The sizing of software is based on the business-functional capabilities of the software, such as the types and complexity of the business transactions the software is designed to process, and the richness or complexity of the data that it maintains and the management information it provides.
Applications, including software-packages and changes or enhancements to them, can be measured. Components of applications can also be measured; this is useful when the components of an application operate on different computing platforms. And, when related to costs or resources used, such size measures can be used to measure the productivity of projects that deliver them, irrespective of the methods and technologies they use.
Function Point Analysis (FPA) stands out as a well developed, respected and widely used international standard. FPA is a sizing method that can be applied with reasonable accuracy, even at the requirements stage of a project, can be updated as the lifecycle progresses. FPA expresses the amount of functionality to be delivered to the business and is independent of the technology used to develop the software. FPA is a measurement tool used for sizing a project in a manner independent of technology.
Function point analysis has the ability to objectively size applications and projects, allowing for improved estimating and improved project management. Utilising FPA the project manager has the ability to benchmark projects, legacy application support and to evaluate supplier proposals and performance ISO/IEC 20926:2009 specifies the set of definitions,rules and steps for applying FPA.
Once we’ve sized the specification, our approach to validating the project timeline and cost includes benchmark the plans against our local and international project databases. The benchmark sizing can be used to ensure that size / complexity of projects match the teams estimates for similar such initiatives.
QuantiMetrics then confirm whether the proposed project warrants the associated schedule and cost estimates and comments on the risk inherent in the plans. In addition, benchmarking can help determine whether the effort or fees is justified by the type and environment of the engagement (for example, how much more should a particular project cost if the deadline is 25% more aggressive than the average, or if there was 30% churn in requirements).
Our clients have enjoyed the benefits of this service in as short as 48 hours and often use our analystics to support board decisions.