Visit Us at the CMMI Institute Conference EMEA


We're excited to announce that DCG-SMS will attend Unicom's co-located series of events on 26-27 March at the NOVOTEL London West.

The event includes the CMMI Institute Conference EMEA, as well as the DevOps Summit and the Application Lifestyle Management (ALM) conference. As a bonus of the co-location, attendees are free to attend any of the sessions across the three events, and the exhibition space will be open to all attendees.

We'll be exhibiting - so please stop by our booth and say hi! We'd be happy to tell you more about our mission at DCG-SMS, to improve our clients' bottom lines via quantifiable changes in their development - as well as how we can achieve this for your organisation!

Don't stop there! Attend a presenation by DCG's Tom Cagley, Vice President of Consulting, at the CMMI conference. On Friday, 27 March at 11:00 GMT, Tom will present on Agile risk management. He will discuss how to combine Agile and CMMI-based risk management techniques to increase the robustness of an Agile implementation without adding overhead and while mitigating risk.

Interested in more details about the conference? Everything you need is here.

More information about our CMMI solutions and services are available here.

Questions? Stop by our booth and ask them in person! If you can't make it, please send an email and I will reply as soon as possible.

Alan Cameron
DCG-SMS Managing Director

Written by Alan Cameron at 05:00
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DCG-SMS Accepted as a G-Cloud 6 Supplier

CCS_2935_Supplier _AW_72dpi

Great news for DCG-SMS! We've been accepted as a supplier for the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) G-Cloud framework, G-Cloud 6.

We're joining as a supplier of Specialist Cloud Services (SCS), which help to manage laaS, PaaS or SaaS services. Through G-Cloud 6, we are offering the following EU-compliant services:

  • Agile JumpStart
  • Project Triage
  • Estimation on Demand
  • Project Estimation and Planning
  • Vendor Estimate Validation

The G-Cloud format was created in order to make it easier for suppliers to sell their services and for buyers to find services that best fit their needs. In order to join, suppliers are carefully evaluated by the CCS.

Public sector buyers are now able to commission services from G-Cloud 6 suppliers, including DCG-SMS, via the Digital Marketplace. More information about DCG-SMS’ suite of services is available here.

We are looking forward to working with more public organisations in the United Kingdom!


Alan Cameron
DCG-SMS, Managing Director

Written by Alan Cameron at 05:00
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What's Your Most Important Software Risk?

AlanThroughout the nearly 30 years I have been in IT, risk management has been talked about and shown to be vital; yet, I think that the corporate focus follows the money too much.

Whether it’s client CIOs or supplier account managers, when I suggest that they should focus on software development risk, I get patronising comments about focussing on a less important part of clients’ spend. Typically I hear that 90% of software spend is on making sure that the current services are kept alive and functioning, so risk in software development is not important. After all, it doesn’t threaten the existence of the company to-day.

Existentially that assertion is not true. Just to-day I read about two UK supermarkets struggling to cope with the volume of orders, their websites crashing as a result. Ignoring the 10% is ignoring what is effectively the activity that primes the business pump.

My view is that such failures can arise when corners are cut in software development. For example, stress testing is not carried out sufficiently and, when loads exceed the system capacity, trouble ensues. Poor risk management, or worse, ignoring risks that can’t be managed because there’s not much money at stake, contributes to these issues.

Agile is our mantra to-day, and it’s one I subscribe to in a big way. It enables fast business change so clients are able to keep ahead of the competition by introducing unique services as differentiators.  The speed to change also increases the risk of failure. Risk management of that 10% of your service spend becomes more, not less, important.

Strategic, Agile risk management must focus on the front-end of the service flow – development. Assessing risk management is a key part of our Project Triage Solution, where we aim to assist you from commissioning to delivery by giving you an independent assessment of the state of your project.

Ignore that 10% at your peril. 

Here’s to a disaster free 2015.

Alan Cameron
DCG-SMS Managing Director

Written by Alan Cameron at 05:00
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DCG Celebrates 20 Years!

Est. 1994

Big news today! This month marks DCG’s 20th anniversary! That’s right, since 1994 we’ve established our reputation as one of the premier providers of software development consulting services.

DCG was launched by founders David Garmus and David Herron, two of the industry’s acknowledged authorities in the field of sizing, measurement and estimation of software application development and maintenance. In 2006, Mike Harris bought the company, shaping DCG into an international, full-service software consulting firm. In 2012, DCG acquired SMS Exemplar Group, now trading in the UK under the name DCG-SMS, serving clients worldwide.

We’re just kicking off the celebration this month. To start, we’re offering 1994 pricing for 20 hours of consulting for engagements carried out in 2014. Additional details are available here.

We’ve also planned a series of blog posts from our founders and members of our management team. Throughout the year they will each provide their thoughts on how the industry has changed in the past 20 years, insight gained in that period of time and what they see for the future.

Stay tuned to find out what else we have planned! We’re excited to celebrate this milestone – and hopefully many more!

To learn more about the promotional offer pricing – or to book consulting work, contact Mike Harris, DCG President, at 610-644-2856 or and mention this promotion.

Written by Default at 05:00
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Beyond Benchmarks 101

I usually find that having a benchmark process is treated much too simplistically.  Suppliers are often forced to sign up to black and white productivity targets by naïve, and sometimes overly aggressive, clients.  A project is delivered and the productivity is measured in terms of cost or effort per output – and then the fighting starts.

The thing is, life is complicated and single data points don’t tell a complete story.

Never Let the Facts Get in the Way of a Good Story

In today’s news-driven, overly simplistic world, single data points are thought to be representative of trends, or worse, are given without context. In late 2013, there was a spate of fatalities amongst cyclists in London – about seven in a month – when in 2012, there were 14 in total. Cue sensation in the press and questions about the safety of cycling by politicians. 

Cooler heads started to dissect the results, and sad though this spate was, the annual rate in 2013 was exactly the same as 2012, while cycle journeys are increasing in London by more than 20 percent annually.  Sure, the causes of these fatalities needs to be analysed and lessons learned, but there is no need to panic.

In other words, hot spots do happen in random distributions, and hot spots don’t indicate long-term trends.

I really like the approach taken by the BBC programme, “More or Less.” There, professional statisticians dissect news stories and put the results in proper context – do go and download the podcasts. It is so refreshing to listen to, and it is the approach I have had to fight for throughout my career in software processes.

Using the Facts to Shape Thinking

But, back to software, let me give you an example of intelligent use of data.

We have a client who is keen to reduce software production costs – which client isn’t, right? Some time ago, this client had asked us, “Where will the next big savings come from?” Our response was, “Collect the data and we can discuss it with you.”

Our preliminary work focused on assessing the accuracy of estimates and measuring the results against those estimates.

As one might expect, the experienced teams were pretty good at estimating and when benchmarked, the balance between defined speed of delivery and cost was close to industry average.

Then we started to assess the data. Speed of delivery was faster than optimal for the size of delivery, a good thing on some eyes, but the cost per function point was higher because the team size had to be higher to create the software in the time.

Comparison of size of completed projects, delivered over a year, against industry trends indicated that two options were open – reduce scope or increase duration. Reducing scope by 25 percent from 200fp to 150fp suggests that savings of up to 30 percent in cost per function point were available. Increasing the development part of the lifecycle by three weeks indicates that savings of up to a startling 60 percent were available. 

The facts tell a good story and the reaction when we presented the results was truly wonderful to see. 

This is preliminary work, and life will get in the way, but it shows that intelligent use of benchmarks can be a positive experience for all concerned. Try it, it works.


Alan Cameron
Managing Director, DCG-SMS

Written by Alan Cameron at 04:00
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"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
- Mike Harris, DCG Owner

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