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Sharpen the Saw

This may not be the typical blog post you see from DCG. You’ll often find us discussing software trends, challenges, and best practices. These conversations and musings hopefully enable you to produce high quality software, but there’s another important factor in that process – you. Yes, you are an important part of the culture in your workplace, and the work you do necessitates that you’re up to the challenge.

This leads me to today’s blog post, which touches on habit seven from Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: Sharpen the saw. 

I recall the first time I read Covey’s book and the impact the idea of sharpening the saw had on me. It’s such a simple idea. In essence, it means taking time out from the daily grind to work on the most important tool in your toolbox, yourself, so you can be the best you can be when you return to your work.  

Covey suggested that we focus on four areas as we sharpen the saw:

  • Physical: Eating properly, exercising, and getting proper rest
  • Emotional: Nurturing social relationships
  • Mental: Investing in curiosity and a lifetime learning habit
  • Spiritual: Spending time in prayer or meditation

Like any other habit one is trying to cultivate, sharpening the saw begins with making a commitment to focus on the habit and consistently repeating the activity until it becomes ingrained. I think of it as making lifestyle changes, activities that just become integral parts of how you conduct your life, rather than something you must just cross off of your list.

So as the summer wraps up, I encourage everyone to spend some time each day exercising, even if it’s just a 10-minute walk; spend time with family and friends; read for pleasure, but also try to learn something new. And finally, nurture your spirit – 10 minutes of daily prayer or meditation can change your outlook.

If we do these things on a regular basis the saw will stay sharp and we’ll be able to maximize the productivity, quality, and timeliness of our work.


Anthony Manno, III
Vice President, Outsourced Services

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Tony Manno at 05:00
Categories :

Agile Storytelling

Philadelphia IIBA

We recently attended the Philadelphia chapter of the International Institute of Business Analysis' (IIBA) Professional Development Day. The event brought together a collection of speakers from local consulting firms and internationally recognized organizations to discuss topics related to business analysis. 

It was a great event, with about 70 attendees. We always enjoy any chance to connect with others from around the Philadelphia region, where our home office is located, and this event was no exception. Agile, DevOps, mind-mapping and even improvisation were covered in the presentations.

Tom Cagley, our VP of Consulting and Agile Practice Manager, and Tony Manno, our VP of Outsourced Services, co-presented, "Backlog Development by Storytelling."

One of the dilemmas most Agile teams face is how to generate an initial backlog. The best way to do this is by assembling a cross-functional team and using facilitated storytelling to generate a set of scenarios, which are then decomposed into features, epics, and user stories using standard grooming techniques. This process not only provides the team with the information needed to create user stories, but also provides context for what is being built.

Download DCG's presentation on Agile storytelling. Learn how this process works and how it can implemented in your organization - and to what benefit.

Download

 

Written by Default at 05:00

Function Point Q&A

DCG Software Value is a long-time provider of software sizing services. We firmly believe that accurately sizing software is a critical aspect of managing and controlling successful software project delivery. Several sizing methodologies are available, but most often we employ the use of IFPUG function points (from the International Function Point Users Group), which measures functional requirements. This technique is known as Function Point Analysis.

Although this technique is widely and effectively used, we often get a number of questions about it. This blog post attempts to answer some of the most common questions we receive, but if you have others, please leave a comment below and we’ll address it!

What is Function Point Analysis?

Function Point Analysis is a technique for measuring the functionality that is meaningful to a user, independent of technology. Function Point Analysis is governed by IFPUG, which produces the Function Point Counting Practices Manual. This manual is used by all IFPUG-certified Function Point Analysts to conduct function point counts. IFPUG is an ISO standard for software measurement.

Function Point Analysis considers five major components of an application or project: External Inputs, External Outputs, External Inquiries, Internal Logical Files and External Interface Files. The analyst evaluates the complexity of each component and assigns an unadjusted function point value. The analyst then analyzes the application against 14 general system characteristics to further refine the sizing and determine a final adjusted function point count.

Function Point Analysis

When Can Function Point Analysis Be Used?

  • Function Point Analysis can be used at the beginning of projects to derive cost and duration estimates using well defined, industry-proven models and software.
  • Function Point Analysis can be used at the end of the project. Metrics such as productivity, defect density and time-to-market can be created using function point counts. These metrics allow measurement for internal improvement initiatives, contract compliance and comparison to industry benchmarks.                

Can Function Point Analysis Be Used When Evaluating Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) Software?

Function Point Analysis can be used with COTS software projects in several important ways. These include the following:

  1. Functional requirements analysis: Like for any project, once the functional requirements have been defined, a function point count can be done to quantify the size of the application or project. This sizing can then be used for selection of the COTS package or for build-or-buy decisions.
  2. COTS function analysis: A function point count can be done on a prospective COTS package and used for comparison to functional requirements during the evaluation and selection process.
  3. Gap analysis: Comparison of the functionality provided by the COTS package to the requirements yields the gaps that must be filled with custom applications or additional COTS software.
  4. Project estimation: Using function point counts as input to industry-leading estimation applications and models provides accurate estimates for COTS configuration, customization, custom development and testing. This includes estimates for development of COTS extensions and external interfaces. 

Additional Resources:

Looking for more on function points? Check out these publications:

  1. An introduction to Function Point Analysis, including what it is and who would benefit from it. Download.
  2. DCG’s Function Point Analysis services. Download.

If you need more information on enhancement productivity improvement opportunities, or you have questions about function points, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’m always up for a discussion!


Anthony Manno, III
Vice President, Outsourced Services

t.manno@softwarevalue.com

Written by Tony Manno at 05:00

"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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