Project Management

Estimation Center of Excellence

Lawrence is Co-CEO, Quantitative Software Management, Inc. in McLean, Virginia.

Why do so many companies fail at software development projects? They haven’t built a foundation of process, people and tools to accurately plan and estimate. An Estimation Center of Excellence is a great starting point to bring these components together and maximize their benefits.

Software projects are like skyscrapers. They both need solid foundational elements — for one, cement; for the other, code — and teams comprised of members with various skillsets. They require planning that allows for some amount of flexibility, along with access to modern tools that workers can use in construction. No contractor worth his or her salt would approach the creation of a complex structure like an office tower without these items already in-hand.

So why are there still so many companies out there that fail to do a comprehensive job of software planning and estimation? Some may argue — incorrectly — that estimation and planning have no place in a company that practices agile development. Others adhere to the fact that they’ve never done it before, so why start now?

Much like a contractor breaking ground on an office tower, software project managers should have a plan in place to ensure that their development processes remain on track, on budget, and on pace to deliver a fully functioning project. This requires a method to proactively manage software …

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"There is more to life than increasing its speed."

- Mahatma Gandhi