Insights from the last IWSM Mensura conference. The Future of IT Cost Estimations

Nov, 01, 2019 | Read 3 min.

One of the most important events, at a European level, when it comes to IT and Business management, is the IWSM Mensura conference. This year the conference took place in Haarlem, the Netherlands 7-9 of October and it held several companies and speakers from all over the world, representing academia, the public and the private sector.

The main topic of the conference was “The Future of IT Cost Estimation”, and the program was divided in three different tracks (Industry presentations, research presentations and workshops). The event also marked the 30th anniversary of NESMA (Netherlands Software Metrics Association).

Measuring IT performance

Out of the Industry presentations we were able to learn some different approaches as to how to measure the IT performance of your organization. One of them was “Determining IT team performance” by Jeppe Hedaa, which focused on an innovative approach on how to measure the IT development teams and their performance, advocating that we should consider the “people” factor and not just the process. Jeppe, proposed a new metric called “Nucleons” that summarizes the performance of each team or individual, in an effort to standardise how much “horsepower” (so to speak) you are managing within your IT department.

Function Points in Agile environments

We also had the chance to listen to a couple of real-life stories from companies that adopted the use of functional metrics to measure and control their software delivery process.

The first of them, Glencore Agriculture, focused on how to perform an Output-based contract in an Agile environment based on functional metrics, showing the benefits of implementing a model based on price per Function Point.

They also presented a way to measure the non-functional parts of their projects by using what they called “Virtual Function Points”, a clever way that allows for measurement of all the scope of the project. In the second presentation, Aravind Gundurao explained their 15 months Journey to implement a functional size metric at Eurofins, their main goal was to align Business and IT, without causing a major disruption, by finding a common unit of measure that was consistent across the whole organization. And they did that by performing an internal study and benchmarking, that led them to find a metric that will help them achieve their objective in the near future.

Both Glencore Agriculture and Eurofins use agile methodologies for their development process, which goes to show how you can benefit from implementing sizing metrics within those environments. 

Managing information

Several other presentations focused in the importance of information management related to cost estimations.

We observed how the market is trending towards the use of standardised Apps that asses and manage the cost of software development projects. The idea behind those tools is to increase and centralise the access to information so that both Business and IT (and everyone else involved in the development process for that matter) can access that relevant information to improve the decision-making process and the visibility of the estimations.

Finally, we also had the chance to attend a few workshops, which goal was to present several modules related to software cost estimation, that will be the foundation for the sCEBoK certification (Certified Software Cost Estimator). The aim of the certification is to create a standard certification for the profession of Software cost estimator. A myriad of topics were presented such as standard estimation methods, benchmarking or budget processing. 

Closing the main 5 Gaps between Business and IT

Our talk focused on how to produce better IT Cost estimation by closing the different gaps mentioned above (people, methodology and information) between business and IT, and we showed several examples on how Quanter can help you just do that.

Quanter closes the people gap by enabling the communication between business and IT, and we do that by creating a standardised language that everyone can understand and rely on when it comes to software project estimations. Quanter also facilitates project estimations independently of the methodology or framework that you work with, we can help you estimate your backlog and user stories or for instance we can help you estimate the total effort expected for a waterfall project. Last but not least, we close the information gap by providing precise and clear information about your project estimations, and we provide added value by giving you extra capabilities, such as the possibility of comparing your estimations with the market values, providing information about the productivity of your project compared to your portfolio of projects, or enabling the comparison of your different software providers with the market.

We would like to finish by thanking the event organizers and everyone that came to visit our booth to learn more about Quanter; specially to those that stayed for a detailed demo of the tool, we look forward to seeing you all again shortly!

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