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To the authors!

 
Mcgill Smith
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Hi,
I would like to know what is the target audience this book applies to within IT development?
What motivated you to write this book ?

Thanks in advance.
 
Ramu Meda
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Does any thing related to j2ee in specific in this book?
 
Arun Rao
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Very interesting title.. I was wondering if this book is technical or more or less like a sales blurb.. what is the base for this book.. i mean what was the consideration while writing this book?
Does this book talk about any specific methodlogy?
 
Jane Cleland-Huang
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Well we wrote the book specifically for developers, project managers, and CXOs who may be interested in seeing software development as a value creating activity. We wanted to show how developers and other types of stakeholders could work together to create more value from their software projects.
It was initially Mark's idea to write the book, and he invited me to coauthor with him because of my work in software development processes. IFM was conceived from Mark's experiences in winning competitive contracts for Sun Microsystems, when he realized that he could differentiate his 'bid' from the others by incorporating incremental delivery. From this initial idea, we developed the Incremental Funding Method.
We have tried to keep this book at the process level rather than define it in terms of a specific platform such as J2EE. The book does however address the idea of Incremental Architecture - but I'll let Mark contribute to this area of the discussion when he comes on line later.
 
Jane Cleland-Huang
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So one more comment in response to Arun. This book is far from a sales blurb! (I'm NOT a sun employee - so this is really important to me!)
We really tried to make the very practical and provide useful techniques that you can really apply on your projects. Our hope was to start a new conversation about the synergy between software development and business - and to provide some real techniques that you can apply.
I think the endorsements on our website at http://www.softwarebynumbers.org and at amazon testify to this.
 
Nicholas Cheung
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Hi Jane,

We really tried to make the very practical and provide useful techniques that you can really apply on your projects. Our hope was to start a new conversation about the synergy between software development and business - and to provide some real techniques that you can apply.

I am more interested in how those techniques are defined (or discovered)? By case study? or pure analysis on existing or previous projects?
How can we really relate the business factors, such as costs (especially those intangible assets), size of the organizations, etc?
I read some articles before, people usually use *scoring method*, however, in fact, this method is very objective. For example, I may think Factor A is very important, so I give it a higher score, but you may not. Thus, how can we compromize this case, or even try asking the acceptance for the management board, if the board has a different standpoint?
Nick
 
Jane Cleland-Huang
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So there are two different types of MMF. MMFs that are tangible are those for which we can define the value in quantitative terms of anticipatate revenue. In these cases we compare the value of the MMFs through calculating their NPV (Net Present Value) as a sum of their discounted cash flow - given a specific position within the development schedule.
I think you are referring to the second type of MMF which is less tangible and for which it is much harder to define its value.
In this case, we really have two primary options. We can attempt to rank them by using some sort of scoring system - which as you point out is rather subjective because of different perspectives, or we can try another technique that tends to be more effective. Its based on a mathematical process called the analytical hierarchical process (AHP) (google it to find a wealth of information). AHP has been shown to reduce subjectivity because it creates redundancy through using a pairwise approach to compare the value of different entities. In our book we have a whole chapter on intangibles in which we explain how to apply a very simplified form of the AHP to assign equivalent values to our intangible MMFs.
 
Benny Yih
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I can see the "relative" ranking of features being pretty straighforward, but how fuzzy are the "net present value" numbers ? Are they calculated as ranges with percentage certainty, or with error bars ? Do they come from market surveys of potential customers, on how much more they would pay for widget X with whistle Z ? 8-)
 
Arun Rao
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Jane,
So what i understand from your posts is that this book is a general book not focused on any technology but addressing implementation of technology to improve the profitability of the business..
does it introduce any new methodology? like XP programming? anyways, i would surely like to read this book..
 
Arun Rao
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Jane -
I posted my earlier post too soon.. i was reading another thread and did understand the similarities and differences between MMF and XP.. Thanks for your input..
 
Jane Cleland-Huang
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Well it is a general method in that in can be applied as a plug-in to XP or RUP etc - but it is more than just general concepts.
IFM involves some process steps that fit in really well into any iterative process such as XP or RUP, and some very specific financial analysis that must occur to optimize the project's value and provide you critical information about the impact of your decisions upon the financial outcome of the project.
 
Valentin Crettaz
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Well we wrote the book specifically for developers, project managers, and CXOs who may be interested in seeing software development as a value creating activity. --Jane Cleland-Huang
And I thank you really much for this It is of paramount importance to demystify software development and show that it brings much added value to the domains it is used in. Software development has too long been considered as an activity that somehow (only) provides support for the real business and not as an added-value activity evolving in parallel to the main business of the company or institution using it. At least, this is how I feel today.
I guess, this is partly due to the fact that software is produced by humans and humans are not perfect. Simple transitivity shows us that software is not perfect. Today, I'm quite sure that high-quality software can only be produced by high-quality people applying high-quality processes. A process is no good if managers don't know how to apply it, or is it?
 
Nicholas Cheung
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By talking about quality, I would like to know, how the value can be added to a development process, if the process using different CMM level?
Of course, the higher the CMM level, the higher the quality of the software, however, the higher cost is required. But we should take a balance or decide to outsource to some software companies that with high CMM level. So, how should we take this balance?
Thus, are there any chapters discussing this issue?
Nick
[ April 28, 2004: Message edited by: Nicholas Cheung ]
 
Jane Cleland-Huang
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Well first I should say that a discussion of CMM was outside the scope of our book. We made the decision to stay really focused on our topic - showing how to optimize the value of the software development project and to see software development as a value creating activity.
However I would hazard to say that I think in the future we may see another key process area added to CMM in recognition of the growing importance people place upon financial management of the software development process. Currently this is not recognized in either CMM or CMMI - and I think this is because as an IT community it is something that we are only just now learning.
A few years ago (ie in the dot com era - we didn't recognize the importance of understanding and managing software development as a value creation activity) - despite early work by people like Barry Boehm on this topic. This is certainly changing. For example the IEEE Computer Society has two of its six Software Issues this year alone dedicated to The ROI in the IT industry and the Business of Software Development. This is a sure indication that people are recognizing the importance of this.
And so... back to my point. I personally think that we will see CMMI embrace financially based software development as a KPA or at least reflect it within some of its KPA areas.
 
Ilja Preuss
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Originally posted by Nicholas Cheung:
Of course, the higher the CMM level, the higher the quality of the software

Ah, I am actually not convinced that this really is the case... :roll:
 
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