It has been eight years since Quantitative Software Management (QSM) released its Software Almanac, and now the company is putting out an updated version that includes a new section on agile development.
The Software Almanac is a compilation of QSM’s years of research and historical data about software projects designed to provide customers with an understanding of what is going on in the IT industry, how they can adopt tools, and what concepts are working or not working, according to Doug Putnam, co-CEO of QSM.
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“The almanac provides some quantitative data and some observation from that data that people are always sort of clamoring for,” he said. “In general, it is a lot of really good industry information that most people aren’t going to have available to them anywhere else.”
One of the newest sections in the 2014 version of the Software Almanac is a section on agile.
“In 2006, we were just starting to hear about agile, but we didn’t have any completed projects or enough history that we could talk authoritatively about what we were seeing,” Putnam said. “Now we are at the position where we do have enough of that history and we can talk, at least with a reasonably decent sample of projects, about what we are seeing in the agile world.”
The almanac provides users with an understanding of how to scale small projects to large enterprises, some difficulties organizations have faced with agile, and what the typical agile project looks like. There also are demographics on small, medium and large projects in order to give users a sense of how long a project takes and how much effort is needed for a certain team size.
“Anyone that is sort of moving to agile as a new endeavor can get a sense for what the learning curve is that they are up against,” Putnam said.
In addition, the almanac covers core metrics such as time to market, product quality, functionality, staffing and cost-related items, and planning. The guidance includes a long-term section that looks at how things have changed from a time-to-market standpoint and from a cost-reduction standpoint; how languages have changed in terms of primary languages used for development; how much software is actually being reused versus newly developed software; and how that mix and composition has changed over time, according to Putman.
“The new 2014 version provides a great resource for project managers, decision makers and executive management who can connect our data and research to trend information to see what’s actually happening with IT software projects across several industries,” he said.
The 2014 Software Almanac is available here.