QSM Associates today announced the immediate availability of SLIM Suite 8.0, the market-leading software lifecycle management solution from QSM, Inc. Featuring new capabilities –many of which are aimed at the burgeoning Agile software development market– as well as enhanced integration with IBM’s Rational Portfolio Manager, and updated project productivity trends information, SLIM 8.0 advances the state of the art in software management and planning. The SLIM interface, already designed to allow rapid, accurate ease-of-use, has also been streamlined and improved as a result of user feedback.

QSM Associates is a provider of software tools, executive coaching, and consulting services that enable organizations to estimate, track, and benchmark their software development projects, be they Agile, waterfall, in-house, offshore/multi-shore or ERP/package implementation.

Commercial and government enterprises worldwide have used SLIM in three critical stages:
•    estimating the cost and schedule for new projects;
•    benchmarking completed projects against others; and
•    measuring and controlling “in-flight” projects to prevent overruns.

SLIM comprises five elements, which can be used individually or in the integrated suite: SLIM-Control, SLIM-Estimate, SLIM-DataManager, SLIM-Metrics, and SLIM-MasterPlan.

A major facet to the new SLIM 8.0 Suite is the updated database of completed projects, now numbering more than 10,000, with hundreds of projects (including many new Agile projects) added annually. These trendlines, representing QSM’s aggregate collected project data, enable organizations to assess their own productivity against industry norms. Users can now create and follow their own trendlines with a single mouse-click, obviating the manual entry of project data, a capability that is not available in any other software management solution.

SLIM has also grown in its alignment with Agile techniques, flexible sizing, Agile-specific templates, and “in-flight” forecasting using Agile velocity to automatically create “GPS navigation”-style forecasts to accurately predict project outcomes.

“The Agile-specific framework is the result of requests from IT and engineering organizations across all industries. Customers who are just starting to ‘get Agile’ are finding that SLIM can apply an unprecedented level of rigor, accuracy and predictability to both the art and science of software development metrics,” said Michael Mah, Managing Partner of QSM Associates, of Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

“Some of these methods actually pre-date Agile, and are now being applied to manage Agile projects. QSM originally developed these techniques to take velocity measures iteration-by-iteration, before SCRUM and XP were defined,” he added.

Other new or improved capabilities in SLIM 8.0 include:
• Customized calculation of productivity in SLIM Estimate;
• Publish-to-the-Web, and easier use of SLIM with Microsoft Office; and
• Increased scalability and performance enhancements in SLIM MasterPlan, especially important to portfolio and program managers who oversee multiple projects with critical interdependencies.

All SLIM Suite elements are compatible with Microsoft’s Access open architecture, and allow seamless interfaces to any ODBC-compliant tool. And, all can export to and import from the latest version of MS Project, including multi-level Work Breakdown Structure [WBS] files.

Information from independent tools, in such areas as requirements definition, design, configuration management and defect tracking, is critical to the world-class project management delivered by this newest version of the SLIM Suite. With its strong integration capabilities, SLIM delivers unparalleled project planning and management.

Backward-compatible with previous versions, SLIM Suite 8.0 is available now from the network of QSM offices worldwide. A site license for the SLIM 8.0 Suite starts at less than $700 per user per month.