Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Modeling Software Defect Predictions

In this post I will share yet another tool from my PM Toolbox: A simple method any Software Project Manager can use for predicting the likelihood of project completion, based on a model for defect prediction. This tool only scratches the surface of real software engineering defect management, but has nevertheless proved useful in my experience of managing a large software stack. For instance, this tool was borne from my direct experiences as a Development Owner for a large Software Stack for STB Middleware that comprised of more than eighty (80) software components, where each component was independently owned and subject to specific defect & software code quality requirements. I needed a tool to help me predict when the software was likely to be ready for launch based on the health of the open defects; as well as use it as evidence to motivate to senior management to implement recovery scenarios. It was quite useful (and relatively accurate within acceptable tolerances) as it offered perspective of a reality that more often than not, people underestimate the work required to get defects under control, the need for predicting project completion dates based of defect resolution rates, depending on the maturity of the team is often also misunderstood. 

I created the first instance of this tool back in 2008/2009, the first public version was shared in this post on Effective Defect & Quality Management. Since then, I've upgraded the tool to be more generic, and also significantly cut down on the number of software components. I still use the tool in my ongoing projects, and have recently convinced senior management in my current project to pay heed to defect predictions. 

Friday, 8 February 2013

Risk Management - Generic Risk Register DTV Projects

In this post, I share a generic Risk Register than can be tailored for almost any Digital TV Systems Project, especially projects around Set-Top-Box product development. The register can be used by Program & Project Managers from the customer (Pay TV Operator), vendor (Middleware / EPG / Drivers / CA) or Systems Integrator. It can be tailored to meet the specifics of a project.

You are free to download this tool, use it as a template for your own projects, as long as you retain some attribution to me as the original author. All my work on this site is licenced according to Creative Commons Share-Alike attribution.

Over the past decade of working with Digital TV projects, especially around Set-Top-Box projects, I've come to experience common themes that repeat themselves one project-after-another-after-another. Whilst it is true that no two projects are the same, I do believe that projects will ultimately be exposed to similar risks, issues & opportunities - besides, we can no longer say that Digital TV is a new and emerging field. We've been making Set-Top-Box (STB) hardware & developing STB software for just over two decades now, and as with all manufacturing & development processes, we have probably reached a point where some standard blueprints can be put together, forming templates that can be used to guide such projects going forward.

So it is the aim with this post, to share a Generic Risks Register, that is borne out of my own personal experiences - that I myself use as a template for managing Risk on every new project I embark on.