Traditional Software Project Management
Value-Up Project Management Practices
Monitoring Project Health
Recognizing the Warning Signs
Common Project Management Issues
What’s Wrong with the “Iron Triangle”
Exercise: Group Discussion: Project
Insufficient and invalid
Poor milestone tracking
Disparate sources of
Difficult to capture project-related metrics
Poor milestone tracking
Poor level of quality
Poor change control
Inefficient team collaboration
Iterative delivery of incremental value is usually foreign to the
The business wants to understand the costs upfront
Incremental funding requires business change
This paradigm doesn’t
work well. It assumes:
The process is running
smoothly to start with
is evenly distributed
There is little variance
in the effectiveness of
There is no spare
Who are the project manager’s customers? Who
are the other stakeholders?
Do we need project managers? Why?
What are the key questions you want your project
managers to be able to answer?
What metrics do you use for assessing whether or
not your projects are on track?
How do you get early warning of problems?
How and when do you capture these metrics?
Value-up Project Management Concepts
What is Variation?
Exercise: The Problem With Prescriptive
The Fallacy of Prescriptive Metrics
Preventing the Distortion
Identifying variation to distinguish in control and
out of control projects
Avoiding prescriptive metrics for monitoring
Number of dev tasks completed on time
Number of bugs found
Number of billable hours
Using team, rather than individual measurement
Using a multidimensional view of metrics to
monitor project health
The concept of natural, common cause variation is
central to value-up approaches
Monitoring variation is traditionally difficult to do
VSTS instrumentation and reporting makes it easier
Common-cause Variation Special-cause Variation
Occurs as a part of the Occurs due to
process something outside of
The presence of the process
variation is predictable
Processes with special-cause variation are out of control
Consider the problems of using the following
Measuring programmer productivity based on lines of
code written per day
Rewarding programmers based on number of bugs
Rewarding the team for creating tests and code to
achieve 90% code coverage
Measuring testers based on number of bugs found
Source: Robert D Austin, Measuring and Managing Performance in Organizations, 1996
Metrics are only approximations of business
Measurements are made one dimension at a time
If you only measure one dimension at a time and
prescribe expected results, behavioral distortion is a
Gathering data from multiple sources at the same time
and correlating this data is normally very difficult
Metrics create disincentives
Keep measurement at the team level
Expect common-cause variation
Reward the team based on deliverable units of
Answering Common Project Management
How Much Work is Left?
How Productive is the Team?
How Much Unplanned Work is There?
What’s the Quality of the s/w We Are
How Effectively are we Finding, Fixing and
How much work is left and when will it be done?
How productive is the team?
How much unplanned work do we have?
What’s the quality of the software we’re
How effectively are we finding, fixing and closing
How many false task and bug resolutions do we
Are we finding and triaging the right bugs?
Recognizing Signs of Underestimation
Recognizing Test Bottlenecks
Recognizing Sloppy Development Practices
Recognizing Scope Creep
Slow progress leading to cuts in
planned work, but not enough cuts
Steady rates of progress,
but slope too shallow
Bulge in resolved.
Insufficient resources or
inadequate quality from
Growing “Fault Feedback
Ratio” – bugs requiring
Falling code coverage
Fewer passing and more
Rising code churn
“Dark Matter” emerging
during the iteration
Planned work is
Traditional software project management has
Benefits of value-up project management
Increased ROI, increased accountability, improved
compliance and increased responsiveness to business
VSTS provides metrics to monitor project health
and answer common project management
VSTS provides reports to help find the warning
signs of out of control projects