QSM Associates is shipping an updated version of the SLIM software lifecycle management solution, which incorporates support for Agile software development methodologies. A product of McLean, Virginia-based QSM, Inc., the new release, SLIM Suite 8.0, addresses development concerns with Agile methodologies, which emphasize iterative approaches working as small teams with business users.
QSM Associates, a Pittsfield, Massachusetts-based affiliate of QSM, Inc., provides benchmarking and project management services that often use SLIM in the process.
SLIM Suite also now includes updated project productivity trends information, based on an updated database of completed projects, now numbering more than 10,000 software projects. These trendlines represent QSM's aggregate collected project data, intended to 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.
Michael Mah, managing director of QSM Associates, tells 5 Minute Briefing about one particular revelation. "With more than 10,000 cases in the projects database, we have discovered one particularly fascinating software development artifact: the biggest impediment to productivity and quality is a disparity in timezones," he relates. "Whether teams are co-located, not co-located - clustered in one location - can have a huge impact. We only suspected that before, now we know for sure. Can companies overcome this handicap? Absolutely, but it's rare."
SLIM Suite also interfaces with IBM's Rational Portfolio Manager, is compatible with Microsoft's Access open architecture, and allows interfaces to any ODBC-compliant tool. All can export to and import from the latest version of MS Project, including multi-level Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) files.
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. Along with Agile methodology support, SLIM supports software development techniques such as flexible sizing and "in-flight" forecasting using Agile velocity to automatically create "GPS navigation"-style forecasts to accurately predict project outcomes.
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