Return on Software: Maximizing the Return on Your Software Investment

3.35 avg rating
( 20 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780321561497: Return on Software: Maximizing the Return on Your Software Investment

This pioneering book highlights critical, overlooked skills needed by true software professionals. Steve McConnell CEO and Chief Software Engineering Construx Software It's about time someone took this stuff seriously. Steven Mellor Chief Scientist Embedded Systems Division Mentor Graphics Corporation Co-Author of Exploring the Role of Executable UML in Model-Driven Architecture and six other books Despite the fact that engineering economics is considered a core area of any engineering field, virtually no books have been written in the area of software engineering economics. Steve Tockey's Return on Software nicely fills this gaps by providing a comprehensive introduction to software engineering economics accessible both to students and to new software professionals. Donald J. Bagert, Ph.D., P.E.Director of Software Engineering and Professor of Computer Science & Software Engineering Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology The elements of this book are useful not only in making decisions but also in understanding why and how other people and organizations make decisions Shari Lawrence Pfleeger Senior Researcher, RAND Co-author of Security in Computing and eight other software engineering titles This just what the doctor ordered to help software programs solve the problem of how to introduce engineering economics and business decision-making into their curricula.The economics of software development should not only be part of any computing curriculum they are an essential element of recent accreditation and certification recommendations. This book is an accessible and relevant text for any student of software engineering. The style is clear and straightforward and the software examples will be appealing to students and faculty alike. I can't wait to use it in class! Thomas B.Hilburn, Professor Department of Computer and Software Engineering Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Is your organization maximizing the return on its investments of money, time, and personnel? Probably not, because most software professionals don't know how to consider the business aspects of their software decisions. Most don't even know that it's important to do so. Business consequences should play a critical role in all software technical choices--from choosing which projects to do, selecting software development processes, choosing algorithms and data structures, all the way to determining how much testing is enough.Return on Software: Maximizing the Return on Your Software Investment is about making choices: software technical choices in a business context. It helps software professionals appreciate the business consequences of the decisions they make. This primer will prove a valuable reference for making the important decisions the typical software organization faces both today and down the road. Inside, you'll learn how to: * Estimate how much each proposed software technical decision will cost, and how much it will return.* Weigh the time frames for a software decision's costs and benefits against each other to reveal when there might be a more important factor than schedule. *Attach a value to quality and produce a rational answer to the question, How much testing is enough? * Account for risk and uncertainty in software technical decisions, such as when considering a new technology. * Communicate your decisions in a way that speaks to the all-important bottom line. Each chapter contains a set of self-study questions designed to help you apply the featured concepts and techniques.An enhanced online index allows you to quickly and easily search the entire text for specific topics.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Steve Tockey is the principal consultant at Construx Software, where he consults on active development projects and teaches software requirements, design, quality, and software project management. He has been in the software industry since 1977, and has worked on applications ranging from radiation monitoring equipment to business systems to automated test equipment for commercial airliners.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Preface

There shouldn't be any doubt in anybody's mind that there's a lot of software around, with more being developed every day. Some software is being developed just for fun. For some people developing software is a hobby. Some software is being developed for education: People are studying to be professional programmers, analysts, project managers, and so on, and they need to develop software as part of their education. Some even say that their software is artistic. But let's face it, the vast majority of the software on the planet was created for a purpose: a business purpose. To put it bluntly, the software is there so that somebody can make money.

And even though making money was the software's intended purpose, you'll see in Chapter 1 that software doesn't always live up to that purpose. A lot of software has been written that probably shouldn't have been written in the first place. And a lot of good technology has been put into building the right software, but building it the wrong way so the software ends up never achieving its business goals. Software projects can easily end up costing more money than the resulting product ever brings back in. Financially, many organizations would have been better off never starting some software projects.

What Is This Book About?

This book is about software economics. Two quotes from Leon Levy Levy87 summarize the book:

Software economics has often been misconceived as the means of estimating the cost of programming projects. But economics is primarily a science of choice, and software economics should provide methods and models for analyzing the choices that software projects must make.

and

In any software project there is always a balance between short-term and long-term concerns . . . economic methods can help us make enlightened choices.

This book is about making choices: making software choices in a business context.

Software professionals are faced with choices every day. Some choices are obviously important, such as "Should we even do the Alpha project?", "How much testing is enough?", "Should the Omega project use the Rational Unified Process Kruchten00 or would eXtreme Programming Beck00 Jeffries01 or one of the other Agile Cockburn02 methods be better?", and so on. Other choices may appear to be relatively innocuous, such as "What algorithm should we use in module Gamma?", "Should the Sigma data structure be a linked list or an array?", and so on. However, even apparently innocuous choices can have a noticeable effect on the organization's finances. At a minimum, a poor choice on something as seemingly insignificant as an algorithm or data structure could lead to inadequate performance, low maintainability, or defects and lead to unnecessary downstream maintenance.

If you are a practicing software professional, stop for a moment and think about how choices are usually made today. Does the typical software professional

  • Consider more than just a single possible technical solution?

  • Ask how much each of those possible solutions will cost?

  • Ask how much (or even if) those possible solutions will generate income or reduce the operating expenses for the organization?

  • Care what the time frame for the costs and benefits might be?

It's been my experience over more than 25 years in this industry that most software professionals not only don't know how to make financially responsible technical choices, they don't even know that economics should be a factor in their decisions.

Who Is This Book For?

This book is for practicing software professionals and for people on their way to becoming software professionals. By software professional, I don't mean just programmers. I intentionally include software quality assurance/quality control (SQA/QC) professionals as well as project managers, product managers, and program managers. In fact, the book is written for anyone in the software industry who is (or will be) involved in significant technical and managerial decisions. When you get right down to it, eventually that's pretty much everybody in the industry.

Will Reading This Book Make Me a Better Programmer, Designer, Manager, SQA Person . . .?

In one sense, no it won't. This book won't necessarily help a software developer identify new and clever solutions to technical problems. It won't necessarily help a project manager plan or control software projects any better than before. It won't necessarily help a product manager identify new "killer" features to launch into the marketplace. It won't necessarily help a tester come up with more effective test cases nor will it show an SQA person different techniques for finding or preventing software defects in the first place.

On the other hand, this book will help you make better decisions. When you're faced with choosing between some X, Y, or Z, you'll have a much better idea of how to go about making the choice. And later, if someone asks you why you chose the way you did, you'll be able to explain it in specific, business-relevant terms.

I could have done X, Y, or Z. I chose Y because it gives us the best return on our investment. Here, let me show you . . ..

In addition to helping you become a better professional, these very same concepts and techniques can be used in your own personal finances. How do you decide if it's better to lease a car or buy it? How do you decide between one house loan with higher closing costs and a lower interest rate and another loan with lower closing costs and a higher interest rate? This book gives you the tools to do that and more. For instance, planning a retirement is a self-study question at the end of Chapter 13.

I'm Not the One Who Makes the Big Decisions, Why Does This Apply to Me?

Maybe you don't make the big decisions: which projects to do, what technologies to use, when delivery dates need to be, and so on. Maybe those decisions are made at levels well above your control. But you must at least be making a lot of little decisions. Decisions such as what kind of algorithm to use in this routine, or what kind of data structure to use in that one. Or, which set of test cases is better. Although these may not be the heavy-hitter decisions, they still affect the organization's bottom line. The wrong algorithms, the wrong data structures, the wrong set of test cases—these are all things that can have a noticeable effect over the long haul.

Even though you may not be making the big decisions, chances are that the ultimate decision makers are going to be basing their decision on input from technical people. Knowing the concepts and techniques of business decisions, you'll know exactly what kinds of input to be giving to the ultimate decision makers. Providing a business- relevant argument that supports your technical ideas can help convince the decision makers why your recommendations should be chosen. Being familiar with the methods and techniques in this book may also help you better understand and appreciate the decisions that are made at those higher levels.

Another way to look at it, however, is to rephrase the question. Maybe you don't make the big decisions today. But what about a few years down the road? Maybe by then you will be in a position to be making substantial decisions. It would be better for you to get practice with the concepts and techniques now and have a few years of experience under your belt rather than be put into the position with no knowledge of how the big decisions should be made. On the other hand, if you don't know how to approach making big decisions—by practicing and showing competence in how you make smaller decisions—what are the chances that you'd be promoted in the first place?

Why Would Anyone Bother When Everybody Knows That Schedule Is King?

This question can be answered by thinking in terms of the "time value" of the software product. How much more income could be generated (or costs could be avoided) if a software solution to some problem were available sooner? The time value of the software is essentially that income or cost difference. If a new online order processing system could save a company $50,000 per month, that's its time value: $50,000 for every month sooner the solution is delivered. Would it be wise to spend $100,000 on some tool or technology that would help deliver a solution six months earlier than otherwise? Sure, the organization would be saving about $200,000 in the deal. But what if that tool or technology were able to help deliver the software only one month earlier. Would it still make sense? Probably not, the organization would be spending $100,000 to save $50,000. Again, this is a book about helping you make business-wise choices on software projects. Schedule may very well be king, but sometimes that king isn't as all-important as people think he is.

Won't Paying Attention to Economics Just Reduce Quality?

This question is similar to the last one. This time, think about the cost of poor quality. What kind of damage could a defective software product cause? Would it cause users to lose work? Would it cause them to lose data? Would it cause them to lose their customers? If it came down to a product liability suit, how much might the jury award to the victims? Software product liability suits have already happened. Suppose, for sake of argument, an organization could be exposed to a $100,000 liability if a certain kind of defect were in their software product. Should they be willing to spend $5000 to have a high d...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Tockey, Steve
Published by Prentice Hall
ISBN 10: 032156149X ISBN 13: 9780321561497
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Prentice Hall. Book Condition: New. Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 032156149X

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 42.28
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Steve Tockey
Published by Pearson Education (US), United States (2008)
ISBN 10: 032156149X ISBN 13: 9780321561497
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository US
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Pearson Education (US), United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This pioneering book highlights critical, overlooked skills needed by true software professionals. Steve McConnell CEO and Chief Software Engineering Construx Software It s about time someone took this stuff seriously. Steven Mellor Chief Scientist Embedded Systems Division Mentor Graphics Corporation Co-Author of Exploring the Role of Executable UML in Model-Driven Architecture and six other books Despite the fact that engineering economics is considered a core area of any engineering field, virtually no books have been written in the area of software engineering economics. Steve Tockey s Return on Software nicely fills this gaps by providing a comprehensive introduction to software engineering economics accessible both to students and to new software professionals. Donald J. Bagert, Ph.D., P.E.Director of Software Engineering and Professor of Computer Science Software Engineering Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology The elements of this book are useful not only in making decisions but also in understanding why and how other people and organizations make decisions Shari Lawrence Pfleeger Senior Researcher, RAND Co-author of Security in Computing and eight other software engineering titles This just what the doctor ordered to help software programs solve the problem of how to introduce engineering economics and business decision-making into their curricula. The economics of software development should not only be part of any computing curriculum they are an essential element of recent accreditation and certification recommendations. This book is an accessible and relevant text for any student of software engineering. The style is clear and straightforward and the software examples will be appealing to students and faculty alike. I can t wait to use it in class! Thomas B.Hilburn, Professor Department of Computer and Software Engineering Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Is your organization maximizing the return on its investments of money, time, and personnel? Probably not, because most software professionals don t know how to consider the business aspects of their software decisions. Most don t even know that it s important to do so. Business consequences should play a critical role in all software technical choices--from choosing which projects to do, selecting software development processes, choosing algorithms and data structures, all the way to determining how much testing is enough. Return on Software: Maximizing the Return on Your Software Investment is about making choices: software technical choices in a business context. It helps software professionals appreciate the business consequences of the decisions they make. This primer will prove a valuable reference for making the important decisions the typical software organization faces both today and down the road. Inside, you ll learn how to: * Estimate how much each proposed software technical decision will cost, and how much it will return.* Weigh the time frames for a software decision s costs and benefits against each other to reveal when there might be a more important factor than schedule. *Attach a value to quality and produce a rational answer to the question, How much testing is enough? * Account for risk and uncertainty in software technical decisions, such as when considering a new technology. * Communicate your decisions in a way that speaks to the all-important bottom line. Each chapter contains a set of self-study questions designed to help you apply the featured concepts and techniques. An enhanced online index allows you to quickly and easily search the entire text for specific topics. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780321561497

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 53.31
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Steve Tockey
Published by Pearson Education (US), United States (2008)
ISBN 10: 032156149X ISBN 13: 9780321561497
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Pearson Education (US), United States, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. This pioneering book highlights critical, overlooked skills needed by true software professionals. Steve McConnell CEO and Chief Software Engineering Construx Software It s about time someone took this stuff seriously. Steven Mellor Chief Scientist Embedded Systems Division Mentor Graphics Corporation Co-Author of Exploring the Role of Executable UML in Model-Driven Architecture and six other books Despite the fact that engineering economics is considered a core area of any engineering field, virtually no books have been written in the area of software engineering economics. Steve Tockey s Return on Software nicely fills this gaps by providing a comprehensive introduction to software engineering economics accessible both to students and to new software professionals. Donald J. Bagert, Ph.D., P.E.Director of Software Engineering and Professor of Computer Science Software Engineering Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology The elements of this book are useful not only in making decisions but also in understanding why and how other people and organizations make decisions Shari Lawrence Pfleeger Senior Researcher, RAND Co-author of Security in Computing and eight other software engineering titles This just what the doctor ordered to help software programs solve the problem of how to introduce engineering economics and business decision-making into their curricula. The economics of software development should not only be part of any computing curriculum they are an essential element of recent accreditation and certification recommendations. This book is an accessible and relevant text for any student of software engineering. The style is clear and straightforward and the software examples will be appealing to students and faculty alike. I can t wait to use it in class! Thomas B.Hilburn, Professor Department of Computer and Software Engineering Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Is your organization maximizing the return on its investments of money, time, and personnel? Probably not, because most software professionals don t know how to consider the business aspects of their software decisions. Most don t even know that it s important to do so. Business consequences should play a critical role in all software technical choices--from choosing which projects to do, selecting software development processes, choosing algorithms and data structures, all the way to determining how much testing is enough. Return on Software: Maximizing the Return on Your Software Investment is about making choices: software technical choices in a business context. It helps software professionals appreciate the business consequences of the decisions they make. This primer will prove a valuable reference for making the important decisions the typical software organization faces both today and down the road. Inside, you ll learn how to: * Estimate how much each proposed software technical decision will cost, and how much it will return.* Weigh the time frames for a software decision s costs and benefits against each other to reveal when there might be a more important factor than schedule. *Attach a value to quality and produce a rational answer to the question, How much testing is enough? * Account for risk and uncertainty in software technical decisions, such as when considering a new technology. * Communicate your decisions in a way that speaks to the all-important bottom line. Each chapter contains a set of self-study questions designed to help you apply the featured concepts and techniques. An enhanced online index allows you to quickly and easily search the entire text for specific topics. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780321561497

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 63.36
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Steve Tockey
Published by Addison-Wesley Professional (2004)
ISBN 10: 032156149X ISBN 13: 9780321561497
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Addison-Wesley Professional, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 1. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX032156149X

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 69.79
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Steve Tockey
Published by Addison-Wesley Professional (2004)
ISBN 10: 032156149X ISBN 13: 9780321561497
New Softcover Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Palexbooks
(Sanford, NC, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Addison-Wesley Professional, 2004. Book Condition: New. Brand new! Please provide a physical shipping address. Bookseller Inventory # 9780321561497

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 72.16
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Steve Tockey
Published by Addison-Wesley Professional (2008)
ISBN 10: 032156149X ISBN 13: 9780321561497
New Paperback Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Revaluation Books
(Exeter, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Addison-Wesley Professional, 2008. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 1st edition. 656 pages. 9.15x6.97x1.35 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zr032156149X

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 69.12
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.91
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Steve Tockey
Published by Addison-Wesley Professional (2004)
ISBN 10: 032156149X ISBN 13: 9780321561497
New Paperback First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Addison-Wesley Professional, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M032156149X

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 82.42
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds