We have two sources of information about how software IT projects behave. The first source is our own past performance; the second is observations on projects from metrics research. These tidbits can be combined in ways that can be quite effective for planning. Moreover, they serve to frame project negotiations so that key stakeholders can appreciate the dynamics of such projects, keeping things from spiraling out of control at early, critical stages. My article, "Software Estimation Tricks of the Trade," works at pulling this together.
In the second article, Jim Heires offers an excellent summary of Dr. Edward Tufte's prescriptions for better information design. In the field of IT metrics, a picture says a thousand words. Building the right pictures is the key to meaningful representation of data, allowing effective learning to occur and the right actions to be taken, if necessary.
Finally, Jim Mayes gives us a refreshing profile taken from the front lines of his practice in the Software Engineering Metrics Group. He offers a blueprint on how a group like this targets the achievement of business objectives.
We hope this issue gives you real-world guidance that helps steer you in a proven, reliable direction.
Michael Mah, Editor
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