e-Talk Radio: Mazzucco, Frank, 3 October 2000

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or sub-industry, that originally the people who did software process improvement 10, 12 years ago, told people well, don't start measuring right away, because when you're in that sort of initial ad hoc state, your results are going to be all over the map, you won't be able to do statistical process control, you won't be able to do this, you won't be able to do that. The reality is, you really need to start measuring right away and start tracking what you're doing even as you start your software process improvement program. And there's two reasons for that. The most obvious reason is you'll never know how much improvement you made if you don't start measuring today. And the second reason is, if you start measuring today, yes, your results may be all over the map, you'll have high productivity, low productivity, you'll have high quality, low quality. But you can start to use those data in some sort of a scatter diagram. You can start to identify where your best projects are and start to analyze them for best practices. Even today, as you're just starting to move forward. So yes, that's a very critical component of what you need to do.

Carol: And I'm going to do some blatant self-promotion, which we haven't really done on this show before. But one thing that my company does is teaches people to size their software, to go in and measure the size of their requirements. So it's similar to sizing a floor plan. If your requirements in software are your floor plan, we teach you to measure that size. And what Frank's company does, what COMPASS really specializes in, is in taking that standard size and being able to compare productivity and quality across a lot of different companies that they've gone in and taken a look at before. And in the comparisons, in doing better requirements, and doing the comparisons of companies that are best in class, that's really where some of the benefits of process improvement can be identified.

Frank: That's absolutely correct, Carol. And like I said, there's a natural synergy then between what you do and I do, because we really need each other to do this. And what people get in return is they get an understanding not just of how they compare against the best people in the world, as far as developing software, but how those best people got to be best. What things are they doing? What best practices do they have that you can adopt or adapt in your organization?

Carol: Right. We'll be back with a couple of email addresses and wrap up shortly after these messages.

Welcome back to our final segment. I'd like to give a great big thank you to Frank Mazzucco of COMPASS America, who has been with us for the last hour talking about software process improvement. So I'd like to say thank you for giving us your time, Frank.

Frank: You're very welcome, Carol. It's been a pleasure.

Carol: And I'd like to give out two URL or Web site addresses. One if the COMPASS America Web site, which is www.compassamerica.com, and the second one is www.qualityplustech.com. On each of those Web sites, you'll find more information about process improvement, software processes, some of the work we do, and some free articles that you can download or request. Next week, we're going to be joined by a prominent author, Tim Lister, who together with Tom DeMarco has written a book called Peopleware, amongst other things. And we're going to be talking

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