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When Agile Becomes a Quality Game Changer: What Data Says from Recent Agile Benchmark Research

With Agile now becoming mainstream, what's happening on the topic of "Clean Code?" What patterns are being revealed, and what does this mean to teams responsible for that final lap (the testing one!)? Industry research from QSM Associates reveals varying degrees of success. Some of the best teams – whether they be XP, SCRUM, Lean, etc. – are finding significant quality implications that are literally redefining the economics of software. Others are not. What factors can make a meaningful difference?

With the latest industry analysis of velocity, burndown, and quality data, we discuss productivity, time-to-market, quality, and cost patterns as this community matures. Serving as a comparison framework is the QSM SLIM industry database, with more than 10,000 completed projects (waterfall, agile, offshore, onshore) collected worldwide. This talk will describe findings that can help accelerate your success. Join us for an overview of this approach, and find out how you can assess your own patterns that could be applied to your development, and informing your executive teams.

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About the Speaker

Photo - Michael Mah

Michael Mah

As managing partner at QSM Associates Inc., Michael Mah teaches, writes, and consults to technology companies on measuring, estimating and managing software projects, whether in-house, offshore, waterfall, or agile.

He is the director of the Benchmarking Practice at the Cutter Consortium, a Boston-based IT think-tank, and served as past editor of the IT Metrics Strategies publication. He is a senior consultant with the Agile Software Development and Project Management Advisory Service, the Business-IT strategies Advisory Service, Sourcing and Vendor Relationships Advisory Service, and the Business Technology Trends and Impacts Advisory Service. His experience is in organizational development, IT negotiation, software project estimation, productivity benchmarking, outsourcing, risk management, and project "runaway prevention."

With over 25 years of experience, Michael and his partners at QSM have derived productivity patterns for thousands of projects collected in its worldwide database across engineering and business applications. His work examines time-pressure dynamics of teams, and its role in project success and failure. QSM is the creator of the SLIM® model, a suite of tools for software release planning, measurement, and estimation. Michael has been a keynote and featured speaker for events such as the Better Software Conference, OOP Conference Munich/Zurich Conferences, the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Process Group Conference, the Cutter Summit series, and numerous Project Management Institute and SEI SPIN chapter meetings. His work in the field of technology involves blending management science with negotiation techniques for both in-house and outsourced projects. He has worked with a wide range of corporate clients such as Rockwell, Intel, HP, JP MorganChase, Nationwide, Insurance, Progressive, Bank of New York Mellon, DirecTV, and others.

He has a degree in electrical engineering from Tufts University with a focus on electromagnetic physics and Far Eastern history. He is trained in negotiation, mediation and conflict resolution from the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

He can be reached at


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