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The software industry's overall performance is uneven and, at first sight, puzzling. Delivery to time and budget is notoriously poor, and productivity shows limited improvement over time, yet quality can be amazingly good. Customers largely bear the costs of the poor aspects of performance. Many factors drive this performance. This article explores whether causal links exist between the overall observed performance and the commonly used performance metrics, estimating methods and processes, and the way these incentivize suppliers. The author proposes a set of possible improvements to current metrics and estimating methods and processes, and concludes that software professionals must educate their customers on the levers that are available to obtain a better all-round performance from their suppliers.
Date of Publication: Nov.-Dec. 2010