April 2002

It was a record-breaking 96 degrees on April 17 when 26 members of the NJSPIN gathered to hear Samira Michail present her lecture on the "Software Product Profitability Model." Samira developed this model after spending extensive time at AT&T and Lucent, as well as a tour in Japan.

The presentation started off by reviewing some of the "time to market" pressures that can influence the release of computer applications, regrettably on what might be described as a "ready-or-not" basis. In Samira's experience, companies which select this approach often end up collecting data about their application development processes AFTER they inevitably run into problems.

Samira developed Product Profitability Model in response to this all-too-common state of affairs. The central assumption behind this model is that there needs to be a realization that defects will probably exist within applications released for general avilability -- especially when released under severe time pressures. For those schooled in the total quality approach of "zero defects," this may sound like a subversive idea. But Samira contends that this approach doesn't attempt to marginalize review, inspection, and testing efforts. The model doesn't encourage the release of code with KNOWN defects (or at least known "big" defects). But when you have a pretty good idea that you have a huge and complex system that might have SOME problems that you can not quite identify within the test phase, it is good to go into your release with a plan for taking remedial action.

In essence, the Product Profitability Model states that you need to figure out your support infrastructure BEFORE finishing your design and going into general availability.

The collection of metrics on a regular basis is one of the cornerstones of the model. (Some of the metrics may vary from industry to industry.) Once they are collected, they need to be analyzed for "performance gaps." This allows remedial actions to be planned and executed before the process goes too far.

Samira's discussion of the benefits, challenges, and opportunities of the Product Profitability Model approach led to a lively discussion from the meeting attendees. Samira ended the presentation by asking that NJSPIN members review her model and to seek opportunities to implement it within their organizations. Finally, Samira requested that NJSPIN members contact her with opinions and ideas. She can be reached at samiramichail@hotmail.com.

Business Notes:
-The WWW.NJSPIN.ORG website is now online.
-Next month's program: Jim Heil will give a presentation on Software Testing.