Michael Zerbib
Michael Zerbib -

You need an application delivered fast. And you’re willing to pay more to get it done quickly. But how much more should you pay?

That depends of course on your supplier’s productivity. The more productive they are, the more they can charge on a per-hour basis. That’s because their productivity enables them to deliver the same size application in fewer hours than a less productive supplier would be able to. Which means that the cost to deliver a function point (function point per $) might actually be less than a supplier whose labor rates are much lower!  In other words, a supplier with a higher labor cost can actually be more cost efficient – and at the end of the day, this output metric – cost efficiency – is what matters. (Along with application quality, as we'll see a bit later.)

Output-Based Application Management
How Not To Do APM

Sometime last year, Netflix began using  Amazon Web Services (AWS) to run their immensely successful video streaming business.  They moved their entire source of revenue to the cloud. They are now totally reliant on the performance of AWS.

The Chaos Monkey

While former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld never spoke or wrote about software (as far as I know), his quip about unknown unknowns during the early months of the Iraq war is well known.

No matter what you think of Rumsfeld, his classification applies nicely to software and teaches us a lesson or two about building good software.

Rumsfeld on Software – Handling Unknown Unknowns

Major stock exchanges suffering embarrassing technology breakdowns that have left some traders resorting to placing trades over old-fashioned phone lines! What next, ticker tape?

Stock Exchange Failures - What Next?

This week, Bill Curtis, SVP & Chief Scientist at CAST will be delivering a keynote presentation at CONSEG 2011 in Bangalore, India.

Bill Curtis Keynotes CONSEG 2011

The intensity and speed of Agile development puts a premium on satisfying the functional requirements of business users. But this intense focus comes at the expense of structural quality.

Straight Talk on Technical Debt

There are plenty of "...for dummies" materials out there. This one is for smarties. So buckle up!

A couple of weeks ago, Dave West, Principal Analyst from Forrester and I had a chat about Agile.

Agile for Smarties – A Resource Kit

In about 3 weeks (January 27th, to be precise), we'll be featuring Dave West, Principal Analyst at Forrester on a webinar.  Stay tuned for the announcement and the link to register.

Speed is Good, Agility is Better

Technical Debt. You've probably heard about it. You may have read about it. But should you be doing anything about it?

It all depends on how Technical Debt is defined. It could just be a scare or it could really sink you! Depending on how you define it, it may be very large, forcing you to pay attention.

Why Technical Debt Matters

October 26th marked CAST's second annual Partner Conference. It was packed, with more than double the number of attendees this year compared to 2009.

Crossing the Chasm

On Wednesday, October 20 at 8:30 AM, our SVP, Chief Scientist, and Head of CAST Research Labs, Dr. Bill Curtis keynoted the TesTrek conference in Toronto, Canada.

The Current State of Application Quality

How do you scale Agile for the enterprise? Hear Rebecca Parsons of ThoughtWorks and Bill Curtis of CAST discuss the keys to scaling Agile techniques --the metrics and processes that are required to take the next leap in Agile.

Scaling Agile Enterprise Wide – Your Questions for the Panelists

I've been surfing the booths at the Gartner Outsourcing & Vendor Management Summit in sunny, gorgeous Orlando (check out some pictures on Twitter).

To mark the event, CAST is giving away an iPad. To enter the drawing, take our sourcing survey.

Trends From the Gartner Vendor Summit 2010

On September 28th we have Dr. Rebecca Parsons, CTO  of ThoughtWorks and Dr. Bill Curtis, Chief Scientist at CAST as panelists on a webinar on Agile practices.

Agile Practices Webinar – September 28th

As overheard by Dr. Bill Curtis at last week's Agile Conference. Coined by Jeff Sutherland, one of the co-inventors of SCRUM.


On August 4, 2010 CAST hosted an IT executive luncheon, bringing together leading Atlanta-area companies. Leading the discussion was The Coca-Cola Company, elaborating on how they measure quality and the velocity of change in their code base and use these metrics to deliver faster, at higher quality and lower cost.

What Coca-Cola Measures to Deliver Software Faster, Better, Cheaper

Bill presented the 10 commandments of multisourcing covering governance, SLAs, and best practices. Here are some salient points from his presentation.

Forrester’s Bill Martorelli On Multisourcing

Seldom do the worlds of mainstream network television programming and IT collide. But when they do … it’s comedy. Or at least NBC thinks so. The network is promoting a sitcom called ‘Outsourced’ about an American thirty-something who goes to India to manage a call-center.  Inevitably, comedic culture clashes ensue. Cringe-worthy clip here (SFW but not funny).

CAST Must See-TV Season 2: How to Multisource Applications

Industry data demonstrate that code reviews are highly effective.

Highly Effective Code Reviews (Hint: They’re Automated)

C.K. Chesterton wrote, “The word ‘good’ has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his mother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man."

Three Kinds of Business Risk

Software quality is getting hard to measure and automated quality measurement is the only way to go.  That's the news from our IBM Innovate2010 quality survey. Complete survey results are on Slideshare.

Quality Is Getting Harder to Measure, Automation is the Key

Carol Poulsen,  Senior Vice President, Group Architecture, Innovation and Solution Delivery Services, Royal Bank of Canada. Thanks for participating Carol!

IBM Innovate2010 Software Quality Survey - We Have a Winner!

For the third year in a row, CAST is pleased to be featured as a key IBM business partner at IBM Innovate 2010. Come visit us in pedestal “L” in the partner pavilion to see Rational and CAST AIP in action!

Win An iPad At Innovate 2010

I heard from an old friend, Shyam Nadig,  who had a question about the previous post -- in particular, how the CAST for ERP solutions compare with products like SAP's Solution Manager.

What Makes ERP Solutions Different?

Running an ERP system? Having any of these problems?

Automated Analysis and Measurement to Eliminate Costly ERP Customization Errors

Join me and Tony Timbol of David Consulting Group on Thursday, May 13 for a joint DCG-CAST Webinar.

Say No to Software Politics – Webinar

Have your applications behaved erratically in front of your most valued customers? Has the stress of everyday operations caused your applications to suffer complete breakdowns? Dr. Bill Curtis can help!

Software Psychoanalysis

What's the biggest cultural change that companies who use CAST undergo?

Quality Is NOT Equal To Testing

If you're like most (don't deny it), here's how you do resource estimation for IT projects.

Scientific Resource Management

I recently sat down with Fritz Nelson of InformationWeek and walked him through a demo of CAST.

A Demo of CAST

Corner of 26th St. and 6th Ave in NYC at 2 AM? Good to be big!

Size Always Matters

Because CAST's quality metrics are a unique and vital addition to IBM Insight.

Supplementing Project Metrics with Quality Metrics

Kickoff 2010! Every year, the entire company gathers in one physical location to strengthen relationships, forge new ones, and internalize CAST's values and goals. Kickoff 2010 was super! I was delighted to meet some good friends and make many new ones.  The intelligence and creativity of CAST folks is impressive -- no wonder we are THE Application Intelligence company.

Measure IT, Manage IT, Master IT!

Data from IBM below shows striking failure rates on the requirements for PCI compliance (it's from 2008, but nothing gives me any confidence that companies actually got better at this in 2009).

PCI — Are You Compliant?

Speaking of software productivity, Peter Cohan of AOL's Daily Finance recently wrote about how automated software quality measurement improves IT productivity and in turn, business productivity.

Read it here.

Software for Increasing IT Productivity

Because CAST's quality metrics are a unique and vital addition to IBM Insight.

Software Productivity - Whatever Is It Good For?

Teddi SweeneyYesterday CAST  hosted a breakfast for IT leaders in government agencies - one of the themes was moving applications to the Cloud.  I was surprised (and relieved) to see so many agencies represented - FEMA, DHS, SEC, NASA, and the Defense Intelligence Agency just to name a few. 

Cloud(s) Gathering Over DC

It's that time of year when we look back...and forward to what software development will be like. Here's a short piece from Bill Curtis, CAST SVP and Chief Scientist from the Wall Street Journal (November 16, 2009).

What's New in Software Development

A recent article from James Powell of Enterprise Systems magazine on software quality -- it's a Q&A format with yours truly providing the A.

Q&A: Improving Software Quality

On October 20, CAST brought together 20 partners for a lively day of information sharing and fun. (That's Eli Goodrich of CAST with Charles Gerth, SVP of Application Services, Alliance Global Services, winner of the 2009 Partner of the Year award.)

CAST 2009 Partner Opportunity Conference in NYC

I'm tired of hearing "You can't manage what you can't measure." If you're older than 6, you know Santa is a fiction. If you're older than 11, you don't need me to break it to you that of course you can manage what you can't measure. There's big money in that.

Managing What You Can’t Measure

Recently, an Australian team studied the performance of the Amazon, Google, and Microsoft Clouds. The results reminded me of Bob on Entourage.

Cloud – Is that Something You Might Be Interested In?

In a recent post I wrote about the craziness of just measuring the things you do to build something, without ever measuring the quality of the thing you build.

Be Like Usain Bolt – Measure Output

Four Reasons for measuring application quality for SOA Development, Rollout, and Governance

Got SOA? Get (Automated) Quality Metrics!

Might sound like an oxymoron, but it's not.

What’s Cool in Software Engineering

There's a big bias towards skill in our culture -- smart and creative trumps hard work and grinding it out day after day.

Effort is Precious

Types of Process Frameworks:

A Recipe for Quantifying the ROI on Improving Process Maturity

I'd like to know Antonella! But it's not what you think.

Antonella and Software Requirements

A couple of years ago, I took the 14-hour Qantas flight from Los Angeles to Sydney and back.

Feeling Lucky? The Prequel (aka the Back Testing Problem)

Some tools are very popular with software developers while some just fizzle out. What accounts for this difference?>

Why Developer Tools Stick

Is software management obsolete? Yes, according to Tim Berry, President and Founder of Palo Alto Software.

Don’t Give Up on Software Metrics!

Closing the Gap Between the Testing and Production Environment

Why Performance Testing is Hard

The financial markets have their secular cycles. Technology has its S-curves of adoption. Problem is, it's impossible to tell when that S goes from under-performing little bottom coil to the roaring top of the lucrative cobra head. If you're baffled, have a look at these S curves and you'll know what I'm talking about.

Cloud Computing – Why Now?

There are a lot of Project Portfolio Management (PPM) tools out there. And there's a lot of hot air about the distinctions between PPM, ALM,  PLM, and who-knows-what-other-M.

The Problem with PPM Tools

A couple of weeks ago, I was standing in an old friend's flat in London, looking out onto the street, sipping a delicious drink before dinner. Lovely flat, beautiful street.

CFOs Are Easy

Clint Eastwood said it and Pete Peterson's life story is apparently filled with it, but can luck be quantified?

Do You Feel Lucky? Well, Do Ya?