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QSM Announces SLIM Suite 6.0 Software Lifecycle Management Solution

KeyCorp’s Developers Meet Commitments, Minimize Risk

Using Latest Version of Methodology and Tools

MCLEAN, VA, September 17, 2004 -- QSM, Inc. today announced the most significant upgrade ever of its software lifecycle management solution, SLIM Suite 6.0, for managing both internal and outsourced application development. The five elements, which can be used individually or in the integrated suite, include SLIM-Control, SLIM-Estimate, SLIM-DataManager, SLIM-Metrics, and SLIM-MasterPlan.

All SLIM Suite 6.0 elements are compatible with Microsoft’s Access open architecture, and allow seamless interfaces to any ODBC-compliant tool. And, all can export to and import from the latest version of MS Project, including multi-level Work Breakdown Structure files. An improved API also facilitates the importing of statistics and other information from leading independent tool suites, such as those provided by IBM/Rational and Telelogic.

Unlike typical estimating tools, SLIM can utilize sizing metrics beyond lines of code or function points; it can also use component sizing measures such as programs, modules, objects, classes, use cases, and requirements. In addition to the five sizing methods built into the tool, SLIM offers an infinitely flexible spreadsheet sizing template using Microsoft Excel.

"Often, IT organizations find that achieving accurate estimates of application delivery projects is either impossible or too difficult and time consuming to undertake," said Matt Light, Research Director, Gartner Inc. "Better defining projects, learning estimation techniques and utilizing tools can dramatically reduce that time and effort while improving project delivery on time and within budget."

KeyCorp, one of the nation’s largest, bank-based financial services companies, has been using SLIM since November 2003 for software and hardware projects, in collaboration with QSM Associates of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. “Introduction of SLIM to our environment has been very successful,” said John Stewart, Senior VP, Enterprise Project Management, Key Technology Services. “We’ve reduced the time team members need to produce an estimate by 20 - 30%, with a realistic goal of reducing by 80% in the future. Our business partners also are using this data to make better business decisions regarding the amount of risk they are willing to assume for project cost, schedule, scope and quality.”

Information from independent tools, in such areas as requirements definition, design, configuration management and defect tracking, is critical to the world-class project management delivered by this newest version of the SLIM Suite. With its strong integration capabilities, SLIM delivers unparalleled project planning and management.

As part of its quality-centric approach to service delivery, business and information technology (IT) outsourcing firm Keane is collaborating with QSM Associates to improve application development productivity by benchmarking practices and software measurement processes, both internally and for its clients. One of the most experienced users of SLIM for large projects, Keane recently upgraded its license to enterprise-wide, and is now deploying SLIM Suite 6.0 globally.

Brian T. Keane, president and CEO, said, “We use the QSM SLIM methodology to get bottom line metrics on cost, schedule, and reliability for our clients. Our clients have come to expect the best from Keane, and the QSM approach has proven effective in documenting our performance against expectations. Our emphasis on process shows consistent results on both the Carnegie Mellon Capability Maturity Model (CMM) and QSM’s Productivity Index.”

Project estimates developed in SLIM-Estimate and ongoing project plans from SLIM-Control can be integrated by SLIM-MasterPlan into a comprehensive overall view suited for:

Incremental Delivery Planning: ideal for product managers who need to juggle resources over multiple releases of a single product line.

Enterprise Planning: facilitates strategic planning for multiple software product lines or serial releases of a single system.

Lifecycle Support Planning: helps cost analysts price out support costs for major programs over an extended time horizon.

Integrated Project Planning: helps project managers estimate individual subsystems as well as systems integration and testing effort for the entire system.

Organizations use SLIM to build their own metrics repository and make relevant industry comparisons, a critical part of project estimation and management. Customers such as Motorola, Allstate, JPMorganChase, Keane, and others use SLIM to establish reliable benchmarks of performance, gauging the productivity and quality of their work versus others in their industry, technology environment, or other criteria. With this reference information as a benchmark, a regular program can then created to assess performance on an ongoing basis.

Doug Putnam, managing partner of QSM Inc., said, “Faced with spiraling costs, limited staff, faster to-market delivery dates, and intense competition, it’s a challenge to succeed in a world where what you see isn’t always what you get. QSM’s comprehensive methodology and sophisticated tools help customers meet commitments and minimize risk. We bring science to what has all-too-often been guesswork.”

Benchmark, Estimate, Control

Commercial and government enterprises worldwide use SLIM in three critical stages: to estimate the cost and schedule for new projects; to benchmark completed projects against others; and to measure and control “in-flight” projects to prevent overruns.

Besides its long history of use for internal projects, SLIM has increasingly been used to manage outsourced development. Despite the growing practice of outsourcing large, critical projects, many organizations still lack a practical and effective measurement and project estimation framework for software development. During the course of outsourced work, both customer and supplier typically apply the SLIM Suite to measure and manage development, and gather the requisite core metrics as advocated by industry standards from QSM and the Software Engineering Institute. In this way, pre-negotiated milestones can be measured and ugly contract squabbles avoided.

Serving as the basis for the SLIM-Estimate benchmarking solution is SLIM-Metrics, derived from one of the most comprehensive databases of completed software projects ever collected. The most recent QSM database update represents over 7,000 projects, 600 development languages, 685 million lines of code, and 1.7 million function points from more than 500 organizations in 18 countries worldwide.

Available now from QSM and the network of QSM offices, the full SLIM Suite is priced at $33,500/year for a single workstation installation, with discounts for additional licenses. Individual modules are available for $12,000, with site licenses starting at $45,500.

About QSM

Founded by software engineering pioneer Larry Putnam in 1978, QSM’s goal is to help clients become world-class software developers and reduce the overall expense of software development projects. QSM’s SLIM software tools and consultative approach capture the management numbers that enable organizations to effectively estimate, track, and benchmark their software development and maintenance projects. The company is based in McLean, Virginia, with offices and affiliates in Massachusetts, France, The Netherlands, and the U.K. Additional information is available at www.qsm.com.

About QSM Associates

Through state-of-the-art software measurement and estimating tools combined with techniques from modern negotiation science, QSM Associates has been helping clients solve deadline and budget challenges for 15 years. Drawing on its experience with the Program on Negotiation, an inter-university consortium made up of Harvard, Tufts and MIT, QSMA helps enterprises negotiate and achieve successful project conclusions. Through the Cutter Consortium, an industry think-tank, QSMA publishes executive reports and research on agile project management, business IT trends, outsource advisory, and software measurement and benchmarking. Information is available at www.QSMA.com.

NOTE: SLIM, SLIM Suite, SLIM-Control, SLIM-Estimate, SLIM-DataManager, SLIM-Metrics, and SLIM-MasterPlan are trademarks of QSM, Inc. All other marks are the property of their respective owners, and are used for identification purposes only.

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General contact: Edward Bride, 413-442-7718 [Ed@edbride-pr.com]

QSM Associates: Michael Mah, 413-499-0988 [Michael.Mah@qsma.com]

QSM Inc.: Doug Putnam, 703-790-0055 [Doug_Putnam@qsm.com]

KeyCorp: Vicky Bartholomew, 216-689-6560 [vicky_a_bartholomew@keybank.com]