Real World Jazz Results – Our Customers are not “Kind of Blue”


Real World Jazz Results – Our customers are notKind of Blue
I have been wandering the world (electronically) and North America (physically) for the past year and half helping IBM customers understand the capabilities of Jazz, and the implications of the deployment of those capabilities for their organizations.  I have deployed countless Proof of Concept environments, run many Proof of Technology shows, and spent many a day discussing the relative merits of a variety of software development tools, methodologies, and just plain old war stories from the age of “stone knives and bearskins“.  I have also helped some of our larger customers begin to deploy the Jazz technology, and leverage the benefits associated with adopting the Jazz platform as a foundation for software development activities.  The most important thing that I have done, is not deploying the Jazz technology, it is measuring the results and benefits that the Jazz technology has given our customers.
IBM has been deploying Jazz internally for a while now, and we do have some measures of the benefits that we are realizing.  This is great… for IBM.  The issue is that IBM has a unique access to resources and circumstances that will not be replicated in the situation of ANY of our customers.  Just because the guy who lives next door to me realizes 20% lower medical costs by self insuring than I do, doesn’t mean that it is the right approach for me to take.  The guy is a doctor, so the that might skew the results a bit.  What the examples I am going to share in the article show is that it is possible to realize improvements in productivity and software development performance with Jazz, even if your company isn’t called IBM.
The first example is a typical example for many small organizations that adopt the Jazz technology.  This particular group is within a line of business with one of our larger customers, but they operate like a small software group.  They had a small team doing Agile development, and using a mix of spreadsheets and open source tools to help them.  We decided to use this team as a pilot project, after we assured ourselves that we could easily migrate them off of the Jazz platform after a handful of sprints.  That was 10 months ago, and the team still refuses to get off of the Jazz platform.  They bought it so they wouldn’t have to lose it.  They like it that much.
It been 10 months, and we have had a good amount of time to collect data from this team.  I will stay away from using actual dollar amounts and talk in rough percentages, since some of this information is considered sensitive by this customer.  The benefits that this team saw over time began with some dramatic improvement, once they got comfortable with the tools, and broke down along these lines (in terms of time):
  • Developers – saved roughly 18% of their time by using/collaborating with Jazz (90 minutes a day)
  • Business Analysts – saved roughly 11% of their time because stories were easier to manipulate, status and prioritize with Jazz (55 minutes a day)
  • Systems Analysts – saved roughly 40% of their time, since following stories and approved changes was so much easier (200 minutes a day)
  • QA Analysts – saved roughly 10% of their time, with easier traceability between stories, test cases, and builds (50 minutes a day)
  • Program Management – saved roughly 15% of their time with the improved transparency of Jazz (75 minutes a day)
My second example is a much larger organization, with over 400 software development staff.  This group has a large number of Agile teams (hence a much larger sample than my first example), that range in size from 8 to 18 people per team.  This particular group has decided to quantify their benefit in terms of dollars, by taking their average rate for a fully burdened resource, and multiplying it by the time savings.  After roughly 6 months, this group was able to summarize their annual benefits from a Jazz based implementation:
  • Planning Automation – $389,000
  • Daily scrum meetings (time reduced) – $810,000
  • Quality Improvement –  $194,000
  • Reduced effort to manage work items – $1,200,000
  • Project reporting – $130,000
  • Reduced time determining project status – $990,000
  • Reduced time to establish new teams – $432,000
  • Reduction of duplicate efforts – $648K

This comes out to a grand total of $4,793,000.  That is almost five million dollars.  These numbers look a bit unbelievable, and represent a HUGE cost savings and capability improvement.  Even if we assume that people are in “happy” accounting mode, and cut these numbers in half, it still represents almost two and a half million dollars in savings and increased capability.  This is significant.

Closing Thoughts
It has been a great first year of posting my insights, thoughts, and observations of Jazz technology to this blog.  I anticipate that I will continue to do so in the coming year.  This final post of the year is a significant one for me.  It is significant because it represents real capability increases and cost savings that have been realized by my Jazz customers, not just some projected benefits derived from a small pilot effort.  Our Jazz baby is beginning to grow up and make it’s own way in the world.  While these cost benefits are impressive, what holds more promise for me are the strategic benefits that Jazz provides to an organization:
  • It allows an organization to have a balanced portfolio of software tools that reduce it’s risk, and allow it to leverage successful technologies more quickly.
  • It provides an organization a high degree of transparency into IT development efforts, and thus improves the accountability with teams, groups, and the entire IT organization.
  • It allows our customers to actually do active monitoring and management offshore and outsourced IT efforts.
  • It helps software development people focus on what they are good at – developing software.
I hope that 2010 provides me with more inspiration and stories for this blog, and I encourage you to post comments and questions here.  Like the rest of the Jazz based universe, this small outpost is only as informative and entertaining as my readers make it.  Send me your stories, observations and questions, and I will get to them as best I can.
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2 thoughts on “Real World Jazz Results – Our Customers are not “Kind of Blue”

  1. Kevin Ramer

    Do your travels give you enough metrics to say how RTC performs with
    global developers (i.e. those developers that sit far away from their
    RTC server)

    1. dtoczala

      The results that we see from RTC implementations vary from organization to organization. In general what we tend to see is a larger percentage improvement in the effectiveness of “global developers” (I like the term geographically dispersed, but it doesn’t really matter). This is because of the transparency and collaborative benefits that RTC provides. Another contributing factor is that fact that these populations will often have either no tools, or very low end software development tooling. It’s like going from a bicycle to an F1 race car. The other contributing factor is the improved ability to manage and govern projects from remote locations, due to the increased transparency and visibility.

      With that being said, the VALUE of RTC gets recognized somewhat differently. Since these “global developer” resources will often carry a lower fully burdened cost, the value seen in these areas may not be what you might think. A developer with a fully burdened cost of $40k/yr that is 50% more efficient will save a company $20k/yr. A developer with a fully burdened cost of $100k/yr that is 25% more efficient will save a company $25k/yr. The local developer sees less of an impact in terms of performance, but a larger financial impact.

      The other issue is that the math is too simple, and does not realize business realities. Just because my developer community is 20% more effective doesn’t really mean that my costs have gone down. I still have to pay all of those developers. What it does mean is that I can now get to more projects, innovate more, and provide a BIGGER and BETTER contribution to the bottom line of my company. Many organizations look at IT as a cost center, and never measure the value of the output of the IT organization, so these benefits are never effectively measured. People will KNOW that things are running much better, and have anecdotal proof of it, but they cannot quantify it.

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