Release the Cheetah

Improving Software Quality



Agile world leaders

Learn, Change, Craft

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  • World's largest portfolio of Agile and management training
  • Public training and customised, bespoke training
  • Both on-site and off-site training
  • Certified and uncertified training

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  • Business advantage through IT transformation
  • Customised transformation unique to your company
  • Transformation with shared risk and reward

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  • Agile by being, not doing
  • Excellence comes as standard
  • PAYG and shared risk/reward contracts

We believe:

  • The highest priority is early and continuous delivery of valuable software
  • Great results start with a great team
  • The path to greatness is by diligent and continuous improvement
  • The best customer relationships are co-located
  • Agile is not the 'best' form of management
  • ...but it is a great start

We believe:

  • Software is eating the world
  • Software is in crisis
  • The cost of poor software is enormous
  • We can do better

Software is eating the world


Fly by wire businesses

Airbus A340 cabin
Airbus A340 cabin

Fly by wire businesses

Airbus A340 cockpit
Airbus A340 cockpit

World's largest bookseller

Amazon logo

Is a software company

World's largest video service

Netflix logo

Is a software company

World's largest music company

iTunes logo

Is a software company

World's fastest growing games company

Zynga logo

Is a software company

World's largest photography company

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Is a software company

World's fastest growing telecoms company

Skype logo

Is a software company

World's fastest growing recruitment company

LinkedIn logo

Is a software company

Software is eating the world


These companies dominate by being better at software

Software 'crisis'

At a NATO conference in Germany, high ranking government and military officials discuss why:

  • Projects run over-budget
  • Projects run over-schedule
  • Software is very inefficient
  • Software is of low quality
  • Software often doesn’t meet requirements
  • Code is difficult to maintain
  • Software is sometimes never delivered!

When was this?

  • Yesterday?
  • Last week?
  • Last year?
1968 montage

What has changed?

What has changed?

  • Most software still of poor quality
  • Despite 44 years the technical debt is estimated by NIST at $60bn/year
  • Equal to 2 quarters of negative growth
  • Off-shoring is not the panacea that was promised: only 7% differential in true costs
  • Hidden/intangible costs more than outweigh this

Case Study

  • Major online travel player
  • Outsourced website to Hungary
  • £75m per day turnover
  • More than 5 years with same provider
  • >120 Java developers
  • approx. 500 KLOC


  • Quarterly releases
  • 3-6 month Time-To-Market
  • Unresponsive offshore partner
  • >3,500 bugs
  • 30min+ builds
  • almost zero test coverage
  • Definitely not cheetah country!


  • Onshore team co-located with business
  • Agile transformation using Scrum
  • Started with one team of 4 craftsmen
  • Grown to 25 organically over 6 months
  • Rearchitect into seperately deployable units
  • Remediation using XP tech practices:
  • TDD, Refactoring, CI, Pair-programming

Positive outcomes

  • Releases every 2 weeks
  • Build time reduced to 5 mins
  • <1200 bugs, none severe or critical
  • Three independantly deployable modules
  • 25 onshore outperfoming 120 offshore


  • Cost of poor quality =
  • Rework (cost to fix to pass tests)
  • + Tech debt (cost to fix bugs)
  • + lost opportunity cost (schedule slip)
  • + lost revenue (brand equity)
  • Example project size: 100KLOC
  • Implementation budget: £3m

Rework costs

  • Industry av. rework cost £1.75/LOC[1]
  • Java is £3.36/LOC
  • 100KLOC
  • Rework cost is £340k

Technical debt cost

  • Assuming average software quality
  • Industry average 5 bugs/KLOC[2]
  • Average remediation cost 5 hours/bug[2]
  • Loaded cost £60/hour
  • Each bug costs £300
  • Total cost of remediation £150k

Lost opportunity cost

  • Industry average schedule overrun is 27%[3]
  • COCOMO 2,600 LOC/year for 100KLOC[4]
  • £30/LOC (loaded cost)
  • schedule slippage = £810k

Total COPQ

  • (excluding brand equity damage)
  • Rework £340k
  • + Technical debt £150k
  • + Opportunity cost £810k
  • = total cost £1.3m
  • 43% of original project budget

Free takeaways

  • Simple budget savers
  • Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
  • Language choice
  • Kanban

Minimum Viable Product

  • Standish Group's CHAOS report[5]
  • 45% of software features are never used
  • 19% of features are rarely used
  • So 64% of features are poor value for money
  • Do the other 36% first (v1.0)
  • Faster TTM, lower cost
  • Agile, Kanban and Lean Startup

Language Choice

  • CAST Report on App. Software Health[1]
  • Average cost to remediate: £1.75/LOC
  • Java cost to remediate: £3.36/LOC
  • Almost twice as expensive
  • JavaEE's complexity encourages alternatives
  • Whether Node.js, Scala or Ruby, an alternative can save £160k over a 100KLOC project

Matrix management

matrix management delivery

Work In Progress (WIP)

WIP(1) delivery

Cost savings

Cost savings of a Kanban approach

Total savings using Kanban

  • Opportunity cost per sprint £10k
  • Project C 2 sprints earlier = £20k
  • Project B 4 sprints earlier = £40k
  • Project A 6 sprints earlier = £60k
  • Total cost saving = £120k

Contracts, radtac-style

  • Flexible contracts to suit your needs
  • Agile contracts: Pay As You Go e.g. break clause per sprint or release
  • Risk & Reward, performance-based contracts e.g. 1/3 of contract value is dependent on our successful delivery

Release your cheetah!

  • Employ the radtac advantage:
  • The most suitable Modern Methods for your project
  • Highly experienced, technically excellent Software Craftsmen
  • PAYG and Risk & Reward Contracts align us with your business

Talk to us

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  • Learn: Peter Measey
  • Change: Darren Wilmshurst
  • Craft: Richard Lindsay


[1] 'Report on Application Software Health', CAST (link)

[2] '3 harmful metrics and 2 helpful metrics', Capers Jones for CERM (link)

[3] 'Why Your IT Project May Be Riskier Than You Think', Harvard Business Review (link)

[4] 'Diseconomies of Scale', Jeff Atwood, referencing COCOMO figures (link)

[5] 'Build only the features you need', Jim Johnson at XP2002, author of the Standish Group report (link)