Beautiful Software

781-275-0484
128 Great Road, Bedford, MA, 01730
chuck@BeautifulSoftware.com

Software Project Leadership

Many software projects go wrong. Conservative estimates have put the rate of outright failure at 30%, with another 40% experiencing significant problems. The cost of these errors is high.

A modest-size software project can cost a million dollars, with many over $100 million and some more than a billion. When a project is cancelled, as many are, all of this money is lost. Staying the course is also expensive, since the burn rate of a software project can exceed $100,000 per day.

It is hard for an organization to diagnose and correct its own work however. There are often internal politics and personal egos at play, leading to reluctance to admit that something might be wrong.

This is where Chuck Connell helps. He saves money for your company by objectively assessing the health of software projects, guiding teams to clarify end-goals so everyone is pulling in the same direction, turning around troubled projects, and assisting with the difficult decision of whether to cancel a project.

Services

  • Software project leadership -- Direct day-to-day management of a software project. Chuck organizes and schedules resources for development, testing, documentation and release engineering. 

  • Project health assessment -- Is this software project reasonably on track? Do all the stakeholders have the same idea about where it is headed? Can the project be completed within the budget? Chuck takes the temperature of a software project without an emotional investment in the answer. 

  • Troubled project turnaround -- You know a project is beyond deadline and over budget, but what should you do about it? Hire more people? Scale back the feature set? Change the delivery date? Chuck helps you take a fresh look at the project to decide a way forward.

  • Buy/build analysis -- Is it worth undertaking a new development project to meet XYZ needs? Are there existing software solutions that will work almost as well? How much will it really cost to write it in-house? Chuck conducts objective research and reports on the available options.

Why Chuck Connell?

Chuck knows software projects from all sides. He has been a hands-on programmer, a software product architect, a manager of programmers, a university teacher of software engineering and a consultant. He is the author of the book Beautiful Software, holds a master's degree in computer science from Boston University, and has completed 12 post-master computer courses at BU and Tufts.  

Chuck has "been there and done that" for all aspects of software development. He can speak to and understand programming staff, line managers and business executives. He is a neutral observer who can synthesize many points of view into a plan to solve your software development problem.

Just as important as his qualifications, is what Chuck is not selling. He does not represent a programming shop looking for your business and does not evangelize a particular software method such as CMM or Agile. He helps you find and negotiate with development shops only as necessary, and recommends only methods that are appropriate for your task.

Partial Client List

  • Alcoa
  • IBM
  • U.S. Federal Courts
  • Mead Johnson
  • Procter & Gamble
  • Bausch & Lomb
  • Hewlett-Packard
  • Standard & Poor's

Terms

Chuck works on a fixed-price basis with clear objectives. He covers all expenses, including agreed-upon travel, within one fee. You know what you are getting and how much you are paying for it. 

An inefficient or failed software project can be very expensive. Chuck Connell's goal is to save you far more money than he charges.

Philosophy

Agile methods are usually a smart idea, with the caveat that good design up front can pay off in the long run.

Attention to design, quality and performance throughout a project is worth the effort. It costs a little more at times, but is much less expensive overall.

Software can have elegant design and when it does it is better by many other measures as well -- usability, scalability, mean-time-to-repair, modifiability, etc.

Full Disclosure

Beautiful Software is a consulting practice from Chuck Connell, within his corporate entity CHC-3 Consulting, Inc.

From time to time, Chuck continues to do some hands-on programming, described at www.chc-3.com. He maintains a separation of concerns however, and does not recommend his programming services as the solution to a project management problem.

 

Chuck Connell has published more than 20 articles about software project management, some of which are collected into his recent book Beautiful Software.

He has spoken at industry conferences on topics such as "Healing Sick Software Projects", "Why Software Is (Almost) Always Late", and "Can We Estimate Software Development Time?"