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Is There Magic Associated with Software Benchmarks?

Software Track




Benchmarks have proven to be a useful tool for determining whether or not software cost, productivity and quality estimates are realistic and make sense. When used properly, benchmarks can be a very powerful tool during negotiations because they set expectations. While many may question the numbers, benchmarks that are produced with rigor and care can pass as solid bases for comparison. However, when done haphazardly, they can be very dangerous. This talk will discuss how benchmarks are developed. It will highlight the need to normalize and check the sanity of the data used as the benchmarks are developed. It will focus on eliminating the magic and replacing it with rigor. It will also highlight the fact that benchmarks that are rigorous produced are trusted by those that use them. In contrast, benchmarks developed based on data which has not been santized are often discarded.


Donald J. Reifer
Reifer Consultants LLC
Donald J. Reifer is recognized as one of the leading figures in the fields of software engineering and management with forty years of progressive management experience in both industry and government. From 1993 to 1995, Mr. Reifer managed the Department of Defense (DoD) Software Initiatives Office under an Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) assignment with the Defense Information Systems Agency. As part of this Senior Executive Service assignment, he served as the Director of the DoD Software Initiatives Office under the ASD/C3I. He also served as Director of the DoD Reuse Initiative and Chief of the Ada Joint Program Office. Previously, while with TRW, Mr. Reifer served as Deputy Program Manager for their Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) efforts. While with the Aerospace Corporation, Mr. Reifer managed all of the software efforts related to the Space Transportation System (Space Shuttle). Currently, as President of RCI, Mr. Reifer advises executives in Fortune 500 firms worldwide in the areas of software investment and improvement strategies. He is known for both his business and practical problem solving skills.
During the past thirty years, Reifer has published over one hundred software engineering and management papers and five books. Reifer’s many awards include the Secretary of Defense’s Medal for Outstanding Public Service, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the AIAA Software Engineering Award, the ISPA Frieman Award, the DISA Service Award, membership in Who’s Who in the West, and the Hughes Aircraft Company Fellowship.
Reifer received his B.S. in engineering from New Jersey Institute of Technology, his M.S. in operations research from USC and the Certificate in Business Management from UCLA.