Transform Software Development—Estimate Confidently, Consistently, and Improve as you go
SEER for Software provides a systematic approach for estimating the cost, schedule, effort, defects, and risks of software development or software maintenance projects. Whether you need an estimate for a business proposal, budgetary planning, investment decisions, or resource planning, SEER for Software provides you with the confidence that your estimate is credible, repeatable, and defensible—letting you make the best decisions possible.
SEER for Software helps you:
- Reduce the time and effort required to produce estimates through its step-by-step, systematic methodologies.
- Create credible estimates regardless of project type, industry, scope, or development technique. Regardless of how much or how little information you have available.
- Improve your estimates over time as your knowledge of the project grows.
- Reduce your dependence on manual estimation techniques generated solely from in-house experts who may be over-committed, inconsistent, or overly optimistic.
- Vastly improve the accuracy and reliability of your estimates by analyzing multiple, complex factors to forecast real-world outcomes for your software project including costs, schedule, effort, reliability, and risk.
- Establish realistic, integrated life-cycle plans across the span of your project—from the earliest stages of scoping a project, through monitoring and mid-course corrections, until the project is completed and analyzed for historical data.
If Your Estimate is not Credible, Neither is Your Business Case
Estimating project costs and schedules is one of the most difficult analytical challenges faced by project professionals. But unless the estimate helps you make the right decisions for your business, the estimation process is strictly a development exercise for a project manager. SEER for Software enables you to deliver on your business vision by delivering quality software, on time and within budget.
- Understand Total Cost of Ownership, from cradle to grave—SEER for Software helps you estimate development and ongoing maintenance costs, which can be significantly more expensive than initial development costs.
- Identify key factors driving your project cost and schedule—Through its sensitivity analysis, SEER for Software helps you identify which factors have the most impact on the project’s total cost and effort, so you can analyze the optimum trade-offs to better achieve your desired outcome.
- Analyze the validity of an estimate and develop winning proposals—Whether the estimate is yours, a vendor’s, or a competitor’s, SEER for Software lets you perform a “should cost” analysis to ensure you’re making the best buying decisions. Whether you are outsourcing, insourcing, using commercial off the shelf (COTS) components, or developing your own software.
- Eliminate the “single-point-estimate” syndrome, analyze for hidden risks, and mitigate them—All Galorath products expose risks within an estimate through multiple integrated features: the ability to express cost using a range of values (a Least, Likely, and Most value) for each project element; through the built-in and robust Monte Carlo simulation; and by entering a desired confidence (probability) needed for every project element.
- Ensure that you’ve accounted for every parameter using a repeatable, defensible process—SEER for Software includes estimating templates and scenarios that ensure a consistent approach—regardless of the user’s experience—and that take away personal estimation bias.
- Transform an estimate into a realistic, achievable project plan to meet stakeholder expectations—Most organizations build software estimates, but often that estimate is nothing more than a guess which is never refined. Using SEER for Software lets you transform a cost estimate into a detailed, task-oriented project plan in Microsoft Project or Oracle.
Software Estimate to MS Project
- Monitor in-process project performance to guarantee that the project stays on schedule and within budget—SEER Project Monitor & Control features combine traditional performance measurement methods with parametric estimating techniques, enabling project managers to track a software development project’s in-process activities and make appropriate course corrections.
- Make each project prediction more accurate than the last—SEER for Software includes extensive knowledge bases of software development data, applicable to projects across the entire spectrum of business applications as well as embedded software systems. When you use our knowledge bases and then incorporate historical data from your completed software projects, you have just ensured your process is more robust and repeatable. Every time. No matter who is developing the estimate.
SEER for Software contains a wealth of technical features that drive these capabilities, including the following:
- Estimation Scope and Methodology that encompasses estimation throughout the entire lifecycle, using the powerful Galorath knowledge bases, a flexible work breakdown structure, flexible parameter inputs with robust customization, and a built-in Monte Carlo risk analysis.
- Multiple Sizing Methodologies and Comparison Tools giving you the choice to use whatever method your organization deems best, or even multiple methodologies within a single estimate, and comparisons to other estimates and benchmarks.
- Third-Party Integrations and Customizations, including full-featured Microsoft Project integration, open API and COM interface linking, integration with risk estimation tools such as Oracle Crystal Ball, and integration with ISBSG data bases.
- Complete Toolset to Analyze and Report Results, including project monitoring and control, metrics analysis, standard reporting and charting tools, customized reports, and independent verification capabilities.
- Collaboration and Workflows that let you easily share project estimates across your enterprise using a shared database, perform versioning and access control, and configure parameter attributes specifically for your organization.
Why choose SEER for Software?
At Galorath, we recognize that you have choices for project estimating tools and want to help you make the best choice for spending your resources. By choosing SEER for Software, you can be assured of the following:
- Experience—Galorath has a rich heritage and over 30 years of experience in the areas of software project estimation, planning, and control. We’ve spent decades advancing the state-of-the art for parametric estimation, resulting in an experienced and reliable company that is a leader in the estimation field.
- Broad customer base—Regardless of what industry you’re in, SEER for Software can help you with your software development and estimation project. Customers from fields as diverse as government, healthcare, banking, and insurance as well as leading companies in the fields of aerospace and defense have used SEER for Software to deliver projects on time and within budget.
- End-to-end lifecycle support—Although SEER for Software is intuitive and easy to use, we believe that training is an essential component to success. Help desk support as well as software maintenance is included free-of-charge for each licensed user on a 24/7 basis worldwide. Our trained consultant staff has hundreds of years of combined experience in project estimation, cost analysis, and project management standards—all readily available to make your implementation completely successful. Specific services range from process assessment, design, and documentation, to development of detailed estimates.
- Industry recognition—SEER for Software provides the industry’s most comprehensive set of decision-support applications, and is recommended by Gartner in their publication Mastering Software Projects: “Software developers increasingly recognize the importance of good up-front planning for expensive, critical projects. Good Planning includes accurate estimates, which is why many ‘best in class’ development shops rely on Galorath’s SEER for Software software estimation model.”
Don’t let your project be in the 20% of software projects that fail—use SEER for Software to make a realistic, achievable plan that works.
Need More Info?
- See SEER for Software in action—Watch this brief video to see how easy it is to set up a project in SEER for Software.
- SEER for Software Product Brief—This datasheet summarizes the benefits of SEER for Software along with a thorough list of the software features.
- Want an in-person demonstration? Contact us!
SEER for Software is based on sophisticated modeling technology and extensive knowledge bases, along with open architecture, full-featured reporting, graphing, and analysis capabilities.
Estimation Scope and Methodology
- Full Life Cycle Estimation—SEER for Software covers the entire software development life cycle, from developing high-level system requirements, to coding and testing, through maintaining and supporting the application.Maintenance estimates consider growth, change, and defects as well as costs for adaptive, preventive, and perfective maintenance and enhancements.
- Industry-Specific Knowledge Bases—SEER knowledge bases are based on a vast repository of actual project outcomes across a wide breadth of target platform, system application, project size, development methodology, reuse/modification intent, and governing standards. Extensive software project histories, behavioral models, data models, and parametrics are used to derive project estimates. All this data lets you estimate confidently, with as little or as much information as you have available.
- Flexible Work Breakdown Structure—The work breakdown structure lets you estimate an entire system in one element, break it down to logical modules, or decompose into detailed components. You can define elements hierarchically in any way that suits your project, define level of indenture, and define rollups or summation points. Elements can have:
- Parameter Input and Customization—SEER for Software includes numerous parameters with default values initially set by selection of the knowledge bases. Parameters include the following:
- Sizing parameters
- Technology and environment parameters
- Commercial off the shelf (COTS) parameters
- Others such as schedule or economic factors
By using default values, users can create rough order of magnitude (ROM) estimates straight out of the box, avoiding the need for users to adjust parameters ad-hoc. However, users can customize each parameter based on historical data from your organization’s previous projects, environment data, and requirements.
- Built-In Monte Carlo Risk Analysis—Risk analysis of your estimates is built into the estimation process. Because virtually all parameter inputs are expressed as ranges (from least, likely, and most expected values), you can generate estimate ranges for important parameters like schedule, effort, and number of defects, using the robust Monte Carlo simulation tool.
Sizing Software Projects
- Size using your choice of sizing metric—SEER for Software supports numerous logical and physical sizing methods, including the following:
- Traditional source lines of code (SLOC) and function points
- ISO standard function size metrics such as IFPUG
- Technology-specific metrics such as RICEF components for SAP projects and ETL components for data warehousing projects
- Story points
- Use cases
Essentially, if it can be described, then it can be used within the model. You can further refine the estimate by including project constraints such as staffing limitations and schedule requirements.
- Function Based Sizing—SEER for Software contains a unique sizing method designed to make the sizing process easier, based on what the software does. Function Based Sizing uses the main IFPUG function categories, decomposed into simple functions such as number of input screens, printed reports, and menus. It lets you organize the inputs in a coherent, logical format in plain, straightforward language.
- Effective Sizing—Mix size methods within the same project and within a single WBS element. Use different development methods such as Agile and Waterfall in the same model. The SEER model utilizes an effective size, which normalizes programming languages and provides a single size measure for all projects. This common measure provides the continuity required to perform multi-component comparisons and to obtain a common productivity measure.
- Estimate by Comparison—Lets you define software scope through a series of project analogies and comparisons to your own repository of past projects in the SEER Historical data base or to ISBG projects. This helps you develop reliable estimates even when information is scarce.
- Analogy Based Sizing—from completed projects and gives you the ability to allocate the calculated size into both new and pre-existing categories of size. You can automatically estimate the size of a work element based on projects selected from the SEER Historical Database (SEER-HD) (which may include ISBSG projects as well as the user’s past projects). SEER will compute size based on the selected projects' size, and then enter that size in the work element.
- Microsoft Project Integration—Out of the box, SEER for Software automatically constructs a complete project plan from any SEER for Software project estimate. Because of our robust integration with Microsoft Project, you can convert that existing SEER for Software estimate into a detailed, task oriented project plan in Microsoft Project. Or, you can generate full SEER estimates and plans from within the Microsoft Project application—all with just a few simple clicks.
- Open API and COM interface linking—Galorath is a Microsoft Gold Partner and all SEER products are compatible with the Microsoft Office suite. The API is well-documented and available in either a file-based or automation interface; interfaces via web services are also available. Because of its open APIs and the COM (Component Object Model) interface, you can export results to a variety of third-party applications or export to programs such as Microsoft Excel to create unique reports for your organization. SEER may be dynamically linked into Excel so that your Excel report changes dynamically as the SEER estimate is modified.
- Integration with risk estimation tools—SEER fully supports integrations with Oracle Primavera P6, Oracle Crystal Ball, and Palisade @Risk.
- Integration with ISBSG (International Software Benchmarking Standards Group) dataset—The optional integration with the ISBSG database gives you immediate access to an open repository of thousands of software projects. ISBG data lets you analyze individual data points, aggregate data, and benchmark your project’s performance versus industry data. The integration with this recognized 3rd-party historical dataset lets you quickly benchmark your estimates against standardized, verifiable data.
Analyzing and Reporting Results
- Metrics Analysis and Benchmarking—Benchmark your estimates and trends in graphical formats. You can filter project histories to include only the most relevant projects. You can compare your data to industry trend lines and see how your project compares to industry best practices and your own project history.
- Project Monitoring and Control—Assess the health and status of projects underway using the combined power of earned value and parametric estimation. The optional Project Monitoring and Control features will identify which projects are not performing and help identify root causes, allowing for timely course correction. Project progress (planned versus actual) can be described in four areas:
- Activity completion
- Size growth
- Defect discovery and removal
- Standard reporting and charting tools—A variety of standard reports and charts make it easy to understand and to explain your data, including the following, plus many more:
- Size, activity, or labor allocations
- Technology assessment
- Risk analysis
- Benchmark vs. knowledge bases
- Staffing plans
- Project Gantt
- Defect profiles
- Estimate to Complete
- Software metrics
Plot against historical data, perform tradeoff analysis within the model, or compare and contrast the solution to similar previous estimates.
- Create custom reports—Use the Flexible Export (FlexEx) feature to create customer reports from any of the inputs and outputs generated by SEER for Software. Custom reports can be saved as templates and the information seamlessly exported to any number of formats, such as Excel, Crystal Reports, and other Microsoft Office applications.
- Independent Crosscheck and Verification—Optional capability for organizations that require independent oversight. It invokes a separate estimation methodology to calculate as a “sanity check” against initial estimate results.
Collaboration and Workflow
- Enterprise Shared Database—Relational database that stores one or more estimates in a secure repository. Maintain estimates with revisions, locking, and version control. Share by granting access to individuals or groups. Lets you configure management, security, and archiving of project estimates, according to your organization’s workflow process. Access controls include read, write, and viewing permissions. You can set up multiple databases, for example, you could have a database for sandbox, staging, and approved projects. Runs with Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft SQL Server Express (contact us for latest editions supported).
- Configurable Estimate Attributes—Add specific information to each attribute in an estimate to follow your organization’s process. This lets you search for estimates using any combination of attributes. Even if your organization does hundreds of estimates each year, they can be found easily using the specific attribute information you’ve included.
There’s a SEER for Software Edition to Meet Your Needs
All editions contain the vital Software Core that includes industry-specific knowledge bases, industry-leading parametric modeling software, and robust reporting features.
Extended capabilities can be licensed individually or purchased as bundled editions tailored for embedded software or for business and commercial applications.
Every edition of SEER for Software contains the vital Software Core Capabilities that include an easy-to-use graphical user interface, industry-specific knowledge bases, industry-leading parametric modeling software, and robust graphing and reporting features.
Customers developing or evaluating business or commercial applications can take advantage of the Estimating Essentials or Program Essentials versions, which include knowledge bases tailored specifically to the commercial IT environment.
Customers developing or evaluating embedded software systems (aerospace/defense), or customers that might have projects in both commercial IT and embedded software, can take advantage of the Estimator, Project Manager, or Studio versions. These standard editions include knowledge bases for all domains, regardless of software type.
SEER for Software—Commercial Editions
|Estimating Essentials||Program Essentials|
|Software Core Capabilities
- Graphical User Interface
- Software Project Model
- Commercial Software Knowledge Bases
- Graphing & Reporting
|Estimate by Comparison|
|Historical Database & Database Administrator|
|Metrics Analysis & Benchmarking|
|Microsoft Project Integration|
|Project Monitoring & Control||–|
|Enterprise Shared Database|
SEER for Software—Standard Editions
|Software Core Capabilities
- Graphical User Interface
- Software Project Model
- Software Knowledge Bases
- Graphing & Reporting
|Estimate by Comparison|
|Metrics Analysis & Benchmarking|
|Microsoft Project Integration|
|Project Monitoring & Control|
|Enterprise Shared Database|
|Independent Crosscheck & Verification|
SEER for Software is a Windows-based application that is easily installed on standard computers and fits a variety of configurations. We will work with you to determine the best installation options to support your deployment and estimation requirements.
In all cases we recommend that users access a central repository for saving and retrieving estimates and for accessing knowledge bases, templates, and other productivity aids.
Based on user requirements, you may install using either a local or a server configuration.
- Local installation—All files installed on the local PC. All work done on the local PC.
- Server configuration—All files (SEER executable, knowledge bases, project files, etc.) are installed onto a networked server. End users access the SEER application remotely, either through a desktop client or through a thin client (web client).
- Desktop Client— Individual user settings, shortcuts, and links to the networked server are set up on the local machine.
- Web Client—Requires the SEER Browser Edition and configuration services and a Server installation of SEER for Software. End users access the SEER application through a browser.
Customer Success Stories
Problem: Need for measuring productivity improvements in the software development cycle and implementing a new continuous software delivery model.
Results: Significant productivity improvements and reduced the estimation times. Project managers were empowered to perform types of estimation that were previously limited to the “experts.” SEER for Software analysis gave them early visibility into large project risks, allowing them to spend IT dollars as strategically as possible.
Click to see more: TASC Benefits from Improved Productivity and Cost Savings
Problem: Developing software proposals was a complicated, time-consuming process. It required multiple product groups, each with their own estimating methods (so estimates could not be easily compared or combined), multiple management reviews and iterations, requiring a large effort to reconfigure and recheck manual estimation methods, and lengthy explanations required for estimation assumptions that were not fully documented.
Results: SEER for Software let this defense contractor implement a structured approach, dramatically improving the efficiency of the cost estimation process, and saving approximately six man-months per proposal.
Click to see more: Save Six Man-Months per Proposal with Estimation Process
Problem: Social Security Administration (SSA) team needed an accurate software estimating tool that would reduce the number of projects that were “off” by an order of magnitude.
Results: Significant improvement in the order-of-magnitude estimations, leading to the SSA using SEER for Software on dozens of projects, with plans to use it for all software development and maintenance. Using SEER for Software is helping the SSA become compliant with reference models for integrated process improvements (Capability Maturity Model, CMM) that require standard methodologies. SEER for Software lets them estimate the software project's effort and cost according to a documented procedure.
Click here to see other customer success stories:
- Improve Commercial-off-the-Shelf (COTS) Integration Estimates
- Moving Satellite Communications Program to Next Level
- Improve Software Cost Estimating
The Galorath team’s hundreds of years of combined experience in project estimation, process design, cost analysis, project management standards and best practices can make your next software project a success. You can find more information at the following links:
If you’d like to see SEER for Software in action, contact us for a demonstration.