For Redeia, Red Eléctrica de España, being able to determine the functional size of the software product is a determining factor when it comes to obtaining the optimal cost of software development. The metrics based on the software product unit allow successful governance of relationships with suppliers, facilitating the efficiency and quality of developments. José Antonio Paso Cañabate, Responsible for Management of AM Services, clarifies how they have managed to improve the cost of their developments in the midst of a pandemic and how they continue to improve them. Give us a brief presentation of Redeia and its position in the Spanish market. 37 years ago we were born as the first TSO (Transmission System Operator) in the world. Since then, we have grown with a vocation for service, technological excellence and with a culture based on diversity and equal opportunities. Today we are a solid and diversified group with a purpose: to guarantee electricity supply and connectivity, promoting a fair ecological transition with sustainability criteria, valuing our neutrality and contributing to social and territorial cohesion. We continue to drive change.
How have they managed to improve the cost of their developments in the midst of a pandemic and in an unexpected teleworking scenario?
The success has been due not to decisions during the pandemic, but also to the decision we made before it to rationalize the estimation of software developments through an objective measure based on the functional size of the software product. We had been noticing problems in defining an objective cost of software development. It has always been a task in which the values obtained from the estimates of the suppliers were under a feeling of uncertainty about whether they represented reality or not. By implementing an estimation methodology based on the functional size of the software product, we have been able to establish a known, transparent method that now allows the process to be reviewed and contrasted without the previous complications, determining the cost in a standardized and fair way for both parties. of the developments. As the method allows us to apply it regardless of the composition and work of the teams: waterfall, agile, with face-to-face work, with remote work, with hybrid work, … it has helped us to improve even in such an unpredictable scenario as it was, and it is being the pandemic, and it allows us to continue improving now in a post-covid scenario.
Is software vendor relationship governance important to succeed in the current uncertain post-Covid situation?
Supplier relationship governance is important in any setting. Not paying attention to what happens with the creation of your software, the main tool that makes your core work, does not make much sense. We have been clear about it and the results prove us right. In these times of widespread telework change where we have gone from living and working at home, to teleworking and hybrid models, there is a need to worry and take care of it more comprehensively. And you have to take care not to make behavior ugly, but to be able to deploy all the potential at the right cost. We believe in establishing relationships of trust with suppliers. But those relationships must be based on facts that build such trust and facts supported by performance data achieved and treasured through responsible government.
What does the project that you have been carrying out with LedaMC consist of in relation to software development productivity control?
For years, at Redeia we have implemented an estimation model based on the functional size of the software product (function points). Since the end of 2019, we decided that the management of this model would be assumed by LedaMC, since it is a company highly specialized in these methodologies and with extensive experience in different clients of our characteristics throughout the world.
Redeia, save costs in a pandemic and continue at it
Currently, the management that LedaMC is in charge of is that related to support in the economic contracting of software developments, reviewing the estimates that the providers deliver and ensuring that the estimation methodology defined in Redeia is correctly applied, as well as that the productivities used correspond to those established in each of the Application Maintenance contracts. Another point that is quite useful for us is that they help us define an initial cost range for projects for new tenders. In other words, LedaMC helps us define how much the development of a tender would cost according to the current market based on business requirements. This calculation allows us to discern which of the subjective proposals made by suppliers based on the experience of their own teams are adequate and which are not acceptable.
Is IT project cost efficiency more necessary than ever? Do Apps like Quanter help us to better fulfill this scenario?
The world situation we are experiencing is showing us that efficiency is not something we can do without in our day to day. In a situation where we want to improve the efficiency of our software development, the first step is to unify the collection of estimates in a single place, accessible to all and that brings to light everything we are working on. The second step is to use a standardized, reliable, auditable and, above all, reliable method. At this point, Quanter facilitates this operation, since it has a unified repository in the cloud where it is possible to consult all the estimates at any time and from any platform. It is a single entry and exit point that allows us to centralize all the information that would otherwise lead to a mass of emails that would be difficult to manage. In other words, it allows us to establish in an App the approval workflow of our estimates in a visual and simple way. And as for the estimation method, it includes the standard functional measurement method of the market that we use.
What elements of value does the adoption of the LedaMC model bring to Redeia?
The main value we have obtained is to ensure that the applied methodology is rigorous and homogeneous for all development providers. This achieves savings in software development costs. Although the providers are aware of the methodology and have applied it for a long time, it was not always used in a homogeneous way given the diversity of roles that participated. By being centralized in specialist consultants and certified in IFPUG (International Function Points User Group), this heterogeneity is corrected, and it is also done in a more efficient and scalable way, allowing internal capacity to be freed up that can be dedicated to other activities with greater visibility to the business areas served by the IT area. On the other hand, LedaMC’s knowledge of Agile environments allows us to extend these practices to these developments, taking into account their special characteristics, seeking to continually improve without hindering the process. And as I said at the beginning, this is a process of continuous evolution where LedaMC’s experience is being decisive in being able to adjust the model to each of the new scenarios and situations that we find ourselves in. It is an enriching and exciting process where we are all achieving better levels of performance.