A unique, comprehensive study of "the Best and Worst in Class" for software development projects was released by Quantitative Software Management, Inc., The results offer useful insights, including the fact that the best in class projects are 3.37 times faster to market and 7.48 times cheaper than the worst. QSM, which has been compiling detailed data across all major industry segments for nearly 20 years, said the study represents the latest three-year time slice for the data.

The costs and duration associated with being "best" or "worse" are dramatic: the construction and test portion (the build phase) of the project for best in class was around 3.6 months/$200,000, while the worst in class took a year and rang up $1.4 million. The total lifecycle costs (the requirements analysis plus the build phase) are also meaningful: just above 7.5 months/$300,000 total for the best in class, the worst in class taking over two years at a budget-busting $2.2 million.

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