Management of Uncertainty in Software Economics        It's all about making ship happen.      

M.U.S.E focuses on the following concrete results

  • Comprehending and quantifying the inherent uncertainty involved in software engineering
  • Exploring management approaches and solutions to dealing with the uncertainty
  • Challenges of modern software engineering including
    • Offshore development
    • Buy versus Build
    • Team dynamics
    • Product strategy


Software engineering has suffered from a history of failing to meet delivery expectations.  Various surveys show that upwards of 80% of projects are challenged to meet delivery expectations.  While some surveys show some improvements over the years, they still show that overall the industry suffers from challenges with uncertainty and estimation.  And while there has been a significant focus on the challenges associated with software delivery, often the biggest uncertainty is on the value side of the equation.  Even with so many "challenged" projects, software has made a transformational impact on society.  In this project we explore the challenges of managing software projects and the delivery of value facing the reality of uncertainty on both value and cost.


Name Affiliation Phone  
Prof. Dr. C. Verhoef VU +31 20 5987760 Thesis advisor
Todd Little IHS +1 713 504 5365 Ph.D. candidate

Key Publications by Todd Little
To Estimate or #NoEstimates, that is the Question ” T. Little, C. Verhoef,  submitted to IEEE Software for publication
Leveraging Global Talent for Effective Test Agility ” T. Little,  Experience Report presented at Agile2012, August 2012, Dallas
Integrating Software by Integrating People” T. Little,  Experience Report presented at Agile2008, August 2008, Toronto
Determining IT's Strategic and Tactical Roles,” N. Nicholiasen, P Pixton, and T. Little,  Cutter IT Journal, July 2007, Vol. 20, No. 7.
Assessing the Cost of Outsourcing: Efficiency, Effectiveness and Risk,” T. Little,  IEEE EQUITY 2007, March 2007, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Project Leadership in the Future,” T. Little and Ole Jepsen, 2006.
The Declaration of Interdependence for Project Leadership,” February 2006,  Seattle, WA.
Software Schedule Estimation and Uncertainty Surrounding the Cone of Uncertainty,” T. Little,  IEEE Software, May 2006, Vol. 23, No. 3.
Context Adaptive Agility: Managing Complexity and Uncertainty,” T. Little,  IEEE Software, April 2005, Vol. 22, No. 2.
A Portfolio Management Perspective of Outsourcing,” T. Little, Software Test Managers Workshop (STMR), May 2004, Melbourne, FL.
Adaptive Agility: Managing Complexity and Uncertainty,” T. Little, F. Greene, T. Phillips, R. Pilger and R. Poldervaart, Agile Software Development Conference, June 2004, Salt Lake City, UT.
Value Creation and Capture, a Model of the Software Development Process,” T. Little, IEEE Software, June 2004, Vol. 21, No. 2.
"Exploration and Real Options as an Analogy for Software Development,” T. Little, Agile Software Development Conference, June 2003, Salt Lake City, UT.

Earlier Publications by Todd Little
"Buy, Build, Beg or Borrow: Delivering Applications in the New Age of Software Development”, T. Little and S. Webb, SPE 38120, SPE Computer Applications, December 1997.
“SAVE: An Alliance for Reservoir Simulation Software Integration”, H. Haringa, T. Little, A. Austin, R. Aydelotte, SPE 36759, Journal of Petroleum Technology,
“Implementing Virtual Reality Interfaces for the Geosciences”, W. Bethel, J. Jacobsen, A. Austin, M. Lederer, T. Little, Norwegian Society of Chartered Engineers and Ostfold Research Foundation Virtual Reality in GeoSciences Conference Proceedings, June 1996, Halden, Norway.
“An Object Oriented Solution to an Interdisciplinary 3D Visualization Tool”, C. Sinclair, T. Little, M.A. Rahi, SPE 27545, 1994 European Petroleum Computer Conference Proceedings, March 1994. Subsequently published in SPE Computer Applications, June 1995, Volume 7, Number 3.
"Buy don’t Build - What does that Mean for a Software Developer”, T. Little, M.A. Rahi, C. Sinclair, SPE 28255, 1994 Petroleum Computer Conference Proceedings, July 1994. Subsequently published as SPE 30886, Journal of Petroleum Technology, June 1995, Volume 47, Number 6.
“Migrating Legacy Petroleum Engineering Applications to Open Systems Environments”, T.Little, D. Chien, M.A. Rahi, C. Sinclair, SPE 27560, 1994 European Petroleum Computer Conference Proceedings, March 1994. Subsequently published in SPE Computer Applications, June 1996, Volume 8, Number 3.

Related Publications

Quantifying forecast quality of IT business value, J.L. Eveleens, M. van der Pas, C. Verhoef
IT Forecast Quality in Measure and Number, J. Laurenz Eveleens
Quantifying IT forecast quality, J.L. Eveleens, C. Verhoef
The Rise and Fall of the Chaos Report Figures, J.L. Eveleens, C. Verhoef
Estimating Agile Software Project Effort: An Empirical Study, L Cao

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Todd Little     toddelittle@gmail.com