Function Point Analysis: What We Offer

The ability to accurately size software is a critical aspect of managing and controlling successful project delivery. DCG is the leading providing of Functional Sizing services. We offer a variety of sizing techniques, including Function Point Analysis, FP Lite, Quick and Early Function Points (QEFP) and COSMIC.

Of course, the question you care most about is, "Why should I bother with Functional Sizing?" Here's why:

  • You have the ability to compare the size of your software deliverables, which helps with determining priority and schedules.
  • You have the ability to make more precise project estimates (both in terms of time and cost).
  • You have the ability to see how your projects fare compared to industry benchmark data.
  • You have the ability to more appropriately set user expectations (both in terms of time and cost).
  • Ultimately, you have a well-defined currency for measuring the value delivered to an end user.

How do you capture the value of Functional Sizing and where do you start? Here's where we can help.

To start, we offer training classes to help you and your team learn about function points and execute function point counts:

  • CFPS Prep: Our preparation course for the Certified Function Point Specialist (CFPS) Examination is intended to refresh participants on the fundamentals of counting and applying function points for their certification exam. (PMI-certified for 8.00 credits)
  • Function Point Fundamentals: Our course provides you with the opportunity to learn and apply Function Point counting techniques.
  • Function Points: Advanced: Our course accelerates your comprehension of the Function Point Analysis technique through intensive instruction and hands-on practical application.
  • Quick and Early Function Points: Our course provides easy-to-understand concepts and easy-to-use techniques for sizing units of work to support estimating and measuring progress during Agile sprints and traditional lifecycles.

Looking for more than just training? That's where our Function Point Analysis Center of Excellence (COE) comes in. This is a pre-packaged solution for developing an internal framework to execute sizing in your organization. We work with you to build the framework, and then we run the Center of Excellence until your team has the time and resources necessary to run it in-house.

Need more information? Your first stop should be the International Function Point Users Group (IFPUG), a non-profit and leader in promoting and encouraging the use of Function Point Analysis and other software measurement techniques.

You can also find a number of DCG-authored books on Amazon:

  • Measuring The Software Process: A Practical Guide (David Garmus and David Herron). Order now.
  • Function Point Analysis: Measurement Practices for Successful Software Projects (David Garmus and David Herron). Order now.
  • IT Measurement: Practical Advice from the Experts(IFPUG with DCG contributions). Order now.
  • The IFPUG Guide to IT and Software Measurement (IFPUG with DCG contributions). Order now.

If you have any questions or just want more information about Functional Sizing, just let us know via email or in the comments below!

 

Written by Default at 05:00
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Are There Other Types of Function Points?

IFPUG

We're proponents of COSMIC and IFPUG function points, but there are other types of function points out there. Our latest Trusted Advisor report outlines the various types of function points and evaluates the pros and cons of each type.

If you're interested in function points, then this report is for you!

Trusted Advisor is open to all IT professionals. Though the reports are available to anyone via our website, members of Trusted Advisor can submit the questions that generate each month's report.

Interested in joining Trusted Advisor? Email Mike Harris for more information.

Read the Report.

Written by Default at 05:00

SNAP with DCG

Why use the Software Non-Functional Assessment Process (SNAP)? Do you want to:

  • Better plan and estimate projects?
  • Identify areas of process improvement?
  • Quantify the impacts of the current non-functional strategies?
  • Provide specific data when communicating non-functional issues? 

Of course you do! And DCG can help. We’re available to conduct SNAP project or application counts, which measure the size of your software using SNAP points.

Even better, the SNAP framework can be used in conjunction with function points to provide insight into the delivery of projects and maintenance of applications, to assist in project estimating and to provide insights for the analysis of quality and productivity performance.

Already using SNAP? Then consider contributing to the SNAP Data Repository, which DCG is building to analyze SNAP data and provide benchmarks for performance and improvement. All those who share their data will receive a full analysis of all submitted data every January and June.

If you’re just looking for some SNAP-related information before you commit to anything, don’t worry, we have that too:

If you still have questions, that’s okay too! We’re happy to help. Leave a comment below or shoot us an email; we’re happy to discuss all things SNAP!

 

Written by Default at 05:00

Function Point Counting for Agile Projects

When counting function points for Agile projects, all of the IFPUG standard counting rules apply; the level of information and the intent for the use of that information is where the differences come in. For an Agile project, we typically execute one of two scenarios: counting at the project level or counting at the sprint level. The key deciding factor used to determine the appropriate counting scenario is when the new code will be delivered to the users.

Project Level

Project-level analysis is performed at the same level of counting that is typically used in any waterfall project, where delivery of executable code is at the end of the project cycle. Counting at the project level is consistent with IFPUG guidelines – it is also the preferred method for those who have an existing function point process in place, as it provides an apples-to-apples comparison. Overall, the process is unchanged, everything continues as it always has.

Sprint Level

In this scenario, individual sprints are counted as if each were an independent mini-project. In each sprint, we count the functions as features (stories) that have been delivered to the user by the end of that sprint. Any features (stories) that are still in progress and have been carried over into the next sprint are excluded from the count for that sprint. As expected, features are included in the sprint in which they are delivered.

Summary

Counting at the sprint level, in our experience, is not a common practice. This is particularly evident when a project-level function point program is in place. Comparison between existing project-level counts and sprint-level counts is not easily done; the sum of the parts (sprints) does not equal the whole (project). Within an Agile project, a single transaction may be touched and delivered as part of one or many sprints, resulting in what would be considered over counting, when comparing to a project-level count. Although they are not interchangeable, both scenarios are useful depending on the level of information desired.


Toni Ramos
CFPS

Written by Toni Ramos at 05:00
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How to Sell Function Points To Your Manager

DavidAs one of the premier consulting companies offering function point sizing services, the consultants at David Consulting Group are all too familiar with the variety of challenges of “selling” function points to an organization. A common scenario involves a client or prospect who is reasonably well informed about function points, has a defined need, but who has yet to obtain management buy-in and funding.  So, the challenge becomes figuring out how to sell function points to the management team – or in your case, to your manager.

Don’t worry, I’m here to help! Here are my five tips for helping you to establish the value proposition of using function points.

Step 1. Know What You Are Selling  

Assuming that you are familiar with the function point method and are comfortable/confident with discussing the topic, your first thought may be to prepare a presentation on function points as an initial step in your quest to sell your manager on the idea. That would be ill advised.  Function Point Analysis is not an easy sell.

I advise you to present a case for sizing your software as opposed to a discussion on function point counting your software. Trying to understand the function point method takes time and distracts from the conversation you really want to be having. But sizing (which is what function points is all about) is a term or a word that everyone can readily understand and relate to. Simply stating that size is the key to successfully managing software deliverables will most likely ring true with your manager, allowing you to carry on with making your case for sizing (via function points).

Step 2. Know Why Sizing is Important  

Size is important in so many ways. You need to be able to convey these reasons to your manager, so that he too understands the value that sizing offers. Sizing is important because:

  • It offers a basis for comparison among various software deliverables.
  • It is a key input parameter for estimating.
  • It is a normalizing factor for productivity and quality measures.
  • It is a critical measure of software process effectiveness.
  • It offers the ability to compare your software to industry benchmarks.
  • It allows for the proper setting of end user expectations regarding the anticipated size of the software deliverable.

This step is where you begin to lay the groundwork for introducing sizing into the organization. For each of the activities noted above (and many others), size plays a key role. Without a proper sizing technique, you cannot effectively measure performance or accurately estimate a project delivery schedule.

Step 3. Provide Proper Context  

Using the information noted above, or from some similar perspective, discuss sizing in the context of an issue that is important to your manager and to the organization. Whether it is improved estimating, benchmarking performance or managing vendor deliverables, make your case for sizing in the context of what your manager considers to be important. Talk about the challenges and solutions that will resonate with your management team. The conversation does not necessarily need to center around sizing techniques per se. If there is an important initiative that can benefit from the effective deployment of a sizing measure, then that is where you should lead the conversation.

Step 4. Know Your Audience 

You are selling the idea of sizing to someone who most likely has a different agenda than you do. You need to make sure that you are presenting to your manager a potential solution to what he considers to be his challenges, not yours. This may take several conversations as you listen to what your management team considers to be its challenges, goals and objectives. The most common hurdle will be one of limited resources, including budgeted dollars. This may necessitate making a business case as part of your sizing proposal.

Step 5. Understand That It Is Always About the Business  

At the end of the day, a decision to move forward with anything new comes down to determining what impact it will have on the bottom line. That is a key reason as to why a conversation about function points will not go as far as a conversation, for example,  about improving project delivery through improved estimating techniques and being able to more accurately predict delivery dates and satisfy customer expectations. Always consider and speak to how this change can benefit the business.

Following these five steps will not guarantee success each and every time, but they will help you to better position your case for function point sizing. If you still get a “no,” you will most likely have a better understanding of what needs to change in the future in order to secure a “yes.”


David Herron
Vice President, Software Performance Management

Written by David Herron at 05:00
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"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
- Mike Harris, DCG Owner

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