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Functional Size Estimation

DavidIn a recent IEEE Software article*, the authors (Christof Ebert and Hassan Soubra) provide a comprehensive overview of estimating techniques for software maintenance. In particular they focus on the use of functional size measurement (FSM) as a key parameter for successfully estimating a software project.

What may be most refreshing about the article is the candid observations made regarding the realities of project estimating. For example, they make note of the fact that estimates are often confused with goals or plans and failure to understand the gaps among goals, plans and estimates is often the cause of failure. Additionally, they note that FSM can be "tedious and time-consuming" for organizations with a larger number of projects to measure and go on to introduce a selection of automated tools that support FSM.

The article also does a nice job of introducing the COSMIC method of measuring software’s functional user requirements (FUR) for both the business and real-time applications. This supports their premise that estimation has moved away from being about size and is moving towards a greater focus on functional estimates. Our experience at DCG, seeing the widespread use of IFPUG function points, would underscore that premise.

Finally, the authors included a mini case study that helps to further advance the reader's understanding of the use of FSM. All in all, this article is a good read and provides some useful observations and information that anyone interested in sizing and estimating should know.

If you find yourself intereste in more information about COSMIC and Function Point Analysis, look no further, we have an article comparing the two.


David Herron
Vice President, Software Performance Management

* Functional Size Estimation Technologies for Software Maintenance, IEEE Software, 11/2014

Written by David Herron at 05:00

What Purpose do Functional Metrics Play in Newer Frameworks like Agile?

If you’re a member of DCG’s Trusted Advisor (free and open to all!), this month’s report is now available: What Purpose do Functional Metrics Play in Newer Frameworks like Agile?

With Trusted Advisor, members submit questions to a backlog. Each month, members can vote on the question they would like to have researched from the backlog. The question with the most votes is then researched by DCG’s team of experts.

This month’s report analyzes whether lean and/or Agile frameworks negate the need for understanding size; and, if they do negate the need, whether or not there is a replacement.

To sign up for Trusted Advisor and access this report (including sources), contact Fiona Thompson at 610-644-2856, ext.21 or info@davidconsultinggroup.com.

Previous reports, which can be accessed only by members, include:

  • Can we compare Cosmic Function Points to IFPUG Function Points and is there a correlation?
  • How can we run waterfall and Agile in Parallel?

DCG’s Trusted Advisor service addresses the complex concerns IT professionals face, providing easy-to-understand research that guides decision-making and offers a competitive advantage.


Sarah Weddle
Marketing Associate / Social Media Specialist

Written by Michael D. Harris at 08:23
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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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