Is Function Point Analysis Valuable in an Agile Environment?

Tony MannoMany organizations are embracing Agile as their development framework of choice. The Agile project team, consisting of a Product Owner, Scrum Master and developers, creates and prioritizes user stories, which describe the functionality to be delivered by completion of the task/story. The team plans and executes in sprints to develop and implement functionality for each user story, and updates and reprioritizes the backlog of user stories (backlog grooming) for each subsequent sprint. By working in this way, Agile provides faster realization of value through incremental delivery of functionality, prioritizing the deliverables that will have the most impact. It involves the user in the development process, reduces risk by identifying issues earlier in the project lifecycle and embraces change throughout the project. It’s easy to understand why it’s become such a popular framework!

As in traditional waterfall, Agile project teams have a responsibility to the business to deliver on time and within budget. An estimate of the overall project spend and schedule can be done at the beginning of the Agile project and modified throughout the lifecycle to ensure accuracy as project requirements change. Project metrics can be derived at the end of the project and compared within the company portfolio or to industry benchmarks. But, the question is how to do this.

The answer, of course, is Function Point Analysis. Function Point Analysis is a standardized method for measuring the functionality delivered to a user, independent of technology. It works well for Agile and traditional waterfall projects. Function Point Analysis can be used at the beginning of an Agile project, once the user stories have been defined. Cost and duration estimates can be derived for the overall project from the function point counts using well defined, industry proven models and software. At the end of the project, metrics such as productivity, defect density and time-to-market are valuable in the Agile environment as within waterfall. These metrics allow measurement for internal improvement initiatives, contract compliance and comparison to industry benchmarks.

Estimation and project metrics based on functional sizing are good practices, regardless of the delivery framework used. They allow the project team to provide the business with realistic expectations of project cost and duration and to measure themselves against improvement goals and the industry.

For more insight on the use of function points in an Agile environment, check out the July 2015 DCG Trusted Advisor report, “Story Points or Function Points or Both?”

Tony Manno
Vice President, Outsourced Services

Written by Tony Manno at 09:46
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Hala Osman said...
I agree with you in the most you said we can use Function Points in agile projects, but it's require some modification and enhancements. I'm working on agile measurement with Function Point ; on my work , I try to extract FP types count from user stories and tasks.depends on three real case studies; many difficulties exist when some are metrics to estimate the size and cost of agile software by using traditional metrics such as FP, COCOMO; due to the nature of agile software. also; according to DCG Trusted Advisor report, “Story Points or Function Points or Both?” Function points require a more detailed examination of the information (stories) available and achieving reproducible counts requires expertise and practice. my work conclude that it's clearly that FP in its original form is not appropriate metrics to estimate agile software sizing. So; there is a real need to enhance FP by modifying and replacing the unadjusted and adjusted So; there is a real need to enhance FP by modifying and replacing the unadjusted and adjusted FP for mainstreaming with agile software environment.
June 10, 2017 05:57
Function points are easy to integrate into sprint planning so that the planning discussion can focus on something other than size (like complexity and capability).
January 5, 2016 10:21


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