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Reference Library
Project Estimation

This page provides access to a variety of downloadable papers that address estimation for software projects issues. The following topics are considered:

Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO)
Cost Estimating Handbook

Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO)

Calibrating the COCOMO II Post - Architecture Model [PDF]
Sunita Devnani-Chulani, Bradford Clark and Barry Boehm

The COCOMO II model was created to meet the need for a cost model that accounted for future software development practices. This resulted in the formulation of three submodels for cost estimation, one for composing applications, one for early lifecycle estimation and one for detailed estimation when the architecture of the product is understood. This paper describes the calibration procedures for the last model, Post-Architecture COCOMO II model, from eighty-three observations. The results of the multiple regression analysis and their implications are discussed.

COCOMO II Model Definition Manual [PDF]
Author Unknown

This paper is divided into two parts with the first being the overall model definition. Topics include: COCOMO II models for the software marketplace sectors. Development effort estimates, software economies and diseconomies of scale, adjusting nominal effort, and development schedule estimation. The second part focuses on using COCOMO II with the following topics: determining size, breakage, adjusting for reuse, adjusting for re-engineering or conversion, applications maintenance, and effort multipliers.

10. Quantifying Soft Factors [PDF]
Steven C. McConnell

This paper discusses studies of how human factors influence software effectiveness. Areas discussed are: personnel factors, problem programmers, physical environment, motivation, and staff seniority.

Software Estimation [PDF]
Dave Srulowitz, Mike Bandor and Vic Helbling

This slide presentation covers COCOMO, and COCOMO II.

The COCOMO 2.0 Software Cost Estimation Model [PDF]
Barry Boehm, Bradford Clark, Ellis Horowitz, Chris Westland, Ray Madachy and Richard Selby

This paper provides an overview of the baseline COCOMO 2.0 model tailored to these new forms of software development, including rationales for the model decisions. The major new modeling capabilities of COCOMO 2.0 are a tailorable family of software sizing models, involving Object Points, Function Points, and Source Lines of Code; nonlinear models for software reuse and reengineering; an exponent-driver approach for modeling relative software diseconomies of scale; and several additions, deletions, and updates to previous COCOMO effort-multiplier cost drivers. This model is serving as a framework for an extensive current data collection and analysis effort to further refine and calibrate the model's estimation capabilities.

The Rosetta Stone
Making COCOMO 81 Estimates Work with COCOMO II [PDF]

Donald J. Reifer, Barry W. Boehm and Sunita Chulani

As part of the COCOMO research team at the Center for Software Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) efforts to help Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO), they have developed the Rosetta Stone to convert COCOMO 81 files to run using the new COCOMO II software cost estimating model. The Rosetta Stone is extremely important because it allows users to update estimates made with the earlier version of the model so that they can take full advantage of the many new features incorporated into the COCOMO II package. This article describes both the Rosetta Stone and guidelines to make the job of conversion easy.

Reference Manual [PDF]

University of Southern California

This manual discusses the COCOMO model and the interactive COCOMO program. Other chapters include: file menu, edit menu, parameters menu, calibrate menu, phase distribution, and maintenance.

'Why COCOMO Works' Revisited or Feedback Control as a Cost Factor [PDF]
Juan F. Ramil

Evidence emerging from diverse studies suggests that feedback mechanisms influence software process behavior, its dynamics and performance, including software project cost performance and project duration, but none of the current algorithmic cost estimation approaches appears, at least explicitly, to account for such influence. Why, in spite of this, do algorithmic approaches provide satisfactory estimates? Why do they work? This paper discusses some possible answers that at the present must only be taken as hypotheses, and provides suggestions for further investigation of the topic.

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Cost Estimating Handbook

Parametric Cost Estimating Handbook [DOC]
Department of Defense

This Handbook includes basic information concerning data collection, Cost Estimating Relationship (CER) development, parametric cost models, and statistical techniques.This entire document can be found at the Parametric Cost Estimating Handbook Page or downloaded Parametric Cost Estimating Handbook [ZIP].

Table of Contents [DOC]
Department of Defense

The table of contents for the Parametric Cost Estimating Handbook.

Preface [DOC]
Department of Defense

A preface to the Parametric Cost Estimating Handbook.

Foreword [DOC]
Department of Defense

A foreword to the Parametric Cost Estimating Handbook.

Chapter 1
Introduction, Background, and Definitions [DOC]

Department of Defense

This chapter introduces the Handbook and also defines parametric cost estimate. The origins of parametric cost estimating are also discussed. A definition of parametric estimating is given and a reference to a glossary of parametric terminology is made.

Chapter II
Collection and Normalization of Parametric Data [DOC]

Department of Defense

This chapter provides guidelines concerning data types, data sources, data normalization and adjustment techniques.

Chapter III
Elementary Statistical Techniques and CER Development [DOC]

Department of Defense

This chapter discusses Cost Estimation Relations (CERs) and explains some simple and widely used mathematical and statistical techniques.

Chapter IV
Hardware Cost Modeling[DOC]

Department of Defense

This chapter gives an overview of hardware cost modeling, discusses micro-circuit and electronic module modeling, three commercial hardware cost estimation models (FASTE, PRICE, SEER), regression-based product specific cost models, non-commercial cost models, non-statistical cost models, model calibration, and cost model audit and analysis.

Chapter V
Software Parametric Cost Estimating [DOC]

Department of Defense

This chapter explains the software development process, the software cost estimating process, parametric software cost estimating tools, and model calibration and provides examples of parametric software cost estimating.

Chapter VI
Auditing Parametric Estimates
A Management Viewpoint [DOC]

Department of Defense

This chapter contains a paper by Michael Thibault, Deputy Director of the DCAA. This paper provides background from an auditor's point of view on auditing parametric cost estimating techniques.

Chapter VII
Business Applications of Parametric Estimating [DOC]

Department of Defense

This chapter discusses parametric estimation in new business development, estimating production buys using parametrics, and estimating spares and change orders.

Appendix A
Definitions of Estimating Terminology [DOC]

Department of Defense

Many different terms of estimating terminology are listed.

Appendix B
Work Breakdown Structure [DOC]

Neil F. Albert

This appendix discusses the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) which is a universal format for collecting technical and cost information. The background of WBS, and WBS structure development are discussed.

Appendix C
DCAA CAM 9-1000 Section 10
Review of Parametric Cost Estimates [DOC]

Department of Defense

This appendix contains an excerpt from the Defense Contract Audit Agency Contract Audit Manual.

Appendix D
More About Statistics [DOC]

Department of Defense

This appendix discusses other statistical topics including: Z-scores, error, sample size, confidence intervals, confidence intervals for means (small samples), and analysis of variance and the F statistic.

Appendix E
Examples of Other Hardware Estimating Models
From the Space Systems Cost Analysis Group [DOC]

Department of Defense

Many hardware models are described including: Advance Missions Cost Model (AMCM), Aerospace Small Satellite Cost Model (SSCM), Aerospace Launch Vehicle Cost Model (LVCM), and Unmanned Spacecraft Cost Model, Sixth Edition, Nov 1988 (USCM6).

Appendix F
Some Currently Available Software Estimation Products
Produced by the Software Subgroup of the Space Systems Cost Analysis Group [DOC]

Department of Defense

Many software estimation products are described including: PRICE-S, REVIC, SASET, SEER-SEM, SLIM, and SoftCost-R & SoftCost-Ada.

Appendix G
Parametric Estimating System Checklist [DOC]

Department of Defense

This appendix contains: a checklist for elements of good estimating practice, a checklist for indicators of estimating capability, and a managers checklist for validating cost and schedule estimates.

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A Review of Studies on Expert Estimation of Software Development Effort [PDF]
M. Jorgensen

This paper provides an extensive review of studies related to expert estimation of software development effort. The main goal and contribution of the review is to support the research on expert estimation, e.g., to ease other researcher's search for relevant expert estimation studies. In addition, the author provides software practitioners with useful estimation guidelines, based on the research-based knowledge of expert estimation processes.

Cost Estimation and Evolvability Monitoring for Software Evolution Processes [PDF]
J.F. Ramil and M.M. Lehman

This paper discusses cost estimation in the evolution context, and evolvablity monitoring.

Large Limits to Software Estimation [PDF]
J.P. Lewis

This paper looks at software estimation from the point of view of algorithmic or KCS (Kolmogorov-Chaitin-Solomonoff) complexity. Section two introduces the notion of algorithmic complexity. In sections three and four find that algorithmic complexity results can be directly interpreted as indicating that software complexity, development schedules, and productivity cannot be objectively and feasibly estimated and so will remain a matter of opinion. Section five considers approximate and statistical estimators.

Requirements - based Estimation of Change Costs [PDF]
Luigi Lavazza and Giuseppe Valetto

This paper presents a case study that aims at quantitative assessment of the impact of requirements changes, and quantitative estimation of costs of the development activities that must be carried out to accomplish those changes. The authors approach is based on enhanced traceability and an integrated view of the process and product models. The elements in the process and product models are quantitatively characterized through proper measurement, thus achieving a sound basis for different kinds of sophisticated analysis concerning the impact of requirements changes and their costs.

Software Cost Estimation [PDF]
Hareton Leung and Zhang Fan

Software cost estimation is the process of predicting the effort required to develop a software system. Many estimation models have been proposed over the last 30 years. This paper provides a general overview of software cost estimation methods including the recent advances in the field. As a number of these models rely on a software size estimate as input, the authors first provide an overview of common size metrics. They then highlight the cost estimation models that have been proposed and used successfully.

Software Estimation Perspectives [PDF]
Barry W. Boehm and Richard E. Fairley

This article discusses understating estimation and orienting the estimation approach to what it will be used for. The article also lists several decision support uses software estimation techniques can have.

Software Project Estimation [PDF]
Kathleen Peters

This article on project estimation includes the following topics: four basic steps in software project estimation, working backwards from available time, understanding an estimate's accuracy, the trouble with estimates, maintenance and enhancement projects vs. new development, estimating small projects, estimating a "new domain" project, some estimating tips, and software project estimation tools.

The Cost of Co-ordination in Software Engineering [PDF]
Claudine Toffolon and Salem Dakhli

The management of dependencies between stakeholders activities corresponds to the co-ordination process. This process plays a key role in software engineering notably because of the large use of networks, distributed computing and groupware technology. In this paper, the authors propose a framework for estimating the cost of co-ordination activities inherent in software engineering. This framework defines the concept of coordination in software engineering and proposes a typology of co-ordination tasks.

The Limits of CBR in Software Project Estimation [PDF]
Sarah Jane Delany, Pádraig Cunningham and Wolfgang Wilke

There are several reports in the literature on the use of CBR in project cost estimation. Research described to date has focused on applications late in the development life cycle and in a narrow domain. In this paper the authors describe existing research and explore the use of CBR beyond these limits. They look at the use of CBR for estimation earlier in the life cycle and for use in broader domains where more abstract remindings need to be supported.

Value Based Software Engineering [DOC]
Barry Boehm, Dan Port and Kevin Sullivan

This white paper: analyzes the sources of software project failure in the Standish Report, and shows that many of the failed projects were caught in the vise of value-insensitive software engineering, discusses promising research ideas for improving our capability to perform VBSE, and presents a roadmap for making progress toward VBSE and its resulting benefits.

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An Architectural Approach to Software Cost Modeling [PDF]
Jai Asundi, Rick Kazman and Mark Klein

This paper on architectural approach to software cost modeling includes the following topics: problem framework, developing a cost estimate, determining the stimulus/response characteristics from architectural decisions, making value judgments based on stimulus/response characteristics, importance of choosing an appropriate time scale, and developing tools for analysis.

An Assessment and Comparison of Common Software Cost Estimation Modeling Techniques [PDF]
Lionel C. Briand, Khaled El Emam, Dagmar Surmann, Isabella Wieczorek and Katrina Maxwell

This paper investigates two essential questions related to data-driven, software cost modeling: (1) What modeling techniques are likely to yield more accurate results when using typical software development cost data? and (2) What are the benefits and drawbacks of using organization-specific data as compared to multi-organization databases?

Experiences Using Case - Based Reasoning to Predict Software Project Effort [PDF]
Gada Kadoda, Michelle Cartwright, Liguang Chen and Martin Shepperd

This paper explores some of the practical issues associated with the use of case-based reasoning (CBR) or estimation by analogy. The authors note that different research teams have reported widely differing results with this technology. Whilst they accept that underlying characteristics of the datasets being used play a major role they also argue that configuring a CBR system can also have an impact. They examine the impact of the choice of number of analogies when making predictions; they also look at different adaptation strategies. Their analysis is based on a dataset of software projects collected by a Canadian software house.

Modeling Development Effort in Object - Oriented Systems Using Design Properties [PDF] *FEE*
Lionel C. Briand and Jürgen Wüst

In this paper the authors examine the relationships between design product properties and the development effort for a class. The authors then propose an analysis and modeling procedure that investigates relationships between effort and design structural properties.

Modern Empirical Cost and Schedule Estimation Tools
A DACS State-of-the-Art Report [PDF]

Thomas McGibbon

This reports lists some world wide Web resources for COCOMO, function points, and software cost estimating tools. A comparison is made next including: COCOMO 1.1, COCOMO 2.0, Putnam Software Equation, PRICE-S, and Function Point Cost Estimation.

Predicting Software System Development Effort Very Early in the Life - Cycle Using IDEF0 and IDEF1X Models [PDF]
Warren Rost Bennett, Jr.

This research addresses the estimation of software system development effort in the very early phases of software system development using IDEF0 function models and IDEF1X data models in a U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) development environment.

Report on Project Management and Software Cost Estimation Technologies [PDF]
Software Technology Support Center

This report contains a project management technology domain tutorial. This report also discusses the state of the project management technology domain, and applications of project management technology. Software estimation technology, product management and software cost estimation technology, and product sheets are also included.

Sizing Software with Testable Requirements [PDF]
Peter B. Wilson

This article describes a software sizing measure proposed by the author. The measure is called testable requirements and can measure external user requirements and internal technical requirements.

Software Cost Estimation with Incomplete Data [PDF]
Kevin Strike, Khaled El Emam and Nazim Madhavji

This paper addresses how observations with missing data are ignored and how that can affect the accuracy of cost estimation models. In this paper the authors evaluate three techniques that deal with missing data: listwise deletion, mean imputation and eight different types of hot-deck imputation.

Software Development Cost Estimation Approaches - A Survey [PDF]
Barry Boehm, Chris Abts and Sunita Chulani

This paper summarizes several classes of software cost estimation models and techniques: parametric models, expertise-based techniques, learning-oriented techniques, dynamics-based models, regression-based models, and composite-Bayesian techniques for integrating expertise-based and regression-based models.

Chapter 13
Software Estimation, Measurement, and Metrics [PDF]

U.S. Air Force's Software Technology Support Center

This chapter of the Guidelines for Successful Acquisition and Management of Software Intensive Systems includes the following contents: software estimation, software measurement, software measurement process, and cautions about metrics.

Web Metrics - Estimating Design and Authoring Effort [PDF] *FEE*
Emilia Mendes, Nile Mosley and Steve Counsell

In this article the authors use an undergraduate university course as a case study of how early stage effort estimates can assist Web application development. Metrics related to Web applications developers, and tools were collected and used to create models to predict design and authoring effort for Web applications.

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