Explain Software Project Estimation

Software project estimation is a form of problem solving, and in most cases, the problem to be solved (i.e., developing a cost and effort estimate for a software project) is too complex to be considered in one piece.Accurate estimation of the problem size is fundamental to satisfactory estimation of effort, time duration and cost of a software project.In order to be able to accurately estimate the project size, some important metrics should be defined in terms of which the project size can be expressed. The size of a problem is obviously not the number of bytes that the source code occupies. It is neither the byte size of the executable code. The project size is a measure of the problem complexity in terms of the effort and time required to develop the product. Estimation of resources, cost, and schedule for a software engineering effort requires experience, access to good historical information (metrics), and the courage to commit to quantitative predictions when qualitative information is all that exists Software project estimation is a form of problem solving, and in most cases, the problem to be solved is too complex to be considered in one piece

Problem-Based Estimation

  • Start with a bounded statement of scope
  • Decompose the software into problem functions that can each be estimated individually
  • Compute an LOC or FP value for each function
  • Derive cost or effort estimates by applying the LOC or FP values to your baseline productivity metrics (e.g., LOC/person-month or FP/person-month)
  • Combine function estimates to produce an overall estimate for the entire project

Currently two metrics are popularly being used widely to estimate size: lines of code (LOC) and function point (FP). The usage of each of these metrics in project size estimation has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Lines of Code (LOC)

LOC is the simplest among all metrics available to estimate project size. This metric is very popular because it is the simplest to use. Using this metric, the project size is estimated by counting the number of source instructions in the developed program. Obviously, while counting the number of source instructions, lines used for commenting the code and the header lines should be ignored

Function point (FP)

One of the important advantages of using the function point metric is that it can be used to easily estimate the size of a software product directly from the problem specification. This is in contrast to the LOC metric, where the size can be accurately determined only after the product has fully been developed. The conceptual idea behind the function point metric is that the size of a software product is directly dependent on the number of different functions or features it supports. A software product supporting many features would certainly be of larger size than a product with less number of features. Each function when invoked reads some input data and transforms it to the corresponding output data

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