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Software Engineering Resources

Software Project Planning (Estimation)
Software project planning actually encompasses all estimation, risk analysis, scheduling, and SQA/SCM planning. However, in the context of set of resources, planning involves estimation - your attempt to determine how much money, how much effort, how many resources, and how much time it will take to build a specific software-based system or product. The following topic categories are presented:

Planning and Estimation Resources

Estimation Tutorials, Articles and Papers, and Video

Estimation Methods

Estimation Tools


Planning and Estimation Resources

Planning Resources
Useful pointers to a variety of planning resources.

Resources on Software Estimation
Pointer to a variety of articles and tools. Recommended.

Cost Estimating Resources
Pointer to books, periodical and tools as well as NASA technical reports.

Effort Estimation Page
Points to articles, models and tools. Recommended.

Software Development Effort Estimation-Bibliography
An extensive non-link bibliography in a variety of estimation research areas.

Software Project Estimation Resources - 1
Useful resources and on-line tools for estimation.

Software Project Estimation Resources - 2
Useful resources and tools for estimation.

NASA Cost Estimation
An excellent collection of resources and on-line tools for software cost estimation including the book length

NASA Cost Estimation Handbook.
A comprehensive guide to estimation. Highly recommended.

DACS Estimation Resources
Pointers to techniques, methods, and tools for planning, estimating, and monitoring the cost, budget, or schedule of a software project.

Software Dioxide
A useful collection of project planning resources.

The Outsourcing Institute
Useful information (detailed papers, pointers, recent news) on outsourcing can be obtained at this site.

Estimation Tutorials, Articles, Papers and Video

Software Cost Estimation Overview
A short paper on software cost estimation.

Why Software Estimation is Hard

Software Project Planning
An introductory article.

Software development effort estimation
A worthwhile introduction at Wikipedia.

Feature Estimation for Agile Projects
"In Agile development, a feature is a chunk of functionality that delivers business value."

Software Estimating
A commentary from the "Herding Cats" blog.

Estimation Techniques Overview
A useful discussion of estimation philosophy and methodology.

Software Estimation for Dummies
A how-to guide for the uninitiated.

Estimation for the Savvy Project Manager
"In this paper we will explore the significance of the initial project estimate to the project and suggests ways to approach developing this critical estimate." Downloadable.

Improving Project Estimation Effectiveness
The author suggest that characteristics of any estimation method must be SMART-Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Tangible.

Parametric Estimating Handbook
This comprehensive handbook is intended to be used as a general guide for implementing and evaluating parametric based estimating systems, and as the text material for a basic course in parametric estimating techniques. Recommended.

Estimation and Historical Data
A brief article in Crosstalk.

Limits to Software Estimation
An article that considers the argument that complexity makes estimation very difficult and unreliable. Recommended.

Mathematical Limits to Software Estimation
Is something deeper underlying our inability to develop accurate software project estimates. An intriguing paper. Recommended.

Software estimation considered harmful?

Putnam's Estimation Models
Information on Putnam's software estimation models and software metrics can be obtained at this site.

The NVC (noun verb count) Method of Software Project Estimation
Similar to the grammatical parse approach discussed later in SEPA this technique suggests that you simply read the requirements document (however brief it may be), and count the number of nouns and verbs. These counts then drive an estimation approach that is described at this site.

Automated Project Cost Estimation: Using Analogies
Information on automated project cost estimation using analogies including a downloadable software tool called ANGEL can be obtained at this site.

Estimating Software Earlier and More Accurately
This paper considers the use of a basic estimating model utilizing functional sizing (e.g., FP) as one of the key components that allows earlier and more accurate estimates.

pdf: Report on Software Estimation
An in depth study of software stimation.

pdf: Software Development Cost Estimation Approaches - A Survey
A study co-authored by Barry Boehm.

pdf: Software Cost Estimation
"The paper includes comment on the performance of the estimation models and description of several newer approaches to cost estimation."

Video: Estimation - I
The first lecture in a series on Estimation. (51:42)

Video: Estimation - II
The second lecture in a series on Estimation. (50:38)

Video: Agile Estimation, Mike Cohn
A talk on agile estimation. (1:02:48)

Estimation Methods

Are There Limits to Software Estimation?
A brief, but intriguing discussion. Recommended.

Estimation Techniques
An abbreviated presentation of a wide range of estimation techniques

Effort Estimation
A brief discussion of three macro-estimation techniques.

Useful Estimation Techniques for Software Projects
A brief survey of basic techniques.

Software Estimation Using Pattern Analogies
An interesting discussion of project estimation based on pattern analogies.

A Statistical Method for Real-Time Software Estimation
"This report introduces a new method of estimation based on statistical analysis and measurements which model the hardware. It uses linear regression to estimate the execution time of a program on different systems." Downloadable.

Estimating WebApp Development
Useful suggestions for planning and estimating Web engineering projects.

Problem Decomposition for Reuse
This paper addresses decomposition by problem frames and views and can be downloaded from this site.

• Function Point Estimation

Function Points
A good overview and description at Wikipedia.

Function Points
An indepth article that provides a good introduction.

An Introduction to Function Point Analysis
Provides an introduction to Function Point Analysis and its application in non-traditional computing situations.

How to Determine Your Application Size Using Function Point Analysis
An indepth manual with examples

Function Point Training and Analysis Manual
Downloadable textbook. From the description: "There are a variety of different methods used to count function point, but this book is based upon those rules developed by the Alan Albrecht and later revised by the International Function Point User Group (IFPUG). The IFPUG rules have much to be desired, so this book attempts to fill in gaps not defined by IFPUG."

pdf: Function Point Estimation Methods: A Comparative Overview
This paper presents the characteristics of some outstanding methods (Early Function Points, ILF Models, Backfiring) and a general benchmarking model, useful for the evaluation of any additional method, as well.

• Use Case Point Estimation

Project Estimation with Use Case Points
"Use Case Points is a project estimation method that employs a project's use cases to produce an accurate estimate of a project's size and effort."

Use case based estimation
A brief discussion.

Project Estimation: Use Case Point Technique
"This paper presents a brief overview of the use case point estimation technique and includes an applet programme to allow the reader to perform a use case point based estimate for the current projects. Downloadable. Free registration required.


The COCOMO Model
A thorough discussion at Wikipedia.

COCOMO II Resources
A brief discussion and pleanty of useful links.

The COCOMO II estimation model
Detailed information on the COCOMO II model can be obtained at this site.

pdf: COCOMO II Model Definition Manual
A detailed description of the model and its use.

• Decision Tree Analysis

Decision Tree Analysis (DTA) Tutorial - 1
A useful tutorial on decision tree analysis can be found at this site.

Decision Tree Analysis (DTA) Tutorial - 2
An excellent tutorial on DTA can be found at Wikipedia. Recommended.

• Papers on Estimation

pdf: A Software Cost Estimation Model Based on Quality Characteristics
The aim of this paper is to propose cost estimation (CE) model that relies on determining the
software features defined by software quality requirements specification according to the data analysis at an early stage of the software development life cycle with the support of case based reasoning technique.

pdf: Human factors and analytical models in software estimation: an integration perspective
A paper that suggests that intuition and personal evidence coupled with collection and statistical analysis of actual data from past finished projects I the best estimation strategy.

Estimation Tools

Software Productivity Center
Provides many useful software engineering and project management resources including tools for estimation.

Estimation Tools List - 1
A reasonably detailed list of popular estimation tools is provided at this site.

Estimation Tools List -2
Another reasonably detailed list of popular estimation tools is provided at this site.

Effort estimation tools
Detailed table of dozens of tools with pointers.

Construx Software Project Estimation Freeware
Construx estimation software provides numerous resource-estimation, scheduling, and planning functions. One of its major strengths is the ease with which it can be calibrated for use in your specific environment.

SLIM Project Estimation
Quantitative Software management has worked in the metrics and estimation arena since the 1970s. Their site present information on their tool set as well as other useful estimation and metrics resources.

pdf: Project Estimation tools
Industry grade tools with description and pointers.

Painless Estimation Tools Evaluated
Low cost tools solutions.

pdf: Survey of Cost Estimation Tools
"A survey of commercial tools for estimating costs of hardware and software development for data systems." Dated 2001, but still has potential utility.

pdf: How to Select Software Project Macro-Estimation Tools
A worthwhile article that can guide those who need to select a tool.

pdf: How Software Estimation Tools Work
Understanding the underlying methodology.


Most software project management books contain discussions of project estimation. Among the many titles that cover the subject are:

Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art
is a pragmatic guide that provides worthwhile guidance for anyone who must estimate the cost of software.
Practical Software Estimation emphasizes function points as an estimation metrics.
Software Measurement and Estimation: A Practical Approach addresses measurement and its use in software estimation.
Software Cost Estimation and Sizing Mathods, Issues, and Guidelines is an abbreviated guidebook that address many estimation fundamentals.
Estimating Software Costs is one of the most comprehensive treatments of the subject published to date. This book contains models and data that are applicable to software estimating in every application domain.

Other books dedicated to software project estimation present many useful models and suggest step-by-step guidelines for generating the best possible estimates:

Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge
Effective Project Management
Project Planning Scheduling and Control
On Time Within Budget
The Software Project Manager’s Handbook
IT Project Estimation
Software Project Cost and Schedule Estimating: Best Practices
Software Costing
Cost Estimation for Software Development

Measures for Excellence
presents a detailed treatment of software cost estimating.
Industrial Strength Software: Effective Management Using Measurement emphasizes metrics and their use in estimation activities.
Software Engineering Economics, is a classic test that was one of the first to approach software cost estimation in an empirical way. It still has value.
Software Cost Estimation in COCOMO II describes COCOMO, an empirical estimation model that is widely used throughout the industry.

Controlling Software Projects
provides valuable insight into the management, measurement, and estimation of software projects

Object-Oriented Software Metrics, and
Surviving Object-Oriented Projects
consider estimation for object-oriented systems.

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