An Exploration of parametric software cost estimating models for Jackson Systems Development
Most parametric software cost estimation models used today evolved in the late 70's and early 80's. At that time, the dominant software development techniques being used were the early 'structured methods'. Since then, several new systems development paradigms and methods have emerged, one being Jackson Systems Development (JSD). As current cost estimating methods do not take account of these developments, their non-universality means they cannot provide adequate estimates of effort and hence cost. In order to address these shortcomings two new estimation methods have been developed for JSD projects. One of these methods JSD-FPA, is a top-down estimating method, based on the existing MKII function point method. The other method, JSD-COCOMO, is a sizing technique which sizes a project, in terms of lines of code, from the process structure diagrams and thus provides an input to the traditional COCOMO method. The JSD-FPA method allows JSD projects in both the real-time and scientific application areas to be costed, as well as the commercial information systems applications to which FPA is usually applied. The method is based upon a three-dimensional view of a system specification as opposed to the largely data-oriented view traditionally used by FPA. The method uses counts of various attributes of a JSD specification to develop a metric which provides an indication of the size of the system to be developed. This size metric is then transformed into an estimate of effort by calculating past project productivity and utilising this figure to predict the effort and hence cost of a future project. The effort estimates produced were validated by comparing them against the effort figures for six actual projects.