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Title: An investigation into software estimation methods
Author: Hamdan, Khaled
ISNI:       0000 0001 3528 0485
Awarding Body: University of Sunderland
Current Institution: University of Sunderland
Date of Award: 2009
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There are currently no fully validated estimation approaches that can accurately predict the effort needed for developing a software system (Kitchenham, et al, 1995). Information gathered at the early stages of system development is not enough to provide precise effort estimates, even though similar software systems may have been developed in the past. Where similar systems have been developed, there are often inherent differences in the features of these systems and in the development process used. These differences are often sufficient to significantly reduce estimation accuracy. Historically, cost estimation focuses on project effort and duration. There are many estimation techniques, but none is consistently ‘best’ (Shepperd, 2003). Software project management has become a crucial field of research due to the increasing role of software in today’s world. Improving the functions of project management is a main concern in software development organisation. The purpose of this thesis is to develop a new model which incorporates cultural and leadership factors in the cost estimation model, and is based on Case-Based Reasoning. The thesis defines a new knowledge representation “ontology” to provide a common understanding of project parameters. The associated system uses a statistically simulated bootstrap method, which helps in tuning the analogy approach before application to real projects. This research also introduces a new application of Profile Theory, which takes a formal approach to the measurement of leadership capabilities. A pilot study was performed in order to understand the approaches used for cost estimation in the Gulf region. Based on this initial study, a questionnaire was further refined and tested. Consequently, further surveys were conducted in the United Arab Emirates. It was noticed that most of the software development projects failed in terms of cost estimate. This was due to the lack of a precise software estimation model. These studies also highlighted the importance of leadership and culture in software cost estimation. Effort was estimated using regression and analogy. The Bootstrap method was used to refine the estimate of effort based on analogy, with correction for bias. Due to the very different nature of the core and support systems, a separate model was developed for each of them. As a result of the study, a new model for identifying and analysing was developed. The model was then evaluated, and conclusions were drawn. These show the importance of the model and the factors of organisational culture and leadership in software project development and in cost estimation. Potential areas for future research were identified.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Software Engineering