Estimation in itself is the most primary of all the tasks associated with the software development process. Any business organization, big or small, cannot run their business without estimation. However, in the recent past, various studies have shown how inaccuracy of estimates lead to failure of projects –be it government , industrial or service related – causing huge financial losses not just for the company, but also for the economy on a macro level. Owing to the importance of not just ‘estimation’ but ‘accurate estimation’ has made some firms develop and introduce estimation software in the market.
Commonly Used Model for Estimation
Estimation software has different models of operation however most software tools use historical data analytics for calculation to arrive at a present estimate. COCOMO is the science behind such models. They use lines of code as the metrics for calculation. COCOMO in itself is a complex methodology requiring expert knowledge and experience. Understanding the science of its operation and application for estimation purpose is critical and indispensible for using the model for estimation purposes. Just any analyst cannot get involved in the task of estimation and learned experts need to use their knowledge and foresight.
Industry and Operational Elements Have Changed
Recently the way the industry operates has witnessed a major paradigm shift. The mannerism and methodology used for estimation in the past and even up till now cannot be applied exactly in the present context as it used to be earlier. Models using historical data or past projections are not viable for present and future calculations. The way things worked in the past have become redundant in the present and estimations are no longer accurate. The nature and dynamism of unknown variables which operated in the past have modified and mutated in the present scenario to introduce a fresh set of challenges and new elements which have to be understood and applied in a different perspective in the present context. What used to be true in the past may be obsolete in the future.
Is the Existing Estimation Model Suitable For Small and Medium Businesses?
Large organizations have fairly consistent projects and rely on established models for estimation however small and medium organizations normally bid for projects with a high degree of variability in scale and nature. Estimation is the underlying approach before development actually begins. The scope and nature of a previously completed project would be completely different as compared to a new project. Applying just historical data estimation techniques would not do complete justice to the estimation process especially when projects are of variable nature.
Besides this, cost is an important factor to be considered. The well established estimation software, normally used by big business organizations and established software developers pay large sums on its license and maintenance fee. Small and medium enterprises may not be able to justify the huge license fees as part of their operation costs. They might simply ignore using an automated tool for estimation processes and consider manual techniques. The overall result is inaccuracy and poor estimates thus enhancing the chances of project failure.
Small and medium sized businesses have a unique position and business strategy. Instead of a long term project, they may normally need to bid for a greater number of projects so that the probability of winning projects is greatly enhanced. They need an estimation software which is capable of building fairly high quality estimates for many projects in a short period of time so that the developer can bid for more projects and increase their chances of winning those projects. For example, if a company provides estimates for 25 projects, instead of winning one project the company has a higher probability of winning around 5 projects.The estimation software thus plays a vital role in defining the success ratio for them.
Need of the Hour
With change in the industry and parameters of the forces governing software development, the need of the hour is to revamp and review the software estimation tool.
- We need a mechanism, where historical data is not the only parameter to govern the framework for arriving at accurate estimates in software development.
- We need a process of estimation that is consistent. One where any analyst can be involved and produce an estimation for the project with the same level of accuracy and expertise as an expert.
- We need the process to be manageable. One that is easy to understand so that the organization finds it easy to integrate and implement the tool in its system.
- We must require the process to have high degree of transparency so that it can be viewed across multiple screens by all involved, where variable levels of complexity can be applied and modified with ease to alter estimation with changing requirements in an automatic manner.
- We need a tool which is quick and fast in providing estimates for enhancing the speed and accuracy of project bidding process.
Quick FPA is one such invention. Quick FPA is the new product that is launched by Intelekit as a tool for software estimation. The new product has unique capabilities and a novel procedure for building estimates. It is the new generation’s estimation software which solely relies on user action to define implementation types and build estimates.
Quick FPA produces accurate estimates. It involves more detailed analytics and builds estimates based on use case analysis. It generates requirements after completely breaking down the system. The goal of this estimation software is to create a blueprint of the system and to reach a granular level of detail for creating estimates.
Estimation is a process that cannot be ignored, but the technique and mannerism of how it is conducted can have significant ramifications on the ultimate bottom line. With Quick FPA, estimation would be quicker, and easier for organizations to manage. Any analyst could estimate with greater flexibility, less guessing and more consistency. For more information about the product, please visit the website Hello,
I am currently using a source code counting tool “Code Counter Pro” (www.geronesoft.com) which is a useful tool for getting SLOC values from my projects. From these SLOC/KLOC values, a backfiring value for each language can be used to determining the approximate function points the project has. This is useful for estimating future projects of the same type.
Is anyone else on this board doing this same method? Is it a good estimation or way to estimate future projects? Would like to get your experience or opinions on this…