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Practical Estimating for Software Projects

This course provides participants with the practical ideas and means needed to plan and establish a software project estimating function.

It covers software project estimating philosophy and the component parts of a software project estimating function. Estimating techniques are introduced for a variety of lifecycles, including 'waterfall' and 'iterative/RAD'.

Throughout the course there are discussion sessions that lead towards the production of a schedule, which should end with an organisation having a sustainable software project estimating function.


Participants attending this course will…
  • produce a schedule aimed at setting up a self-sustaining Project Estimating Function
  • understand the components of an Estimating Function
  • understand the importance of a repeatable estimating process vs estimating techniques
  • learn to use the generic Wideband DELPHI estimating technique
  • be able to produce early estimates of size expressed in function points
  • be able to use size estimates to predict effort and resource requirements and project duration
  • understand how estimates must be adjusted to account for project & environmental factors
  • have learned how to predict effort, duration and cost, and how to derive staffing curves.

Who should attend?

This course is designed for project managers, team leaders and practitioners responsible for delivering quality software products on time and within budget. It is especially intended to help those estimating size, effort, resources, duration and cost early in a project's life, in organisations where no calibrated history of previous projects exists. It will be appreciated by business users:
  •  involved in specifying and procuring software solutions
  • managing development and support contracts.

Course Materials

Each participant receives a copy of:
  •  A Participant’s Reference Manual with slides, explanatory text, exercises, solutions and case studies.
  • Helpful MS-Word and Excel templates.

More Information

Public Courses
Please refer to Practical Estimating For Software Projects in the Course Dates section of the Listings page for up to date listings of dates and venue.

In-House Training
The course is modular in structure, such that the content and duration is adaptable to individual client objectives and needs. The full syllabus sets out the maximum range of possibilities.

  • Why estimate and measure and what is needed?
    Introduces the inputs, operation and outputs of a rational estimating process. It explains the importance of understanding the quality of the information used in ensuring effective estimating.
    • What estimating is and is not (the differences between political and rational estimates)
    • The infrastructure needed for the construction of repeatable estimates
    • The benefits and costs of running a formal estimating function.
  • What is to be estimated and what are the approaches?
    Discusses the attributes that make a project and may need estimation i.e. Products, Work, Money, People, Techniques, Methods and Environment. Covers how the project attributes can interact to affect estimates of effort and elapsed time. There will be an overview of estimating techniques, explaining their strengths and weaknesses, covering: top-down versus bottom-up techniques; expert opinion; analogy and tools.
  • Wideband DELPHI
    A generic estimating technique that can be used for pooling and consolidating expert opinion.
  • Overview of functional size measurement
    Covers the principles behind functional size measurement - the process of sizing functional user requirements - and discusses the major methods, which can include the new COSMIC FFP method. The strengths and weaknesses of each approach are addressed. The session ends in a discussion on which approach would be appropriate within an organisation.
  • Simple functional size estimating techniques
    Looks at the following techniques:
    • Ten Questions
    • Data Approach
    • Functional Approach
    • Fast Eddie.
    From functional size to effort - via 'problem size'
    Alternative approaches to quantifying the effects of technical and quality requirements and how they can be combined with the functional size to give a 'normative effort' directly or via the 'problem size'.
  • Predict effort and duration
    How the Problem Size can be converted into a Project Size (effort) and the result used in the planning and scheduling process.
  • Consolidating different estimates
    One of the fundamental principles of any estimating process is that a number of different views of the problem are better than one. This session covers the consolidation of these estimates resulting in an "Estimate Reasoning Document".
  • Other parametric cost models
    This session gives an overview of other estimating tools, such as:
    • Regression analysis
    • COCOMO.
    • Putnam, Norden, Rayleigh technique
    • IBM Global Services' LEAD method for OO developments.

Training : Practical use of FPA Courses , Estimating Project Size

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This page was updated on Wednesday, 18 September 2002

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