This is a well-documented method that is easily applied and highly visible. It predicts not only the overall software development effort required and the time for development, but also breaks these down over the various phases of the life-cycle model. COCOMO is based on an input of estimated thousands of Delivered Source Instructions (KDSI).
The original COCOMO model was updated and published in 2000 as COCOMO II. The revised model now extends the original to encompass modern development approaches such as model based architecture and Rational Unified Process, as well as continuing to support the more traditional developments still in use. COCOMO II provides for tailoring the method to suit a desired process strategy.
COCOMO II allows for the use of function points as an input to the estimate of lines of code, however it relies upon the backfire method, which requires considerable care in use. The COCOMO II model is based upon a basic effort estimation regression formula. It is useful in various management decision-making situations, for example:
- Setting project budgets and schedules as a basis for planning and control
- Predicting ROI based upon an estimate of software development costs or life cycle expenditure
- Deciding how to implement a process improvement strategy.
The COCOMO II Model contains very sophisticated understanding of software project behaviour and has been successfully used to explore and explain software project characteristics, such as disappointing productivity or time to market. Many clients have used GIFPA's understanding of the COCOMO II model early in the project life in order to avert project difficulties.