Practical Estimating for Software Projects


Predict and control the effort, team size, schedule and cost of your software projects using proven methods


Every organisation needs to estimate the effort, staffing needs, duration and costs likely to be incurred by a software project. This workshop teaches participants how to derive such information. A number of practical techniques are used.

Course Topics

  • 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 f or 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.


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.

Course ref:


Available as:

3 day workshop

Intended Audience:

Project stakeholders, sponsors, project managers, team members, S/EPG and PAT members



More Information
Key to symbols
Delivery Vehicles supported for course:
  Formal Course
Workshop   Workshop
Advanced Workshop   Advanced Workshop
Learning Break   Learning Break

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Related Training

DELPHI Estimation Workshop  
DELPHI provides teams with a methodical approach to estimating that ensures all available information & experience is taken into account

Early Estimating of Software Size  Formal Course 
A systematic & repeatable way to estimate using the partial information available during the first days of a project

Estimating for Projects based on Use-Cases and the IBM/Rational Unified Process  Formal Course 
Determine use-case size, effort, schedule and cost so your team can negotiate the cost/benefit landscape and agree development priorities with stakeholders

Estimating in Internet Time/Estimating for Web Developments  Formal Course 
Extremely rapid development cycles necessitate just-in-time estimating to minimise risk and to assure incremental delivery runs smoothly

Related Services

Early Estimation
Estimating software size from the feasability stage through to early requirements gathering. Also approppriate for otuline designs.

Estimating Size
Estimating Size from detailed requirements and detailed designs.

Estimating Cost, Duration, Effort, etc
Developing estimates of cost etc from measurements or estimates of size in combination with other constraints.

Measuring Requirements and Changes
Measuring the functional size of change requests and estimating their impact in terms of cost, duration, effort etc.

Estimating Workshop
A group exercise conducted by a facilitator to produce a set of estimates.


All Sails Set - Towards the Shoals?
...neither sailboats nor software projects ever travel directly along the route planned. Both are subject to many forces that divert the progress actually made.

Time More Important Than Money?
New systems frequently have to be delivered in synch with business re-organisation, or the launch

The Importance of Accurate Estimating
... Few people realise that the most accurate estimate will also lead to the lowest cost development ... of a new product ...

GIFPA Ltd. 2016

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