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The Future of Function Points

The health and well-being of function points is directly related to the ongoing effectiveness of IFPUG. Its challenge is to continue to enhance the counting methodology and to raise the level of awareness among professions that are not function point-literate.

Function point analysis is a method that has been misused and misunderstood in the past. The use of function points provides the software project manager, the IT organization, and the business user with a key piece of information about software that can be used to improve the effectiveness of how they design, develop, and deploy software. It is not currently in use in every IT shop, but it is available for those who understand its value.

Alternative methods of sizing software have been introduced over the past 10 years. Capers Jones' Feature Points and Boeing's 3D Function Points have been two of the more popular and long-lasting variations on function points. Neither method has gained much popularity or widespread utilization. Several other sizing methods, such as Mark II and Demarco's Bang Metric, have a limited but consistent following. New methods are still being introduced. As recently as 1998, the Common Software Measurement International Consortium (COSMIC) proposed COSMIC FFP as a new measurement for the functional size of software. Understandably, function points have not been accepted by everyone involved in software, but they can be useful to anyone who wants to improve his or her software development environment through the effective utilization of software functional metrics.

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