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Conclusion

Sizing development effort using a well-established estimation method like FPA can be a very powerful yardstick you can use to effectively estimate a number of software project execution processes. Through well-defined sizing and costing methods, IT groups within organizations can derive a variety of benefits in various activities that include software contracts, project management, cost of ownership, IT budgets, outsourcing costs, and more. Here are some key areas of direct benefit:

  • Because software is "soft," it has always been a difficult product to measure in real terms. FPA-based sizing can provide a reliable yardstick by which to measure software.
  • Size and complexity are key, and the core input, to all software estimations. All the subsequent information about software projects, such as effort and schedule based on the skills of the team and cost based on resource rates, can now be better estimated.
  • For a CIO, the comfort of being able to compare and equate two different applications (systems) in their IT organization for purposes of TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), budgets, or other strategizing purposes has always been another area of serious concern. For example, equating an Order Management System with a Payment Processing System on TCO or number of resources deployed would be quite difficult. Even if the two systems belong to the same organization and have been developed on the same technology platform, equating them on any terms would be a difficult task. Sizing the two applications using a common yardstick (like FP count) would perhaps be the nearest to showing their relation accurately.
  • Skills or competency of the software development team (productivity) can be better compared through a common yardstick like FP count even if skills are measured across different technology platforms.
  • Measuring and monitoring the quality metrics such as effort and schedule variance and also code defect density, etc., can be done by using the sizing technique.
  • For a CIO, there are a number of cost-saving, better budgeting, and project monitoring facilities that can be fine-tuned through application sizing methods.
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