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Assessing the effectiveness of approximate functional sizing approaches for effort estimation

Di Martino, S; Ferrucci, F; Gravino, C; Sarro, F; (2020) Assessing the effectiveness of approximate functional sizing approaches for effort estimation. Information and Software Technology , 123 , Article 106308. 10.1016/j.infsof.2020.106308. Green open access

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Abstract

CONTEXT: Functional Size Measurement (FSM) methods, like Function Points Analysis (FPA) or COSMIC, are well-established approaches to estimate software size. Several approximations of these methods have been recently proposed as they require less time/information to be applied, however their effectiveness for effort prediction is not known. OBJECTIVE: he effectiveness of approximated functional size measures for estimating the development effort is a key open question, since an approximate sizing approach may miss to capture factors affecting the effort. Therefore, we empirically investigated the use of approximate FPA and COSMIC sizing approaches, also compared with their standard versions, for effort estimation. METHOD: We measured 25 industrial software projects realised by a single company by using FPA, COSMIC, two approximate sizing approaches proposed by IFPUG for FPA (i.e. High Level and Indicative FPA), and three approximate sizing approaches proposed by the COSMIC organisation for COSMIC (i.e. Average Functional Process, Fixed Size Classification, and Equal Size Band). Then we investigated the quality of the regression models built using the obtained measures to estimate the development effort. RESULTS: Models based on High Level FPA are effective, providing a prediction accuracy comparable to the one of the original FPA, while those based on the Indicative FPA method show poor estimation accuracy. Models based on COSMIC approximate sizing methods are also quite effective, in particular those based on the Equal Size Band approximation provided an accuracy similar to the one of standard COSMIC. CONCLUSION: Project managers should be aware that predictions based on High Level FPA and standard FPA can be similar, making this approximation very interesting and effective, while Indicative FPA should be avoided. COSMIC approximations can also provide accurate effort estimates, nevertheless, the Fixed Size Classification and Equal Size Band approaches introduce subjectivity in the measurement.

Type: Article
Title: Assessing the effectiveness of approximate functional sizing approaches for effort estimation
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.infsof.2020.106308
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infsof.2020.106308
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Keywords: Software Effort Estimation, Functional Size Measures, Approximate Sizing Approaches, FPA, COSMIC
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10096134
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