Daily English News Paper and National Daily

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Software Cost Estimation
Hareton Leung
Zhang Fan
Department of Computing
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
{cshleung, csfzhang}@comp.polyu.edu.hk
Abstract
Software cost estimation is the process of predicting the effort required to develop a software
system. Many estimation models have been proposed over the last 30 years. This paper provides a
general overview of software cost estimation methods including the recent advances in the field.
As a number of these models rely on a software size estimate as input, we first provide an
overview of common size metrics. We then highlight the cost estimation models that have been
proposed and used successfully. Models may be classified into 2 major categories: algorithmic
and non-algorithmic. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. A key factor in selecting a cost
estimation model is the accuracy of its estimates. Unfortunately, despite the large body of
experience with estimation models, the accuracy of these models is not satisfactory. The paper
includes comment on the performance of the estimation models and description of several newer
approaches to cost estimation.
Keywords: project estimation, effort estimation, cost models.
1. Introduction
In recent years, software has become the most expensive component of computer system projects.
The bulk of the cost of software development is due to the human effort, and most cost estimation
methods focus on this aspect and give estimates in terms of person-months.
Accurate software cost estimates are critical to both developers and customers. They can be
used for generating request for proposals, contract negotiations, scheduling, monitoring and
control. Underestimating the costs may result in management approving proposed systems that
then exceed their budgets, with underdeveloped functions and poor quality, and failure to
complete on time.…...

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