Original Post Date: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 

Last week I attended the 26th annual COCOMO forum.  This meeting is an interesting combination of conference and working group and for me it’s a great place to take the pulse of the software and systems estimating community.  Lots of times you’ll go to a conference like this and feel as though the same old things are repeated year after year.  Not so with this conference – it is always a great mix of seasoned practitioners and graduate students with both groups providing forward looking information and inspiration on a variety of topics.  Not that some themes are not repeated year after year as there are some aspects of our industry that take a long time to change.  But there is also a preponderance of new and exciting (as exciting as math and statistics can get anyway) research.

The presentation topics were varied and included topics such as schedule estimation, requirements variability, very small satellites, design driven modeling and mobile application development to name a few.  In addition to many excellent presentations there were several workshops offered where attendees were able to participate in in-depth discussions about specific topics.  The workshop topics are very telling about what people in our industry think is important right now. The topics included Metrics and Estimating Models for Software Maintenance (this is a huge area for exploration and budget constraints are making it necessary to maintain and sustain systems for longer and longer) , Air Force Estimation Guidebook, DACS Data Repository Workshop (on-going effort to make software project benchmarks available to the industry), and Estimation Curriculum Development. 

There were also two panels where the future of domain modeling, estimation and improvement were discussed – one focused on the aerospace industry and the other on the commercial industry.  The best question I think for either of these panels was “What do you think we’ll be talking about 10 years from now?”  I think this was a great question because it speaks to the forward looking nature of the forum and it’s attendees.  What do you think we’ll be talking about in 10 years?