Original Post Date: Friday, April 30, 2010

I have been frequently asked to do crosschecks on other people’s software cost estimates which are potentially done in a variety of tools from spreadsheets to SLIM.

One of the common operator errors I see from other users is not understanding what activities and resources are included in the outputs of the particular tool that they are estimating with.

This is akin to deciding between two cars and not knowing if both come with the same sets of features (stereo, AC, heated seats).   With software estimation tools you need to know what work is getting estimated by the tool. (Requirements, Design, Code, Test, Documentation, System Test) and what resources are included in the effort estimates to accomplish those task/activities. (Programmers, Analysts, Architects, Systems Engineers, Testers, Tech Writers, Project Managers, QA and CM)

A common mistake I see is generating an estimate with a tool then adding in Program Management effort and cost when the tool utilized already includes those activities and resources in the estimate.

That’s why I drive a pearl black TruePlanning 2 door coupe.

David Seaver                                       
Solutions Architect, PRICE Systems