Original Post Date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012

This past year PRICE Systems has entered into a partnership with the International Benchmark Standards Group (ISBSG).  As part of this partnership we have a corporate subscription to both of their databases – the Development and Enhancement Database and the Maintenance and Support Database.  We can use these for analysis and to develop metrics that will help TruePlanning users be better software estimators. 

The ISBSG is one of the oldest and most trusted sources for software project data.  They are a not for profit organization dedicated to improving software measurement at an international level.  Their commitment to protecting data and ensuring that the identity of sources of individual data points is kept confidential encourages organizations to contribute to this non-partisan attempt to help improve the software community through better benchmarking and measurement.  The ISBSG database is focused entirely on functional size measurements such as IFPUG Function Points, NESMA Function Points, COSMIC Function Points, etc.  The data in the database is more focused on commercial and business than aerospace and defense – although there are still some nuggets in there that we all could learn from.

At PRICE, we have started several different initiatives to incorporate ISBSG lessons learned into our product offerings.  We have done several productivity studies based on what we learned from this data.  Table 1 shows a language productivity study conducted using the IFPUG Function Point data in the ISBSG database.  For this study we looked at PDR (Product Delivery Rate) which is in units of hours per FSM (Functional Size Measure).  Figure 2 shows the results of a study highlighting Productivity by Industry Type.  Each of these tables provides useful general guidance as well as providing some insight into the types of data and industries covered by this database.

Table 1: Productivity by programming language


Table 2 Productivity by Industry Type

We are pursuing several other initiatives that utilize ISBSG data to improve the TruePlanning experience.  We are studying the COSMIC data in an effort to develop a COSMIC Function Point estimating model.  The database has sufficient COSMIC data points and the initial results are promising.  Additionally we are doing a True S calibration across Industry Sectors and Application Types to create Software Cost Object templates for representative types of applications within a sector for both New Developments and Enhancement Projects.  We expect the deliverable from this study to be a collection of calibrated cost objects that will inform software estimates for specific industries and application types.