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The Real Costs of Developing COTS Software

Author: Arlene F. Minkiewicz

Category: White Papers

Despite the increased use of Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) software, there has been little increase in the understanding of how to successfully estimate and plan for projects that are COTS based or COTS intensive. This paper describes a research effort focused on identifying the activities, cost or effort drivers and cost estimating relationships (CER’s) that apply when planning software projects that are COTS based or COTS intensive.

The approach taken for this study is based on a combination of data collection and analysis with theoretical research and expert knowledge. This work has resulted in the development of a set of cost estimation algorithms suitable for embedded COTS integrations and extensible to enterprise COTS integration efforts. As important as the algorithms, this research has resulted in a methodology designed to guide project planners through a thought process geared toward the issues that require consideration when planning such a project.

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