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Making resource decisions for software projects

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6 Author(s)
N. Fenton ; Dept. of Comput. Sci., Univ. of London, UK ; W. Marsh ; M. Neil ; P. Cates
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Software metrics should support managerial decision making in software projects. We explain how traditional metrics approaches, such as regression-based models for cost estimation fall short of this goal. Instead, we describe a causal model (using a Bayesian network) which incorporates empirical data, but allows it to be interpreted and supplemented using expert judgement. We show how this causal model is used in a practical decision-support tool, allowing a project manager to trade-off the resources used against the outputs (delivered functionality, quality achieved) in a software project. The model and toolset have evolved in a number of collaborative projects and hence capture significant commercial input. Extensive validation trials are taking place among partners on the EC funded project MODIST (this includes Philips, Israel Aircraft Industries and QinetiQ) and the feedback so far has been very good. The estimates are sensible and the causal modelling approach enables decision-makers to reason in a way that is not possible with other project management and resource estimation tools. To ensure wide dissemination and validation a version of the toolset with the full underlying model is being made available for free to researchers.

Published in:

Software Engineering, 2004. ICSE 2004. Proceedings. 26th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

23-28 May 2004