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Estimation Techniques : Function Point Analysis (FPA)


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Estimation Techniques : Function Point Analysis (FPA)

You can't control what you can't measure.
Software practitioners are frequently challenged to provide early and accurate software project estimates. It
speaks poorly of the software community that the issue of accurate estimating, early in the life cycle, has not been
adequately addressed and standardized.

The ability to accurately estimate the time/cost taken for a project to come to its successful conclusion has been a
serious problem for software engineers. The use of repeatable, clearly defined and well understood software
development process has in recent years shown itself to be the most effective method of gaining useful historical
data that can be used for statistical estimation. In particular, the act of sampling more frequently, coupled with the
loosening of constraints between parts of a project, has allowed more accurate estimation and more rapid
development times.

Popular methods for estimation in software engineering include:

Parametric Estimating
Wideband Delphi
SEER-SEM Parametric Estimation of Effort, Schedule, Cost, Risk (based on Brooks Law)
Function Point Analysis
Proxy Based Estimation (PROBE) (from the Personal Software Process)
The Planning Game (from Extreme Programming)
Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT)
Analysis Effort method
News NOTE: Brooks' law was stated by Fred Brooks in his 1975 book The Mythical Man-Month as "Adding
manpower to a late software project makes it later." Likewise, Brooks memorably stated "The bearing of a child
takes nine months, no matter how many women are assigned."
My Compa ny

The value to be gained from utilizing a functional sizing technique, such as Function Points, is primarily in the
capability to accurately estimate a project early in the development process.

In words of Wikipedia

Function Point Analysis (FPA) is an ISO recognized method to measure the functional size of an information
system. The functional size reflects the amount of functionality that is relevant to and recognized by the user in
the business. It is independent of the technology used to implement the system.

The unit of measurement is "function points". So, FPA expresses the functional size of an information system in a
number of function points (for example: the size of a system is 314 fp's).

The functional size may be used:

To budget application development or enhancement costs

To budget the annual maintenance costs of the application portfolio
To determine project productivity after completion of the project
Archives To determine the Software Size for cost estimating
September , 2 00 9 ( 1 )
All software applications will have numerous elementary processes or independent processes to move data.
J u ly , 2 00 9 ( 2 )
Transactions (or elementary processes) that bring data from outside the application domain (or application
September , 2 00 8 ( 1 ) boundary) to inside that application boundary are referred to as external inputs. Transactions (or elementary
Au gu st, 2 0 0 8 ( 2 ) processes) that take data from a resting position (normally on a file) to outside the application domain (or
J u ly , 2 00 7 ( 1 ) application boundary) are referred as either an external outputs or external inquiries. Data at rest that is
J u ne, 2 0 0 7 ( 2 ) maintained by the application in question is classified as internal logical files. Data at rest that is maintained by
Ma y, 20 0 7 ( 1 ) another application in question is classified as external interface files .
Apr il, 2 0 07 ( 2 )
Ma rch , 2 0 0 7 ( 6 )
F ebr u a r y , 2 0 07 ( 2 ) Types of Function Point Counts:

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Estimation Techniques : Function Point Analysis (FPA)

Post Categories Development Project Function Point Count

P er son a l
Function Points can be counted at all phases of a development project from requirements up to and including
B est P r actices
implementation. This type of count is associated with new development work. Scope creep can be tracked and
P r oj ect Ma n a gemen t monitored by understanding the functional size at all phase of a project. Frequently, this type of count is called a
Tools. NET baseline function point count.
Sn ippets
D AX2 0 0 9

Image Galleries Enhancement Project Function Point Count

It is common to enhance software after it has been placed into production. This type of function point count tries
P r of ile to size enhancement projects. All production applications evolve over time. By tracking enhancement size and
Dynamics AX 2009 associated costs a historical database for your organization can be built. Additionally, it is important to understand
Microsoft.NET how a Development project has changed over time.

Open Source .NET

Syndication Application Function Point Count
Application counts are done on existing production applications. This “baseline count” can be used with overall
application metrics like total maintenance hours. This metric can be used to track maintenance hours per function
point. This is an example of a normalized metric. It is not enough to examine only maintenance, but one must
examine the ratio of maintenance hours to size of the application to get a true picture.


The definition of productivity is the output-input ratio within a time period with due consideration for quality.

Productivity = outputs/inputs (within a time period, quality considered)

The formula indicates that productivity can be improved by (1) by increasing outputs with the same inputs, (2) by
decreasing inputs but maintaining the same outputs, or (3) by increasing outputs and decreasing inputs change the
ratio favorably.

Software Productivity = Function Points / Inputs

Effectiveness vs. Efficiency:

Productivity implies effectiveness and efficiency in individual and organizational performance. Effectiveness is
the achievement of objectives. Efficiency is the achievement of the ends with least amount of resources.

Software productivity is defined as hours/function points or function points/hours. This is the average cost to
develop software or the unit cost of software. One thing to keep in mind is the unit cost of software is not fixed
with size. What industry data shows is the unit cost of software goes up with size.

Average cost is the total cost of producing a particular quantity of output divided by that quantity. In this case to
Total Cost/Function Points. Marginal cost is the change in total cost attributable to a one-unit change in output.

There are a variety of reasons why marginal costs for software increase as size increases. The following is a list of
some of the reasons

As size becomes larger complexity increases.

As size becomes larger a greater number of tasks need to be completed.
As size becomes larger there is a greater number of staff members and they become more difficult to manage.

Function Points are the output of the software development process. Function points are the unit of software. It is
very important to understand that Function Points remain constant regardless who develops the software or what
language the software is developed in. Unit costs need to be examined very closely. To calculate average unit cost
all items (units) are combined and divided by the total cost. On the other hand, to accurately estimate the cost of
an application each component cost needs to be estimated.

Determine type of function point count

Determine the application boundary
Identify and rate transactional function types to determine their contribution to the unadjusted function point
Identify and rate data function types to determine their contribution to the unadjusted function point count.
Determine the value adjustment factor (VAF)
Calculate the adjusted function point count.

To complete a function point count knowledge of function point rules and application documentation is needed.

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Access to an application expert can improve the quality of the count. Once the application boundary has been
established, FPA can be broken into three major parts

1. FPA for transactional function types

2. FPA for data function types
3. FPA for GSCs

Rating of transactions is dependent on both information contained in the transactions and the number of files
referenced, it is recommended that transactions are counted first. At the same time a tally should be kept of all
FTR’s (file types referenced) that the transactions reference. Every FTR must have at least one or more
transactions. Each transaction must be an elementary process. An elementary process is the smallest unit of
activity that is meaningful to the end user in the business. It must be self-contained and leave the business in
consistent state

Function Point calculation

The function point method was originaly developed by Bij Albrecht. A function point is a rough estimate of a unit
of delivered functionality of a software project. Function points (FP) measure size in terms of the amount of
functionality in a system. Function points are computed by first calculating an unadjusted function point count
(UFC). Counts are made for the following categories

Number of user inputs

Each user input that provides distinct application oriented data to the software is counted.
Number of user outputs
Each user output that provides application oriented information to the user is counted. In this context "output"
refers to reports, screens, error messages, etc. Individual data items within a report are not counted separately.
Number of user inquiries
An inquiry is defined as an on-line input that results in the generation of some immediate software response in
the form of an on-line output. Each distinct inquiry is counted.
Number of files
Each logical master file is counted.
Number of external interfaces
All machine-readable interfaces that are used to transmit information to another system are counted.

Once this data has been collected, a complexity rating is associated with each count according to Table

TABLE 1: Function point complexity weights.

Measurement parameter Weighting factor
Simple Average Complex
Number of user inputs 3 4 6
Number of user outputs 4 5 7
Number of user inquiries 3 4 6
Number of files 7 10 15
Number of external interfaces 5 7 10

Each count is multiplied by its corresponding complexity weight and the results are summed to provide the
UFC. The adjusted function point count (FP) is calculated by multiplying the UFC by a technical
complexity factor (TCF) also referred to as Value Adjustment Factor (VAF). Components of the TCF are
listed in Table 2

Table 2. Components of the technical complexity factor.

F1 Reliable back-up and recovery F2 Data communications

F3 Distributed functions F4 Performance
F5 Heavily used configuration F6 Online data entry
F7 Operational ease F8 Online update
F9 Complex interface F10 Complex processing
F11 Reusability F12 Installation ease
F13 Multiple sites F14 Facilitate change

Alternatively the following questionaire could be utilized

1. Does the system require reliable backup and recovery?

2. Are datacommunications required?
3. Are there distributed processing functions?
4. Is preformance critical?
5. Will the system run in an existing, heavuly utilized operational enviroment?
6. Does the system require on-line data entry?
7. Does the on-line data entry require the input transaction to be build over multiple screens or operations?

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8. Are the master files updated online?

9. Are the input, outputs, files or inquiries complex?
10. Is the internal processing complex?
11. Is the code designed to be reusable?
12. Are conversions and installation included in the design?
13. Is the system designed for multiple installations in different organizations?
14. Is the applications designed to facilitate change and ease of use?

Each component is rated from 0 to 5, where 0 means the component has no influence on the system and 5
means the component is essential (Pressman, 1997). The VAF can then be calculated as:

VAF = 0.65 + (Sum of GSCs x 0.01) Where Sum of GSCs = SUM(Fi)

The factor varies from 0.65 (if each Fi is set to 0) to 1.35 (if each Fi is set to 5) (Fenton, 1997). The final
function point calculation is:

Final Adjusted FP = UFC x VAF

Convert AFP into SLOC using appropriate conversion factor.

The following calculations depends on the scenario applicable

SLOC = 16 x SLOC/AFP [NOTE: 16 is the conversion factor]



A = 3.2= Constant based on the development mode.

EX = 0.38= Constant based on the development mode.

CPLX = 1.3 = Constant based on the development language.

TOOL = 1.1 = Constant based on the development Tool.

TDEV = 2.5 x (EFFORT) EX in months

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