Software Cost Models in the Department of Defense Environment: The Accuracy Enigma

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Abstract:

The United States Department of Defense (DOD) is challenged with estimating software costs for a wide variety of software programs developed by various contractors. One of the challenges is development cost accuracy. Even after the software cost models are calibrated to DOD databases, many have been shown to be accurate to within only 25% of actual cost or schedule about half the time. In 1995 and 1996, seven popular software cost models were calibrated to a large Air Force database. Results showed that for six of the seven models, calibration did not significantly improve the accuracy from that reported previously. The seventh model, however, did demonstrate superior development effort accuracy for a variety of programs. Although there are some limitations, the model may represent a breakthrough in software cost estimation in the DOD environment.

Keywords: SOFTWARE COST ESTIMATION; SOFTWARE ENGINEERING; US AIR FORCE; US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 1998

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  • Most people learn more from failures than from successes. In information technology management, many lessons have been learned over the years "the hard way" through failed implementations, poor management practices, technology limitations, and the like. Failure & Lessons Learned in Information Technology Management is devoted to addressing failures of and lessons learned from information technology projects in business, universities, government, and the military that did not succeed due to technology, management, organizational, social, cultural, and other issues. The goal is to learn from these cases and understand the basis of decisions made in order to not recreate the same mistakes or "reinvent the wheel." The organizational names in the articles can be protected by using pseudonyms.
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