San Diego, California August 14-19, 2016

Effort Estimation

Effort estimation is the method of identifying the most realistic utilization of effort required either to develop or maintain the software. The estimates of the effort might be used as input to project plans, determining the budget and other important procedure required for the successful release of the software.

Well-defined effort estimation is important at various point of project lifecycle. It helps the project managers to distribute resources and frame a time plan required for the completion of the project and inform the project owners about the deadlines and milestones along with the effort required to complete the project. In fact, initial effort estimation also helps the project manager to figure out whether the available resource is adequate to finish the project.

The accuracy of effort estimation depends on the information available. Generally, in the initial stage project manager have less information before the project starts and more information starts pouring in after the work begins. A project manager can have more precise effort estimation as soon as requirement analysis of the project is completed.

Though ideally it is the job of project manager to conduct the effort estimation, but depending on the estimation procedure the project manager can perform the estimation alone or seek expert advice from experienced developed, designers and testers. Other persons whose participation is equally important in the estimation procedure are project owners and sales team.

Good effort estimation is the one that can be explainable in each and every step. Thus, before going deep in the estimation aspect a project manager must be clear about the steps he took. Such as in case historical data is used the manager must be aware of the source of the data. In fact it would be best if the data is collected from own environment and experiences.

Since, in the initial stages of effort estimation there are hardly any data is available and hence a list of assumptions is utilized. It is the job of project manager to understand the potential impact in case the assumptions are incorrect. In order to avoid this pitfall the easy way is to examine a few past projects thoroughly and understand the productivity. A project manager should never underestimate the importance of reviewing the collected data or the assumptions.

Effort estimation thus can be said is a job that requires great skill, experience and sound knowledge of the concerned area. Since, to some extent it is cornerstone of the software project it must be treated with great importance.

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