Measuring the size of a software project is critical to being able to manage it. I looked long and hard at various techniques, Cosmic, Nesma, man-days Agile story points and others. The one I kept coming back to was IFPUG Function Points, for these reasons:
- Compared with similar methods, IFPUG is rather like the dollar standard, it is the most used.
- I have found more published data on projects counted in FP than any other.
- Compared with Agile Story Points, it provides a reliable absolute measure of functionality
- It is well governed and documented, via IFPUG
- Publications, particularly those by Capers Jones give you very quick access to benchmarks and other project metrics based on thousands of projects
Function Point Analysis, FPA, is by no means perfect, and needs to be used with thought and care. But the bigger the project, the more helpful is the use of Function Point Analysis.
My Exposure to Function Point Analysis
Four years ago, I was first introduced to Function Points and the excellent publications of Capers Jones that allow you to benchmark counts against thousands of other projects. It became clear to me that this was the way to bring more certainty to software projects.
Since then I have counted every project I have laid my hands on. I became a qualified Function Point Practitioner and then a Certified Function Point Specialist CFPS. I now put Function Points at the heart of my project metrics, simply because they work.
To help speed up my Function Point counting I built ProjectSizer, tool for counting and recording the size of software projects.