When embarking on a new project, the software engineering manager will need to decide early on whether to follow a Waterfall, Agile, Prototyping, Incremental or some hybrid or variant of these software processes. To assess project feasibility, to secure budget, and to properly plan resources and schedules, responsible managers should also decide about their software estimating process – whether to us expert judgment with estimating rules-of-thumb; parametric techniques like COCOMO and Function-Points; or estimating databases populated with analogies and proxies from prior projects. The characterizing attributes of a given new project greatly influence software process and estimating choices.This paper provides context and guidance that will help the software practitioner understand the influences of project attributes on the selection of suitable software processes and on software estimating techniques when embarking on the next software project. This paper will also assist companies decide how to best apply their resources to maintain a suitable software estimating infrastructure in support of project planning and execution.
Kal Toth is the Director of the Oregon Master of Software Engineering Program (OMSE) and Associate Professor in the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science, Portland State University (PSU). A Professional Engineer (P. Eng) with a software engineering designation registered in British Columbia, he has a Ph.D. from Carleton University in electrical and computer systems engineering. Kal has over 25 years of management, technical, and consulting experience leading and working for a range of technology companies and organizations including Hughes Aircraft, Datalink Systems Corp., BC Software Productivity Centre, the CGI Group Inc., Intellitech Canada Ltd., National Defence (Canada), Communications Canada, and External Affairs (Canada). He has managed and participated in a technical capacity addressing project management, software quality, and information security aspects of air traffic control, e-commerce, distributed information, and packet-switching systems. At PSU, he delivers software engineering courses covering software project management, software quality, and practicum projects. He is conducting research in the field of identity management and security.
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