Introduction

Industry experience has shown that an emphasis on project management and control offsets much of the risk associated with software projects. One of the major components of better management and control of both in-house development and a package implementation is measurement.

This includes measurement of:

  1. The SCOPE of the project e.g.:
  2. Performance indicators of efficiency and cost effectiveness e.g.:
  3. Quality indicators e.g.:

The outcome of a Function Point count provides the metric ‘unit of software delivered’ and can be used to assist in the management and control of software development, customisation or major enhancements from early project planning phases through to the ongoing support of the application.

Knowing the software size facilitates the creation of more accurate estimates of project resources and delivery dates and facilitates project tracking to monitor any unforeseen increases in scope. The measurement of the performance indicators enables benchmarking against other development teams and facilitates better estimating of future projects. These are only some of the ways in which Function Point Analysis (FPA) can assist IT management. These and other lesser known ways in which FPA can assist IT to move towards ‘best practice’ in the management of their software products and Processes, are discussed in the following sections.

The benefits of using measurement to support management decision-making, can only be achieved if the information supporting these decisions is relevant, accurate and timely. In order to ensure the quality of their measurement data, organisations need to implement a ‘measurement Process’. The cost of implementing the activities, procedures and standards to support the function point counting Process will depend on the size and structure of the organisation and their measurement needs. These considerations are discussed in the last section Costs of Implementing Function Point Analysis.