4 - SCOPE reduces dependence on highly Skilled Counters
Microsoft Excel Counting
Organisations typically custom build or use a free industry spreadsheet for recording their FP counts. The design of these worksheets usually constrains the FP Analyst to record every type of function in the same list (sheet). That is, the count will have Inputs, Outputs, Enquiries, Internal and External Files all counted within the same spreadsheet using the same columns. Since the rules for assigning complexity and the FPs are different for each type of function, it is almost impossible to incorporate all these complex rules into the formula logic of a single cell. Therefore much of the IFPUG function point rule validation is left to the Analyst to do manually from memory. Unfortunately for novices and people who count infrequently this results in many functions being assigned invalid FP values for their type and complexity and Excel has no means of identifying and flagging the errors. E.g. High Complexity External Output = 6fps
Few spreadsheet solutions provide any online HELP for users who need to know the correct way of completing the spreadsheet to avoid corrupting the data. When spreadsheets formulas are corrected or bugs in the sheet are fixed, there is rarely any version control to ensure that counters only use the latest corrected version of a spreadsheet for their count templates.
SCOPE was specifically built to optimise counting speed by automatically applying all the IFPUG calculation rules such that an FP Analyst counting an Enhancement only needs to know information such as a Process is changed by a project and that it now accesses another Data Group. The FP Analysts just need to link the existing Process to the new Data Group and SCOPE will automatically update the complexity and size accordingly. The counters do not have to know the appropriate IFPUG ranges for complexity nor do they need to know what other files are accessed by that process, since that information is automatically retained from previous counts. SCOPE also provides an inbuilt expert system (FP Decision Maker™) so if the FP Analysts are not sure how to determine if the function is an elementary process or if they are unsure of what type of elementary process, then FP Decision Maker™ will walk them through the IFPUG CPM logic for their decision and give them and expert opinion as to the correct result. SCOPE's inbuilt Function Point Counting expertise allows organisations to use less experienced FP Analysts and achieve greater inter-counter consistency and accuracy. The FP Analysts also have the capability to document their counts so that anyone checking them can ascertain how they made their counting decision. These decisions are retained with the Process or Data Group over its lifetime in the software so all future counts can leverage from past counting experience.
SCOPE has a very comprehensive context sensitive, searchable HELP inbuilt along with over 15 online Tutorials for ensuring it is used appropriately.
In addition, the traceability of all counting decisions reduces the auditing time of counts by about 80%. SCOPE provides additional validity checks to assist auditing in its reporting by comparing the count profiles to industry profiles which automatically highlights potential over-counting or undercounting issues. SCOPE's enables multi-dimensional cross-referencing of count processes and data groups to the requirements specifications, allowing the auditor to easily check the completeness of coverage of the Users Requirements within the count.
SCOPE saves costs of only using very experienced counters and teaches novice counters the correct counting rules so they make the correct count decisions their counts are more accurate and easier to audit.
SCOPE saves costs of audits by automatically reporting where counts vary from industry profiles and providing sophisticated traceability to count decisions.