Trinity College Dublin, Department of Computer Science
Delany, Sarah Jane; Cunningham, Pádraig. 'The Application of Case-Based Reasoning to Early Software Project Cost Estimation and Risk Assessment'. - Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Computer Science, TCD-CS-2000-10, 2000, pp20
Computer Science Technical Report TCD-CS-2000-10
In this paper we assess the applicability of case-based reasoning to the difficult problem
of early software project cost estimation. We conclude that a comprehensive case
representation is not available early in the project and suggest instead that the objective
should be risk assessment rather than cost estimation. In reaching this conclusion the
existing techniques for cost estimation are discussed and evaluated. A case
representation capturing the available predictive features for early estimation is
identified and presented. The lack of features to predict size early in the development
life cycle indicates a limitation of the conventional CBR model – and indeed any
knowledge-based approach. If a complete problem representation is not available an
automated reasoning mechanism will not be able to produce good cost estimates. The
alternative we propose is to focus on a measure called the productivity coefficient rather
than the expected effort. The productivity coefficient gives a measure of the potential
risk revealed by the characteristics of a project compared with previous project
experiences. The utility of this approach is described in a sample scenario.
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