Through the Fog – Controlling Software Acquisition Costs – Ian Brown

Controlling Software Acquisition Costs With Function Points and Estimation Tools

Ian Brown, Director of Operations and Systems Analysis, Galorath Inc.

Galorath's Ian Brown will be presenting this paper at the Canada ICEAA conference this week" Too often, organizations that contract for software development services are at the mercy of vendors for cost and schedule estimates. Once a program office releases a request for proposal for software development, it must somehow evaluate the validity of cost and schedule estimates that come back with the proposals. Or a program might have a limited budget or schedule but not a clear understanding of what amount of development is actually feasible within these limitations. This presentation proposes an approach that can help buyers of software take control of this situation by providing the ability to objectively evaluate software development proposals, select the best value for their needs, and effectively manage acquisition costs from kickoff to product delivery.

Ian points out the following major considerations:

  • The software acquisition process is often loaded with uncertainty
  • Two maxims are critical to effective estimation on software development projects
    • Estimation should facilitate communication between developer and customer
    • Scoping is important
  • Objective, transparent methodology serves as your roadmap through the fog of software acquisition
  • Watch your step in the fog –avoid pitfalls and bad decisions by  considering other key factors
  • Keep the fog away with periodic re-estimation throughout the project life cycle
  • Examples of viable estimation approaches with SEER for Software (SEER-SEM)