A classic reference on estimating the cost of software projects, economic analysis techniques, and applying economic principals to upper-level management of software projects. The intimidating appearance of the text on initial inspection is overcome by the author's excellent organization of the content into small chapters and his lucid writing style. The definition of a software cost model called the constructive cost model (COCOMO) is a major centerpiece. Another centerpiece is the chapters on cost-effectiveness analysis, multiple goal decision analysis, dealing with uncertainties and the value of information, software project planning and control, and improving software productivity. Alternatives to cost models such as experts, analogy, Parkinson, price-to-win, top-down, and bottom-up are discussed in Chapter 22. Uses several case studies for example a transaction processing system. Contains an excellent set of questions and exercises at the end of each chapter.
The COCOMO model is calibrated by industry data and expert opinion. Given module size estimates in lines of code as input the COCOMO model will predict effort and schedule in man-months. The COCOMO predictions cover the plans, product design, programming, and integration & test portions of the life cycle. The validity of the model is illustrated by charting actual vs. COCOMO prediction and the detailed analysis of the COCOMO cost driver attributes in Chapters 24-26. Product attributes are required software reliability (RELY), data base size (DATA), and product complexity (CPLX). Computer attributes are execution time constraint (TIME), main storage constraint (STOR), virtual machine volatility (VIRT), and computer turnaround time (TURN). Personnel attributes are analyst capability (ACAP), applications experience (AEXP), programmer capability (PCAP), virtual machine experience (VEXP), and programming language experience (LEXP). Project attributes are modern programming practices (MODP), use of software tools (TOOL), and required development schedule (SCED).
Readers should be aware that some aspects of the COCOMO have been replaced by the publication of the "Software Cost Estimation with COCOMO II" book. The "COCOMO II" book contains a preface section titled "Relation to 1981 Software Engineering Book". I recommend keeping a copy of this preface handy while you read "Software Engineering Economics" because it provides a chapter-by-chapter assessment of the relevance of the "Software Engineering Economics" content in the year 2000.