An Empirical Analysis of Effort Distribution of Small Real- Client Projects

Keywords An Empirical Analysis of Effort Distribution of Small Real- Client Projects effort distribution Empirical study project milestone software cost estimation
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This empirical study is a continuation of the work reported by Zhihao Chen in [Chen 2005]. While the previous work analyzed the effort data of 29 small real-client projects done between Fall 2001 and Spring 2004 this study presents the analysis of 23 similar projects done between Fall 2005 and Spring 2008. While there are many similarities between this work and the previous, there are some important differences. First and foremost, the projects selected for this empirical study are much more similar to each other. For instance, all projects in this study are custom-development projects (as opposed to being a mix of COTS-based and custom-development in the previous work). Secondly, the software development process followed by these 23 newer projects is a leaner version of the process used by the older 29 projects.

Another important difference is that our work analyzes the overall effort of the
projects while the previous work analyzed the different components (e.g. Design, Implementation, etc.) and subcomponents (e.g. Modeling for SSAD, Component Prototyping, etc.) of the overall effort. Last, but not the least, we look at the impact of project type (web-based vs. non-web-based) on the effort distribution – something not considered in the previous work.

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This paper presents an analysis of the weekly effort distribution of 23 small real-client projects. The procedure used in collecting the effort data is described and the major findings are summarized. The results indicate the crests and troughs of project effort in relation to the major project milestones. Possible reasons for the peculiarities in the effort distribution are also discussed. Moreover, an attempt is made to analyze the impact of project type on the effort distribution by comparing the effort profiles of web-based projects with non-web-based projects.

University of Southern California
Ali Afzal Malik, Barry W. Boehm
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