Software development is an increasingly influential factor in today’s business environment, and a major issue affecting software development is how an organization estimates projects. If the organization underestimates cost, schedule, and quality requirements, the end results will not meet customer needs. On the other hand, if the organization overestimates these criteria, resources that could have been used more profitably will be wasted.
There is no accurate model or measure available that can guide an organization in a quest for software development, with existing estimation models often underestimating software development efforts as much as 500 to 600 percent. To address this issue, existing models usually are calibrated using local data with a small sample size, with resulting estimates not offering improved cost analysis.
This study presents a conceptual model for accurately estimating software development, based on an extensive literature review and theoretical analysis based on Sociotechnical Systems (STS) theory. The conceptual model serves as a solution to bridge organizational and technological factors and is validated using an empirical dataset provided by the DoD.
Practical implications of this study allow for practitioners to concentrate on specific constructs of interest that provide the best value for the least amount of time. This study outlines key contributing constructs that are unique for Software Size E-SLOC, Man-hours Spent, and Quality of the Product, those constructs having the largest contribution to project productivity. This study discusses customer characteristics and provides a framework for a simplified project analysis for source selection evaluation and audit task reviews for the customers and suppliers.
Theoretical contributions of this study provide an initial theory-based hypothesized project productivity model that can be used as a generic overall model across several application domains such as IT, Command and Control, Simulation and etc¿¿¿ This research validates findings from previous work concerning software project productivity and leverages said results in this study. The hypothesized project productivity model provides statistical support and validation of expert opinions used by practitioners in the field of software project estimation.