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FP Life Cycle Management Process

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000199835D
Publication Date: 2010-Sep-17

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

A system and method for managing Function Point counting and the various processes that are needed to document, review and maintain Function Point data across an organization. The process involves the usage of a central repository to capture Baseline Function Point Counts and also Projected Function Points for enhancement projects. A workflow for reviews has been defined to ensure the projections are as accurate as the actual Function Points. Capability to generate customized reports and documents from the centralized data collection is also included.

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FP Life Cycle Management Process

Introduction

Function Point is a unit of measurement to express the amount of business functionality an Information System provides to a user. Function Points are an ISO recognized software metric to size an Information System based on the functionality that is perceived by the user of the Information System, independent of the technology used to implement the Information System.

The method of measuring the size of an information system and expressing it in number of Function Points is called Function Point Analysis (FPA). The method is kept up to date by worldwide cooperating FPA user groups like NESMA and IFPUG. Function point analysis expresses the functional size of an information system in a number of function points (for example: the size of a system is 314 FPs). The functional size may be used to:

Budget application development or enhancement costs.

1.

Budget the annual maintenance costs of the application portfolio.

2.

Determine project productivity after completion of the project.

3.

Determine the Software Size for cost estimation.

4.

FPA can also be used to find the testing effort required in the information system.

In large ADM accounts, Function Points are used to measure "productivity", which would be a part of the contractual commitments to the client. Productivity is calculated for each project, by dividing the total Function Points delivered to the client by the total effort in person months to implement the project.

Problem Statement

Current FP Lifecycle Process

In large ADM projects, with multiple applications and projects, which are delivered in multiple releases through the year, tracking and ensuring the FP projections and final FP counts is a major challenge.

Typically, all applications will have a Baseline FP Count (BFPC) document which will detail all the functionalities that the application currently supports. "Charismatek Function Point Workbench" is one of the most popular tools used by FP counters to perform counting and record the counts. This tool supports the generation of the BFPC Document in various output formats like HTML, XML, etc.

Projects are deployed in multiple stages or releases and every release causes changes to the BFPC, which then needs to be manually tracked and updated for future release workbooks. This will need rework to update future project workbooks.

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For many software maintenance accounts, Productivity is a very important measure, and hence projections are as important as the actual counts to ensure that the account is on target to achieve the stated SLAs. For every development impacted project, Function Points are counted at various phases of the project lifecycle, viz.

Proposal

1.

Initial User/Technical Requirements

2.

Final Functional Requirements

3.

Delivery

4.

The Function Points at each count are refined as the requirements get clearer. Projected function points are one of the bases for many decisions for the managers through...