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Effort estimation for agile software development: Comparative case studies using COSMIC functional size measurement and story points
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Agile methodologies have gained significant popularity among software development organizations during the last decade. Although agile methodologies are regarded as minimizing formal processes, they still utilize an estimation methodology for proper management. Story point is the most common input for agile effort estimation. Story point is an arbitrary measure; it reflects experiences of project participants. On the other hand, functional size is an alternative measure used in practice as an input for effort estimation. In this research, we collect and present the outcomes of three case studies which compared the effectiveness of COSMIC-based and story point based effort estimation in agile context. On selected projects of these organizations, software functional size was measured with COSMIC functional size measurement methodology. Effort prediction models were formed by using COSMIC size and actual effort spent; and the models were tested in terms of their effectiveness. The results show controversial outcomes. For all the cases, COSMIC based estimation was more precise. Therefore, COSMIC is an appropriate measure to estimate the effort in organizations that adopt agile software development. It is also observed that COSMIC allowed for computing productivity which has less disperse distribution than the productivity computed with SP. The data is also provided to help other researchers conduct their own studies.