Posted by: ahmedashfaque | September 16, 2016

How much effort involved in building a software product?


When a project starts to design and build a software product, then one obvious question arises as to how many people will be involved for how long in designing and building the software product. It is because, a software project is essentially a labor intensive work where skilled people work on creating various kinds artifacts which are required in designing and building a software product.

The requirement gathering and requirement specification creation itself is a labor intensive work. One or more business analysts will be needed for months in doing this work. Once requirement specifications are created then software designers use these specifications to design user interfaces, databases and business logic routines. Once designs are ready then software developers build user interfaces, business logic and database schemas. By this time, the software product is ready in the form of machine code. This machine code is tested by software testers to ensure that there are no software defects.

There could be many versions of the same software product to cater to the needs of different customers. Which version of the software product needs to be released so that particular type of customers can use them is done by software release experts.

Once a software product is in use then this software product may need to be modified to suit needs of the users better. Sometimes the software product may contain defects which were discovered during usage. In other cases, the product features of the software product may need to be enhanced. For all of these tasks, a software maintenance project can be instituted. A project team may be formed consisting of business analysts, software designers, software developers, software testers etc.

Effort estimation for any software project thus depends on quantity of work which need to be done in creating various artifacts. For example, if a business analyst is needed for one month to gather software requirements and create requirement specifications then it is known as one man month of effort required. Now if 2 software designers are needed in creating all software designs for one month then it will be 2 man months of effort required. You keep figuring out effort required for each project task and then add them to find out the total effort required for the project.

There are many tools and techniques which are used in estimating effort required for various project tasks. Some of them included COCOMO, function point analysis etc.

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