Estimating Software Development Projects

MSIT-SE-M-18 Estimating Software Development Projects

Credits: 6

Semester: Fall

Length: half of semester


Good estimates are defined as those that enable project success at a minimum cost. Unrealistically small, as well as unnecessarily large, estimates result in the misallocation of resources and wasteful spending and are one of the most important causes of project failures. To be accepted, a good estimate needs to be defensible. This means that the estimates must be explicit, based upon known capabilities and incorporate quantified uncertainty.

The course puts emphasis on the communication of the estimate to those responsible for approving it, the cognitive biases and administrative behaviors that afflict the estimation process, the integration of cost estimation and risk management.

After completing the course students would:

  • Have a deep understanding of the different estimation techniques: expert judgment, counting and parametric; their strengths and weaknesses and their applicability
  • Be able to reason about cost, schedule and uncertainty using valid constructs
  • Be able to develop defensible estimates and schedules for software development and maintenance projects


The course assumes the students has a basic understanding of probabilities and software development lifecycles.

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