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Rocko Bonaparte
Mar 12, 2002

Every day is Friday!


I'm looking at Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art again after giving it a first spin some time around 2013. I've had a lot of success with the decomposition/recomposition technique from it and decided to skim some of the later chapters. When it comes to schedule constraints, he brings up an equation Boehm came up with:

Schedule in months = 3.0 * Staff Months^1/3 (cube root)

The 3.0 constant would tend to range from 2.0 to 4.0. It's an attempt at showing the effect of throwing more people at a problem and the diminishing returns that ensues. Way back when, it was regarded as a good rule of thumb, but the book I'm reading claims it comes from something from 1981. I was looking around some more on the formula and I saw some criticisms that come down to it not factoring iterative processes. This might be pretty funny because you might have just googled up Boehm and found this spiral model he had which is like a proto-Agile. I'm not really familiar with it, but it looks like he had that idea, but the number itself comes out of something more like good-old-waterfall.

Something I'm trying to find is a more elaborate model that accounts for the design/architectural "prework" that happens after initial planning but before regular development. A plan has been made, estimates have been given, and now a pile of people are getting thrown at an empty git repository. Lacking any design or architectural focus, the process turns into a perpetual refactor. I was wondering if there's any other well-established models that consider having a phase like that and how to accommodate that into schedule. I'm interested in it for the sake of the numbers, but also just for the sake of it existing. That is, if somebody's bothered to put some thoughts on it to ink, then it's not just me pissing in the wind.

I started the thread because I figured I'd have more to ask and think about, and there wasn't a thread about this in the first place. I wanted to also see how much people care or if this is just the kind of thing to one-off in a general thread.

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