Niwot Ridge Resources

A Source of Information for Mission Critical Systems, Management Processes, and Strategies

Software Management Tools

There are numerous tools used during a consulting engagement. The primary tools include software development management, cost estimating, and risk assessment.

Software Cost Estimating is a critical success factor in any development effort. Some estimates are created carefully, and others are created by seat-of-the-pants guesses. Most projects overshoot their estimated schedules by anywhere from 25 to 100 percent, but a few organizations have achieved schedule-prediction accuracies to within 10 percent, and 5 percent is not unheard of.  An accurate schedule estimate is part of the foundation of maximum development speed. Without an accurate schedule estimate, there is no foundation for effective planning and no support for rapid development. The primary tool used for software cost estimating is Estimate Pro

Managing the risks associated with software development requires careful and consistent control of the risk assessment and mitigation process. Risk Radar form the Software Program Managers Network, provides an easy means of capturing, tracking, and reporting risks.

The design and development of distributed systems has become both easy and hard. One place to start is Performance Dynamics.

The Together/J UML tool is a powerful application for analyzing, designing, and developing OO based software. The Coad Letter is a news letter of Peter Coad.

There are now so many Software Tools, here is a separate page for them.

Software Measurement and Tools

The use of measurement tools for software development projects has its benefits and costs. The benefits include establishing a baseline for future software estimates and measurements. The primary costs involve the illusion that the measurements themselves have meaning independent of the domain in which they were taken. This domain includes the project attributes, the people involved in the project and the specific situation in the which the project was performed.

The following sites are a starting point for a rich and complex domain.


COCOMO is an estimating processes used by many tools. There are numerous sites dedicated to COCOMO and tools derived from COCOMO.


A major difference between a "well developed" science such as physics and some of the less "well-developed" sciences such as psychology or sociology is the degree to which things are measured. Fred S. Roberts.


The primary COCOMO II site is a the Center for Software Engineering, at the University of Southern California.


Capers Jones Benchmark Summary is derived from the book Software Assessments, Benchmarks, and Best Practices, Addison Wesley, 2000.


COSMOS is a state-of-the-art software project estimation and analysis tool gives project managers insight into the size, effort, and schedule of their software development project. This tool is unique in that it combines the well-known Function Point (IFPUG) and, COCOMO (COnstructive COst MOdel), models as well as a Rayleigh model of staff buildup proposed by Lawrence Putnam. These three models can be used independently or work together.

The Software Process Improvement Network (SPIN) is comprised of individuals who want to improve software engineering practice. Some of the more interesting ones are below:

Tucson SPIN

Chicago SPIN New Jersey SPIN

Los Angeles SPIN

Illinois Heartland SPIN Philadelphia SPIN

San Diego SPIN

Southern Maryland SPIN Austin SPIN

Silicon Valley SPIN

Twin Cities SPIN Dallas SPIN

Atlanta SPIN

Omaha SPIN San Antonio SPIN


Milwaukee SPIN Boston Spin
  Research Triangle SPIN  

COSMIC (The Common Software Metrics International Consortium) is an ISO method for fucntion size measurement.


A Function Point Counter


Galorath Associates is a consulting firm focused on hardware and software cost estimating


The NASA Parametric Cost Estimating Handbook is a online resource 


The International Society of Parametric Analyst site provides a handbook and resources for cost and size estimating.


DCAS Analyst Corner lists many metrics tools vendors. This site is part of a larger DCAS Information Clearing House


Brad Appleton's site has many links to software tool vendors.


The Software Technology Support Center provides many resources for metrics as well.


Howard Rubin hosts a newsletter on metrics.


Randy Jensen's decades of software estimating wisdom is condensed into the Sage tool


The International Function Point User Group provides resources for FP counting.


MetricNet is a newsletter dedicated to IT metrics.


The History of Software Measurement is hosted by Horst Zuse at the technical University of Berlin.

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