Friday, June 17, 2011

Be Informed to be measured in Function points

By: Willem Dicou

Function Point Analysis (FPA) is a method for measuring the functional scope of an information system, by looking at relevant user functions and (logical) data collections. The unit of measurement is the Function Point (Fp), which can be used in various ways.

A widely used application of FPA is making estimates for system development. The costs for building a system are related to its size: the larger the system, the more expensive it will be. From past experiences we know how many hours it takes on average to realize a function point: the production standard. Subsequently it is possible to calculate the value of a system and compare it to the price it was paid for.

The NESMA (Dutch Software Metrics Association) developed counting guidelines that in 2003 were certified by ISO as an official ISO standard. Basis for the Standard are the NESMA FPA counting guidelines as expressed in the “Manual of counting guidelines for the definition and application of function point analysis”. The standard is known as NESMA ISO / IEC 24570 and is now used in many countries worldwide.

Based on these standard guidelines, Be Informed created a directive by which systems developed using the Be Informed Business Process Platform can be measured, in both the preliminary stages based on the Be Informed Pattern Engine, and subsequently using the models stored in the repository. This directive has been validated by Galorath, an internationally renowned company in the field of software metrics.

Measurements of actual systems show that it is possible to reach a four to five times better score per function point using Be Informed. These results are already significant, but are even more remarkable when we consider that function points within Be Informed are not only used in building and testing, but in the "full life-cycle" of implementations.