Evidence-Based Software Engineering

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Software Engineering Evidence Map

One of the goals of this website is to document secondary studies of software engineering topics. This page classifies SLRs and mapping studies using the knowledge areas defined by the SWEBOK.

CategoryStudiesStudy Details

[S22] Evidence-based guidelines for assessment of software development cost uncertainty

2005, M. Jorgensen

Source: The impact of search procedures for systematic literature reviews – A participant-observer case study

Several studies suggest that uncertainty assessments of software development costs are strongly biased toward overconfidence, i.e., that software cost estimates typically are believed to be more accurate than they really are. This overconfidence may lead to poor project planning. As a means of improving cost uncertainty assessments, we provide evidence-based guidelines for how to assess software development cost uncertainty, based on results from relevant empirical studies. The general guidelines provided are: 1) Do not rely solely on unaided, intuition-based uncertainty assessment processes, 2) do not replace expert judgment with formal uncertainty assessment models, 3) apply structured and explicit judgment-based processes, 4) apply strategies based on an outside view of the project, 5) combine uncertainty assessments from different sources through group work, not through mechanical combination, 6) use motivational mechanisms with care and only if greater effort is likely to lead to improved assessments, and 7) frame the assessment problem to fit the structure of the relevant uncertainty information and the assessment process. These guidelines are preliminary and should be updated in response to new evidence.
Our Assessment: Jørgensen identified 7 evidence-based guidelines to help assess the uncertainty in software cost estimates. The guidelines advocate avoiding sole reliance either on expert opinion or on formal models, the use of an assessment process, an outside view of the project, avoiding mechanically combining assessments, moderating uses of incentives, and careful framing of the assessment task.
Software RequirementsS23, S26, S27, S63
Software DesignS1, S25, S31, S38
Software ConstructionS18, S43, S61
Software TestingS10, S17, S28, S62
Software MaintenanceS24, S30
Software Configuration Management -
Software Engineering ManagementM4, S5, S7, S8, S11, S12, S14, S21, S22, S29, S45, S46, S53, S66
Software Engineering ProcessesS3, S41, S47, S49, S50
Software Engineering Tools and MethodsS60, S64, S65
Software QualityM1, S15
Unclassified -