Next-Generation Cost Estimation And Metrics For Software-Intensive Systems

Principal Investigator: Dr. Barry Boehm, University of Southern California (

Timeframe:  August 2009 to July 2011 (Phase I); July 2011 to June 2012 (Phase II); July 2012 to June 2013 (Phase III)

Category:  Systems Engineering and Systems Management Transformation


Objectives: The objective of this research is to establish a robust and cost effective software metrics collection process that supports the legitimate data needs of the Department of Defense (DoD), while imposing minimal burdens on the acquisition workforce and its industry partners. Further objectives are to enhance the utility of the collected data to oversight and management entities, and to academic and commercial research into improved cost estimation of future DoD software-intensive systems, as well as to the DoD cost community.


  • Perform research on needed improvements in current cost estimation metrics, models and methods for software-intensive systems (SISs) to reflect emerging changes in DOD SIS cost and process drivers
  • Collect and analyze data to test hypothesis about SIS cost estimation metrics, models and methods initially focusing on software sizing, reuse and productivity
  • Explore alternative SIS cost estimation methods via data mining of SIS size, effort, and process data
  • Transition research results by developing chapters on DoD SIS software sizing, reuse and productivity for a Software Cost Estimation Metrics Manual
  • Support the establishment of policy, related guidance, and recommended implementation approaches for data collection and analysis across all DoD acquisition programs which leverage existing and emerging data standards
  • Develop and evolve an integrated SIS data repository and related tools that enable program assessment, cost analysis, SIS development risk assessment, and progress measurement

Application: Besides contributing to DoD software cost estimation and data collection guidance documents such as the Air Force Cost Analysis Agency (AFCAA) Software Cost Estimation Metrics Manual and educational activities, the researchers will develop and present tutorials, conference and journal papers, and participate in DoD and community software cost estimation and data collection conferences and workshops. They will continue their cost estimation community-building activities through their government-industry Affiliates program and their annual Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO)/Systems and Software Cost Estimation Forum, whose tool fair includes zero-fee demos by the major commercial cost model vendors.



  • Turner, R., Anderson, D., Ingold, D., Lane, J., Madachy, R. “An Event-driven Value-based Pull Systems Engineering Scheduling Approach”, Proceedings of the 6th Annual IEEE International Systems Conference, March 1, 2012.

Research Team


  • Dr. Barry Boehm, University of Southern California
  • Dr. Wilson Rosa, AFCAA Sponsor
  • Dr. Ray Madachy, Naval Postgraduate School
  • Dr. Bradford Clark, University of Southern California and Software Metrics
  • Dr. JoAnn Lane, University of Southern California
  • Dr. Thomas Tan, University of Southern California
  • Mr. Ramin Moazeni, University of Southern California

Collaborating Institutions

Project Researchers