The purpose of the Software Development Cost Estimating Guidebook is to provide the cost analyst with a resource manual to use in developing credible software development cost estimates. A realistic estimate is based upon a solid understanding of the software development process and the historical data that forms a framework for the expected values. An estimating methodology that follows a proven process consistent with best practices and Department of Defense (DoD) policies further contributes to estimate validity.
The information is presented at two levels. The first level helps the experienced analyst immediately focus on the material necessary to develop credible estimates. The second level provides the novice, or infrequent user, educational information to build a foundation in software development and the estimating process.
The guidebook evolved from a handbook developed by the STSC for a number of select users, who went on to tailor their own specific versions and content. This version addresses a wider scope of material, considered by the STSC authors to be vitally important in forming a solid understanding of software cost estimating. The information does not dictate policy or supplant guidance given in official documents. The authors hope that everyone within the software cost estimating community in both the public and private sectors will find it useful. The software development and cost estimating information presented within these pages is not all-inclusive; yet, the guidebook is comprehensive, providing a single-resource document for use in creating credible estimates.