Software Estimation Resources

Construx Estimate™ 2.0 software estimation tool provides numerous resource-estimation, scheduling, and planning functions.

Construx's Software Estimation Training. This two-day course presents both the art and science of software estimation, with an emphasis on the art of estimation.

Software Estimation's Cone of Uncertainty. A discussion of the relationship between software projects' inherent variability and the accuracy of software estimates.

Construx's Estimation Process Workshop. Construx's estimation process workshop enables your organization to create a standard estimation procedure that provides an analytical process for creating estimates, a mechanism to refine the estimates throughout the project, and ongoing improvement of estimation accuracy through the use of historical data. Fact Sheet (pdf)

Cone of Uncertainty and Cost of Estimation Error posters. Available for free download.

Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art, by Steve McConnell. This book is similar to the estimation seminar described above, but it goes into more detail on some of the techniques and provides additional techniques that aren't presented in the class.

"10 Deadly Sins of Software Estimation," slides from an executive presentation by Steve McConnell.

Construx Surveyor provides for automated collection of comprehensive size data, including counts of lines of code, document pages, and other size data.

Commercial Software Estimation Tools

LiquidPlanner. LiquidPlanner is comprehensive project management software built around a probabilistic scheduling engine that uses ranged estimates to capture uncertainty in every task. LiquidPlanner then applies statistical methods to each project’s series of ranged estimates to determine the probability of completing each task—and ultimately the entire project by a certain date. The software includes time tracking, collaboration features, access controls, client sharing portals, email notifications, and many other features. It is methodology agnostic and conforms to fit project teams of all types.

SLIM-Estimate. SLIM is produced by Quantitative Software Management (QSM), which is home to Lawrence Putnam, one the foremost experts in the field of software estimation. This site contains a downloadable demonstration of SLIM, QSM's impressive software estimation program. SLIM makes use of a database containing data from about 4000 software projects from QSM's consulting business and other sources. SLIM can easily be calibrated to any user's environment and runs on several different hardware platforms. It produces hundreds of graphs and reports, which can be combined in various ways. Sets of these outputs can be run as computer slide shows for management briefings and other purposes. Estimate Express is a  lighter weight estimating tool that is more affordable.

KnowledgePlan. KnowledgePlan or "KP" is produced by Software Productivity Research (SPR). KP emphasizes ease of use and incorporates strong links to Microsoft Project. SPR is the home of Capers Jones, a prominent expert in the field of software measurement. This site contains some useful items including white papers on software measurement, reuse, and other topics.

SEER line of software estimation tools is produced by Galorath Incorporated. Their signature SEER-SEM tool is designed for software project planning, estimation and control. Their SEER-H tool is for hardware development production and support. For manufacturing and design, they have the SEER-DFM tool.

Costar. This is an automated implementation of Cocomo produced by Softstar Systems and is more economical than the higher end tools.

Many useful software estimation tools exist in addition to Construx Estimate. If you know of an estimation tool you think should be added to the list below, please contact us at

Public-Domain (free) Tools

Cocomo 2.0. This is a general link to the Cocomo website. Here's a specific link to USC's Cocomo II tool.

Other Software Estimation Related Resources on the Internet

CrossTalk magazine ("The Journal of Defense Software Engineering") has focused on estimation several times, including April 2005, June 2002, and April 2000. CrossTalk's articles tend to be short, to the point, and easy to read.

DACS has a comprehensive, well-organized list of estimation resources, as well as information on many other software topics.

Cocomo 2.0/MBASE. This site contains numerous resources related to estimation including a white paper about Cocomo 2.0, the successor to the Cocomo model described in Barry Boehm's 1981 book, Software Engineering Economics. It also contains a USC software implementation of Cocomo II for Solaris 2.4, SunOS 4.x with Motif, and Microsoft Windows.

NASA SEL software estimation study. This was a study conducted for internal purposes by the NASA Software Engineering Lab. It's quite dated at this point (1993), but the form of the analysis is still interesting.

SEPO SPAWAR (Systems Engineering Process Office (SEPO) of the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR)) contains several links to estimation resources, especially the REVIC estimation software.