Software Project Estimation: COCOMO II Metrics and Cost Model



When professionals involved with software development, maintenance or management have to provide a technical estimation of time or effort required for a new initiative; they avoid doing it. This happens when there is a confusion regarding what technique, estimation or determination of a goal or commitment should be used. When there is an answer, the most common is to offer a single point, a date or a number of hours.
Answers like those ones based on impressions, only increase the confusion between terms such as an estimate, a goal or commitment generating serious prejudice in the process.
COCOMOII (Constructive Cost Model) is an alternative to include components of uncertainty according to level of information available. It is a parametric model that establishes mathematical equations that describe the relationships between software size - primary cost factor usually represented in terms of function points - and other secondary factors that look to identify features of a product, process, people and platform. These factors are known as cost drivers. Some of them have proportional effect and others have exponential effect.
The model provides a complete framework to determine local productivity factors (productivity constants) based on time and effort data in past projects. One of the main advantages of COCOMOII is to provide estimates of time and effort, and from that, suggest the size of the team.






The objective of this Software Estimates course with COCOMOII, is to give the participant knowledge such that he/she is able to:

  • Establish differences between estimating, making a commitment and setting a goal. The latter allows for the participant to take a position of someone who uses the technique to provide an estimate, in contrast with someone who takes more time and resources.
  • The participant must be able to present the options and scenarios to choose the best option for those responsible for setting goals or making commitments based on a solid foundation and knowledge management tools.
  • Differentiate between a direct estimate and a parametric estimation model. Specifically in regards to those terms, we discuss the features among them based on deterministic models and those ones based on stochastic models.
  • Transform the time and effort ranges which can be optimistic, most probable and pessimistic provided by stochastic estimation models or by the direct estimation into a certain number of hours or months with respect to probability.
  • Differentiate between the three models that make up COCOMO II: Application Composition, Early Design and Post -Architecture; and selecting the most appropriate one according to the level of information.
  • Use function point as primary cost parameter model, and evaluate other secondary cost parameters related to the product, process and employees.
  • Interpret the results of the model in terms of which activities of the stage in the life cycle are included in the generated estimates. The individual should also be able to interpret which job categories are considered in the results, and what points the model should be read as a market reference and which ones must be adapted to the local conditions where they will be applied.

The course does not limit itself to the operation of the model; it also has as an objective to cover topics such as its administration. By the end of this course, the participant should be able to:

  • Modify the percentages of time and effort according to the managerial oversight phase
  • Choose the best quality metric to evaluate and adapt the model considering its characteristics and metrics which are appropriate to the organizational policy where the model will be used.
  • Adapt the model using the the roadmap from the book "Software Cost Estimation With COCOMO II" and Microsoft Excel "Solver".
  • Define a local policy with the interpretation of subjective aspects of the guidelines for qualitative evaluation of secondary factors such as employment, product, platform and process costs.

Intended for



Professionals involved in the systems implementation, development, quality assurance and procurement.


Experience in software projects and knowledge about Function Point Analysis or participation in the Function Point Analysis: Fundamentals, Applications and Implementation course.



  • An overview of the COCOMO II model 
  • Basic estimation concepts 
  • Direct estimates 
  • Parametric models 
  • Process 
    • Process models 
    • After defining the architecture 
    • Near to the beginning of the project 
    • Consolidating the reused, adapted and new code
  • The COCOMO II and its components 
  • Calibration 
  • Inputs
    • Primary Factor Cost: sSize 
    • Relationship between function points and lines of code 
    • "Backfiring" Definition
    • The "Cost drivers" and "Scale Factors" 
  • Outputs 
    • Effort
    • Cost 
    • Term 
    • Team 
  • Process Models 
    • After defining the architecture 
    • Near the beginning of the project 
  • Equations
  • COCOMOII Parameters 
    • Cost Drivers 
    • Scale Factors 
  • "Backfiring" Considerations 
  • Considerations for model calibration 
  • Exploring "what-if" scenarios 
  • Case Study




16 hours. This course is entitled to a credit of 16 PDUs to be applied in the PMP certification program.


Educational Material
Handouts with reference material, copies of the slides, exercises and case studies, solved exercises and a participation certificate delivered in a PDF file for the students that obtain a grade average of 75% or higher. Although it is not necessary for the work described, a Microsoft Windows notebook with Excel (with the Solver Plugin) makes this experience more interesting.



Exclusive promotion for ex-students
80% discount on the registration fee for ex-students (open classrooms or in-company) of this course*.
5% discount on the registration fee for ex-students (open classrooms or in-company) of any other course of FATTO.
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