Saturday, April 27, 2013

Software Estimation

My entry on Probabilistic Programming got me to wondering about estimating productivity. Made me dig out J.P. Lewis classic paper Mathematical Limits to Software Estimation.

Abstract: Algorithmic (KCS) complexity results can be interpreted as indicating some limits to software estimation. While these limits are abstract they nevertheless contradict enthusiastic claims occasionally made by commercial software estimation advocates. Specifically, if it is accepted that algorithmic complexity is an appropriate definition of the complexity of a programming project,then claims of purely objective estimation of project complexity, development time, and programmer productivity are necessarily incorrect.

Mr. Lewis wrote a lengthy supplement, elaborating on the many misunderstands of what the paper actually said. Alas it did not really help me figure how to estimate the time it might take to use probabilistic methods. At this point, that is probably not even possible given this prenatal state of the probabilistic methodology?