Software Cost Engineering is a profession! However, in many organizations even large projects are estimated by just asking the engineers, architects, testers, project managers and other experts to come up with the estimate, based on their experience. In the Software Cost Engineering community, this is often referred to as ‘Estimation maturity level 0’. Although these expert estimates are sometimes quite accurate, they are also subjective, not repeatable, not backed up by data, not verifiable and therefore not defensible.

The problem is that humans (experts) systematically underestimate software projects and that starting software projects with unrealistically optimistic expectations usually results in huge overruns in the end. When the customer asks on what ground the estimate is based, you really don’t wish to answer: “our engineers just think so”.

The International Cost Estimation and Analysis Association (ICEAA), the International Function Point User Group (IFPUG) and the Dutch Nesma (formerly known as Netherlands Software Metrics Association) are forming a consortium to develop a Software Cost Engineering Body of Knowledge (SCEBoK) and a certification program for Certified Software Cost Engineer. Although this initiative just started, already a lot of enthusiastic reactions were received from the industry and many well-known software metrics gurus offered their support.

The SCEBoK and associated certification have a huge potential in an industry that is struggling to come up with accurate software project estimations, for sure resulting in more successful projects and less waste.

ISBSG supports this initiative and I am positive that the data ISBSG provides will help a lot of software cost engineers to create accurate estimates based on actual capabilities.