Estimation of Effort Technique Based on the E-R model to Project Software Development Costs

by Arlyn R
During the 2011 World Congress on Information and Communication Technologies conference, the authors Mishra and Mall (2011) of, “Estimation of Effort Based on Back-end Size of Business Software Using ER Model,” developed the DSER model (Database Size estimation based on ER diagram) to estimate costs of a software project through estimating effort resultant from its entity-relationship model. Estimation of effort uses metrics of total entity size, relationship size, semantic integrity constraints size, and database size from its ER diagram (Mishra & Mall, 2011, p. 1099). The authors compare their metric with the COCOMO (Constructive Cost Model) technique, which is an existing popular effort estimation technique used to estimate the number of person-months required for a specified software development project. However, COCOMO does not include the complexity of constraints and attributes that DSER utilizes and the DSER metric calculates person-hours to better estimate costs (NASA 2007). The DSER model and metric was further tested by analyzing five University software development projects to show a strong relationship between “… effort and independent variables of ER diagram artifacts (Mishra & Mall, 2011, p. 1101).” Thus, the DSER model, novel in its inclusion in the size of the ER diagram, total semantic constraint size and relationship size, supports the correlation with development effort.

This paper/article was appropriate in relationship to the current lecture topic regarding E-R models. With the understanding of entity-relationship model design, this article helps relate the importance of capturing data characteristics for not only ensuring a robust product but also in the projections of development necessary in the developer – client relationship. Mishra and Mall determine their technique on the inclusion of not only the many attributes and relationships but also the cardinality constraints that affect the size of the database and ultimately the effort in software development. The authors validate their model by analyzing five software development projects. Multiple regression analysis of the projects supports the DERS model by showing a strong relationship to DERS factors of total semantic integrity constraint and total entity-relationship diagram size.

I found this article useful in further cementing the terms of E-R modeling and association to give a bigger picture on its application. If the authors used a larger number of software development projects for its statistical analysis, it could have better supported the DSER model application’s evidence of relationship between back-end size and effort estimation. All in all, the topic prompted me to further research into the existing techniques for projecting software development, such as COCOMO. Although Constructive Cost Modeling “jumps ahead” to a topic yet to be covered, I consider this article a good primer into the complexities of software development.

Mishra, S., & Mall, R. (2011). Estimation of effort based on back-end size of business software using er model. 2011 World Congress on Information and Communication Technologies, vol., no., pp.1098-1103, 11-14 Dec. 2011
doi: 10.1109/WICT.2011.6141401. Retrieved April 7, 2012, from IEEE XPLORE .

NASA. 2007. Basic COCOMO. 2007 NASA Cost Symposium. Retrieve April 7, 2012, from