Function Point Analysis
<programming> (FPA) A standard metric for the relative size and
complexity of a software system, originally developed by Alan Albrecht of IBM in
the late 1970s.
Functon points (FPs) can be used to estimate the relative size and complexity of
software in the early stages of development - analysis and design. The size is
determined by identifying the components of the system as seen by the end-user:
the inputs, outputs, inquiries, interfaces to other systems, and logical
internal files. The components are classified as simple, average, or complex.
All of these values are then scored and the total is expressed in Unadjusted FPs
(UFPs). Complexity factors described by 14 general systems characteristics, such
as reusability, performance, and complexity of processing can be used to weight
the UFP. Factors are also weighted on a scale of 0 - not present, 1 - minor
influence, to 5 - strong influence. The result of these computations is a number
that correlates to system size.
Although the FP metric doesn't correspond to any actual physical attribute of a
software system (such as lines of code or the number of subroutines) it is
useful as a relative measure for comparing projects, measuring productivity, and
estimating the amount a development effort and time needed for a project.
See also International Function Point Users Group.
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