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Success Case: SISL


Siemens Information Systems Ltd. (SISL), India, a software business unit of a large international software systems provider, which is already assessed at level 5 of the CMMI v1.1 staged, wanted to improve further its resource estimation process. The CoBRA® method was selected, since it utilizes both measurement data and the expertise of domain experts. Moreover, unlike most of the existing estimation methods, CoBRA could potentially contribute to the achievement of the estimation objectives defined by SISL. The estimation objectives defined by SISL included: (1) accurate project resource planning, (2) effective project risk management, (3) effective productivity improvement, and (4) effective process improvement.

The CoBRA® method already contributed to better estimation accuracy and identification of process improvement areas. In addition, the most relevant effort factors identified by CoBRA® may be further used for focusing risk management (short-term perspective) and process improvement (long-term perspective) activities in the most critical project/process areas related to development productivity.

The CoBRA® method was transferred to four members of an SISL business excellence (BE) team, who were responsible for later integrating the method into organizational processes. The CoBRA® method was conveyed in two steps. First, a comprehensive CoBRA® tutorial was delivered to the members of the BE team. Next, the pilot method application was performed in the context of medical software systems. The data from 11 already completed software enhancement projects as well as the expertise of three domain experts were used as inputs for creating the effort estimation model. The BE team coordinated the pilot CoBRA® application and supported the external CoBRA® expert who led the pilot.


Costs of introducing CoBRA® and model building

Involved personnel: 1 external CoBRA® consultant, 3 domain experts, 4 members of the Business Excellence team (pilot coordinators)
Avaliable measurement data: 11 historical projects
62 project characteristics
Duration: around 3 weeks
Effort per involved team member: Domain experts: 28 hours per expert (group meetings and interviews)
Business Excellence team (per team member):

16 hours of CoBRA® tutorial

About 37 hours of direct support and coordination of CoBRA® model development

About 120 hours of data collection and preparation
Total effort (approx.): Domain expert: 84 person-hours
Learning, support & coordination: 148 person-hours
Data collection and preparation: 240 person-hours

A. Trendowicz, M. Ochs, R. Singh, D. Ray
Software Effort Estimation with Well-Founded Causal Effort Modeling

Submitted to the 2nd International Conference on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, Kaiserslautern, Germany, 2008