QSM Resources
Forty years of research – in one convenient place.
Home QSM Benchmark Tables
QSM Benchmark Tables
Average Project Performance
The following reference tables are updated versions of the QSM Benchmark Tables, which provide summary performance data (schedule, effort, staff, and Implementation Units/PM) for typical projects from QSM’s Business, Engineering, and Real Time software databases. They are based on recently completed software projects. This information provides a high level, quick reference for benchmarking both completed projects and software estimates.
About Benchmarks
Performance benchmark tables are a useful high-level tool for sanity checking a project estimate or evaluating the performance of a software project. They are the first step in those processes. Their strength is that they provide average performance numbers taken from across the software industry for productivity, level of effort, schedule, and staffing to compare against and perform sanity checks. Their weakness is that they know nothing about the nuances of any individual project or estimate, which must be taken into account for meaningful analysis. They are a useful tool and a good first step in analysis, but not definitive.
 
A Word About the Updates
This updated version of the Performance Benchmark Tables includes some changes that are noted here:
All data supplied in these tables comes from QSM’s historical database of over 13,000 completed projects. The QSM database is a cornerstone asset utilized in all of our consulting service engagements. It represents the largest and most complete set of validated and completed software project data in the world.
In addition to benchmark data provided free of charge to the general public, QSM also offers custom consulting and benchmarking services to address specialized research and analysis needs.
Business Systems (Implementation Units)
Business Systems (Function Points)
Engineering Systems
Real Time Systems
Measures
Business Systems Implementation Unit (New and Modified IU) Benchmarks
Business Project Medians Based on Project Size Quartiles (IU)
 Quartile 1Quartile 2MedianQuartile 3Quartile 4
Duration (Mths)3.25.055.205.508.10
50% Range2.33 - 4.803.00 - 7.40 3.90 - 8.655.70 - 12.95
Effort Hours9652,0963,3135,16313,523
50% Range422 - 1,9541,230 - 3,418 2,574 - 8,2217,353 - 33,050
Avg Staff1.572.663.954.6910.53
50% Range.71 - 3.011.39 - 5.65 2.53 - 9.045.95 - 16.89
IU/PM200377390477618
50% Range89 - 466216 - 577 231 - 791317 - 955
Median Size1,8895,7748,57815,83157,460
Size Range131 - 3,1153,116 - 7,975131 - 580,2347,976 - 23,18323,184 - 580,234
The Business Systems group includes 550 Business (IT) Systems projects.
Business Systems: Function Point Benchmarks (New and Modified FP)
Business Project Medians Based on Project Size Quartiles (FP)
 Quartile 1Quartile 2MedianQuartile 3Quartile 4
Duration (Mths)3.305.205.005.006.10
50% Range2.20 - 5.202.80 - 8.00 3.20 - 6.554.60 - 9.53
Effort Hours9602,0083,2114,7988,548
50% Range432 - 2,3491,256 - 3,953 2,664 - 8,2215,551 - 16,235
Avg Staff1.493.174.385.329.17
50% Range.76 - 3.211.28 - 6.70 3.77 - 9.045.62 - 9.53
IU/PM5.007.627.476.7611.55
50% Range2.54 - 8.904.18 - 13.36 4.03 - 13.396.55 - 21.05
Median Size3098149219686
Size Range3 - 6869 -149 150 - 341342 - 4,718
The Business Systems: Function Point group includes approximately 330 Business (IT) Systems projects.
Engineering Systems (New and Modified IU)
Project Size Medians (IUs) Engineering Projects (SLIM Phases 2 & 3)
 Quartile 1Quartile 2MedianQuartile 3Quartile 4
Duration (Mths)6.639.7512.9417.3322.34
50% Range3.81 - 12.055.86 - 15.44 9.83 - 25.0314.56 - 32.54
Effort Hours3,19812,97117,35524,01388,526
50% Range1,146 - 6,8546,877 - 22,056 15,434 - 53,78027,921 - 185,882
Avg Staff2.566.638.188.0217.52
50% Range.91 - 6.533.77 - 14.33 3.42 - 16.0011.17 - 45.18
IU/PM299275378476511
50% Range139 - 687176 - 604 227 - 862208 - 886
Median Size6,77425,95449,01581,147231,179
Size Range120 - 13,34513,346 - 49,015 49,016 - 129,872129,873 - 1,551,000
The Engineering Systems group includes over 177 Command & Control, System Software, Telecommunications, Scientific, and Process Control projects.
Real Time Systems (New and Modified IU)
Project Size Medians (IUs) Real Time Projects (SLIM Phases 2 & 3)
 Quartile 1Quartile 2MedianQuartile 3Quartile 4
Duration (Mths)8.1217.0721.7929.5243.00
50% Range5.93 - 12.2815.23 - 26.53 17.54 - 34.7830.71 - 56.70
Effort Hours5,06518,22441,979110,899490,404
50% Range988 - 12,91310,299 - 36,250 53,336 - 180,240390,818 - 1,418,470
Avg Staff1.925.4813.5923.8886.20
50% Range1.15 - 5.004.13 - 7.12 17.27 - 28.8369.01 - 129.20
IU/PM154301166148164
50% Range66 - 299148 - 417 122 - 22295 - 246
Median Size5,93335,97949,934120,205481,157
Size Range4 - 15,47215,473 - 51,260 51,261 - 299,342299,343 - 2,141,000
The Real Time Systems group includes approximately 152 Avionics, Real Time, and Microcode projects.
Measures:
Schedule: elapsed time (in months) from Requirements Determination (Phase 2) through the Initial Release (end of Phase 3)
Schedule = (P2 Duration + P3 Duration) – P2 Overlap
Effort: Person Hours expended during Phases 2 and 3
Effort = P2 PHrs + P3 PHrs
Average Staff: Full Time Equivalent employees for Phase 2 and Phase 3
Average Staff = (P2 + P3 Effort)/ Schedule Duration)
IU/ PM: Implementation Units produced per Person Month of effort during Phases 2 and 3
FP/ PM: Function Points produced per Person Month of effort during Phases 2 and 3
Solutions
Tools
Consulting
Government
Resources
2019 Almanac
Webinars
Articles
Connect
Contact QSM
Support
© Copyright 2022 QSM
 
We use cookies and similar technologies to provide you with the best possible experience on our website (for personalization, analytics and performance). Agree