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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.
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:
- The measurements are based on the duration and effort from the beginning of Analysis through development. This corresponds to SLIM® phases 2 and 3. The productivity calculations in the prior benchmark were based solely on phase 3.
- The projects have been divided into quartiles based on project size. Each measure is based on the median for its quartile.
- A “50% range” spanning the 25th to 75th percentile values within each size quartile is now provided for all benchmarks.
- The Effort benchmarks are now in person hours (previous effort benchmarks used person months).
- Size is measured in implementation units (IU). An IU is equivalent to a logical line of code or a step in defining a configuration.
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.
Business Systems Implementation Unit (New and Modified IU) Benchmarks
The Business Systems group includes 550 Business (IT) Systems projects.
Business Systems: Function Point Benchmarks (New and Modified FP)
The Business Systems: Function Point group includes approximately 330 Business (IT) Systems projects.
Engineering Systems (New and Modified IU)
The Engineering Systems group includes over 177 Command & Control, System Software, Telecommunications, Scientific, and Process Control projects.
Real Time Systems (New and Modified IU)
The Real Time Systems group includes approximately 152 Avionics, Real Time, and Microcode projects.
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