Late last year, the International Function Point Users Group (IFPUG) conducted an interview between Christine Green, president of IFPUG, and Noémie André, certified professional in Function Point Analysis (APF) expert level.
The main intention of that interview was to present the benefits of this methodology, especially in view of the management challenges in today's world.
The purpose of this text is to share a summary of the interview, highlighting its key points.
APF Strengths in The Financial Assessment of Development
Although associated as a synonym for software estimation, APF is not limited to applications when evaluating budgets. It also inserts itself as a key part in the evaluation of the price of development.
Its main strength is to consider a view of functional needs and not necessarily man-hours in a financial assessment. Additionally, another strength is its independence from the person responsible for the measurement.
Therefore, measurements by APF allow a fcurrent evaluation of functional size; that is, they are subject to validation and challenge.
In short, the method evaluates what is delivered in an integrated view of business processes and not necessarily how much it cost, how difficult or easy it was to deliver, how much effort it required, or what is missing to deliver.
In the same vein, there is applicability of the method in the evaluation of performance, quality and competitiveness of development, benchmarking and indicators.
Side benefits to measurement with APF
APF meets requirements.
By doing this, it helps identify what is missing, find possible defects, and remove possible ambiguity.
Therefore, it is an excellent tool for independent verification of requirements. The measurement ends up serving the purpose of a very effective peer review.
Other development actions with APF
APF allows you to monitor and bring visibility to software development. It allows you to measure the progress of the delivered functionality and compare against the planned. It can successfully compare tested features with faulty features and full functionality with the amount of defects found.
In a contractual point of view, APF allows the unit price of development in R$ / PF. In this, you pay for what you receive from a functional perspective. So in other words, you establish a contract where the interests of the customer and supplier are aligned towards greater productivity and quality; that is, it promotes a win-win for all parties.
Better organization of a contract with unit prices in function points
A good alternative to organizing a unit-priced contract is certainly getting some reliable third party to support measurement.
The role of this third part is to verify and validate the acuity of the measured size; support the measurement; define scripts and guides for interpreting the documentation and meeting consistency needs between measurements.
Your advice is always to use certified professional function point specialists (CFPS). According to Noémi André, the person being CFPS means that she has already proven to have the knowledge and expertise with APF.
She also comments that several CFPS of her knowledge are experts not only in size measurement, but also in estimates, benchmarking and unit price determination at function points.
The use of function points as a reference unit in a price measure gains confidence by having an independent third party evaluating and validating the accuracy of the size in the measurement.
APF rules can be interpreted differently depending on the function point analyst
APF rules are international standards. Therefore, they must have a unique interpretation. However, when modeling the requirements for the APF measurement scheme, different interpretations of these requirements appear.
Hence, the importance of you documenting the premises assumed in the measurement so that there is consistency and acuity. Measuring at function points is not just a number, but a method, a process, and the experience in its use in these applications becomes even more necessary.