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Function Points

Using Function Points you can create upfront estimates for a project. To learn more about Function Points please read the detailed description in the bottom of this text.

Note! If you are not familiar with Function Points the results may vary greatly. We recommend Function Point training before using.

Milestones

Milestones can be created from the global create button. As soon as a milestone is created it will show up in the Function Point estimation grid. This makes it easy to plan work into releases and key decision points. Milestones can also be used to ensure that work is planned realistically or to ensure that projects follow a stage gate model. Milestones are an essential part of Project Management

Drag & drop multiple lines/groups into each milestone to plan them in that timeframe. To select multiple lines/groups you can hold down Alt or Ctrl (Command button on Mac) as you select them with your mouse or keyboard.

Create a new group

New groups are inserted by clicking the New Group button in the upper right corner of the screen, and a new group will appear in the data grid below.

Drag & drop lines/groups into a group

Select as many lines/groups as you want in the grid and drag & drop them to the new group to place them inside that group. You can hold down Ctrl (Command button on Mac) to select multiple lines.

Create a new estimation line

New lines are inserted by pressing the New Function Point button in the upper right corner of the screen, and a new line will appear in the data grid below.

Edit a Function Point line

Click or tap any line in the Function Point grid to modify it. The line becomes editable. After modifying the line to the extent needed saving can be done by clicking anywhere outside the grid or hitting the Enter button

Delete a Function Point line

Deleting a Function Point line is done by hitting the red X on the grid next to the line that should be deleted.

Gear Menu Icon

In the gear menu there are more advanced settings. Click the gear to open the menu. The different settings are described below.

Files

The Files button opens up a window showing ALL files that are uploaded to the Function Point grid. You can upload a new file here or you can upload the file on an individual line item by clicking the edit icon.

Historic data

Pressing the Historic Data button brings in a second grid with (Function Point) estimates from other projects. These individual estimation lines can be dragged & dropped from the right grid to the left the grid to add a copy to the current project. This can be beneficial if your company has made similar projects or features in the past, and you want to reuse the estimates made for those projects using actual numbers.

Using the Group By or Filter old estimates can more easily be found. You can use the filter function to limit the amount of lines shown. The filter sorts on all fields incl. tags used. It is also possible to sort on any of the column titles.

To import several of the same lines just drag & drop the line as many times as needed as it can be edited afterwards.

Export as

The Export as button enables you to export data to either CSV or PDF format.

Group by

The Group by button enables you to group the data in the grid after different criteria to make it easier to slice the data in any way you want.

The columns in the data grid

Title
This is the name or title of the function point line. This will be the primary means of identifying a line. If your company associates its lines with identification numbers or strings, we suggest you add them as a prefix in the title.

Description
This is a description of the line explaining which parts of your project are covered by this estimate.

Team
Select the team who will be developing the features included in this line. If more than one team, select the one that will mainly be responsible. In other cases, you can select none or leave blank.

Subject Matter Expert
Name the subject-matter expert (SME) of the particular Function Point line. The SME is a person who is an expert of the area or topic covered by the estimation line, and can help with any questions regarding estimations within that area of expertise.

Reference
This field contains references to documents created during workshops, requirements gathering etc. Documents such as the system context diagram or requirement documents may have referred to the relevant part of the system by name or ID. You can enter reference names here to better understand the connection and argumentation for the count.

Type
There are five different Function Point element types:

  • Internal Logical File (ILF) - A user identifiable group of logically related data that resides entirely within the applications boundary and is maintained through external inputs. The primary intent of an ILF is to hold data maintained through one or more elementary processess of the application being counted.
  • External Interface File (EIF) - A user identifiable group of logically related data that is used for reference purposes only. The data resides entirely outside the application and is maintained by another application. The EIF is an internal logical file for another application.
  • External Input (EI) - This is a process in which data crosses the boundary from outside to inside. This data may come from a data input screen or another application. The data may be used to maintain one or more internal logical files (ILF) and/or alter the behaviour of the system. The data can be either control information or business information. If the data is control information it does not have to update an internal logical file.
  • External Output (EO) - This is a process in which derived data passes across the boundary from inside to outside. Additionally, an EO may update an ILF. The data creates reports or output files sent to other applications. These reports and files are created from one or more internal logical files (ILF) and external interface file (EIF).
  • External Inquiry (EQ) - This is a process with both input and output components that result in data retrieval from one or more internal logical files and external interface files. The input process does not update any Internal Logical Files, and the output side does not contain derived data.

Complexity
Here you select the appropriate complexity of the line. The complexities can be found using the complexity matrices below, depending on the chosen Function Point type.

Internal Logical File (ILF) & External Interface File (EIF)
Rate the complexity of the ILFs or EIFs using the following complexity matrix.
File Types Referenced (FTR)Data Element Types (DET)
1-1920-5051+
1LowLowAverage
2-5LowAverageHigh
6+AverageHighHigh

External Inputs (EI)
Rate the complexity of the EI using the following complexity matrix.
File Types Referenced (FTR)Data Element Types (DET)
1-45-1516+
0-1LowLowAverage
2LowAverageHigh
3+AverageHighHigh

External Outputs (EO)
Rate the complexity of the EOs using the following complexity matrix. Remember to use the cumulative number of FTRs and DETs, ignoring duplicates, to rate the complexity.
File Types Referenced (FTR)Data Element Types (DET)
1-56-1920+
0-1LowLowAverage
2-3LowAverageHigh
4+AverageHighHigh

External Inquiries (EQ)
Rate the complexity of the EQs using the following complexity matrix. Remember to use the cumulative number of FTRs and DETs, ignoring duplicates, to rate the complexity.
File Types Referenced (FTR)Data Element Types (DET)
1-56-1920+
1LowLowAverage
2-3LowAverageHigh
4+AverageHighHigh

Count
Count is used if you have more than one of the same kind of estimate and you want to bundle them together instead of creating multiple identical lines.

Points
This field shows the number of Function Points for that line which have been calculated by the system.

Effort rate
This is Forecast's suggested effort rate for the estimation line based on the company's earlier estimated projects and other parameters. The effort rate represents hours per Function Point and can be overwritten with a user input value. It is usually recommended to leave this field empty as entered values will override the system calculated effort rate for that line and thus not take advantage of the built in intelligence of the Automated Learning Algorithm (ALA). The rate is displayed with ALA or Default in paranthesis if it is automatically calculated.

Predicted hours
This is the calculated number of hours for the estimation line based on the entered or calculated effort rate.

Role
The cost type determines what price will be used when calculating the cost of the particular line. The cost types for the project can be changed in the Project Settings so they fit your company's actual rates. None indicates that a cost of 0 will be used and Blended indicates an average rate of the cost types associated with the project.

Cost
The calculated cost of the estimation line based on the calculated hours and selected role.

Tags
Tags are used for marking the line with relevant groups/tags. This can make it easier to locate when searching for historic estimates and can be used as a grouping parameter if you want to view all Function Point lines of a certain tag together. It will also act as input to the Automated Learning Algorithm (ALA).

Edit icon
Clicking the edit icon opens up the detail window with additional fields. Here you can upload files to that specific line. You can also link the line to your existing time registration system (this is only applicable if you're using a 3rd party time registration system). Linking the line with your time registration id will enable automatic flow of time registration data.

Copy icon
Clicking the copy icon copies a line. This makes it easier to quickly generate new lines that a similar.

Red X icon
Clicking the red X icon deletes a line. Once a line is deleted it can not be retrieved again.

What are Function Points?

A Function Point is a unit of measurement to express the amount of business functionality an information system provides to a user. The cost (in money or hours) of a single unit can be calculated. Function Point Analysis is a structured technique of problem solving. It is a method to break systems into smaller components, so they can be better understood and analyzed.

Function point estimation is based on the functional requirements of the application. You have to specify all functions in your application according to one of the major types EI, EO, EQ, ILF and EIF (see further down for definitions). After all functions have been classified in one of the five major types, a ranking of low, average or high is assigned. For transactions the ranking is based upon the number of files updated or referenced. For both ILFs and EIFs, the ranking is based upon record element types and data element types.

  • A record element type (RET) is a user recognizable subgroup of data elements within an ILF or EIF.
  • A data element type (DET) is a unique user recognizable field.
  • A file type referenced (FTR) is an internal logical file read or maintained by a transactional function or an external interface file read by a transactional function.

The combination of complexity and type gives a Function Point count. These Function Points can then be totaled and transformed, using your company's effort rate into a total hours effort estimate.

Forecast helps improve productivity factors over time in order to improve estimates. This is, among other things, obtained by using historical data gathered, as well as other experience based factors.

Note! If you are not familiar with Function Points the results may vary greatly. We recommend Function Point training before using.

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