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by Dinesh Thakur

Lines of code and functional point metrics can be used for estimating object-oriented software projects. However, these metrics are not appropriate in the case of incremental software development as they do not provide adequate details for effort and schedule estimation. Thus, for object-oriented projects, different sets of metrics have been proposed. These are listed below.

  • Number of scenario scripts: Scenario scripts are a sequence of steps, which depict the interaction between the user and the application. A number of scenarios is directly related to application size and number of test cases that are developed to test the software, once it is developed. Note that scenario scripts are analogous to use-cases.
  • Number of key classes: Key classes are independent components, which are defined in object -oriented analysis. As key classes form the core of the problem domain, they indicate the effort required to develop software and the amount of 'reuse' feature to be applied during the development process.
  • Number of support classes: Classes, which are required to implement the system but are indirectly related to the problem domain, are known as support classes. For example, user interface classes and computation class are support classes. It is possible to develop a support class for each key class. Like key classes, support classes indicate the effort required to develop software and the amount of 'reuse' feature to be applied during the development process.
  • Average number of support classes per key class: Key classes are defined early in the software project while support classes are defined throughout the project. The estimation process is simplified if the average number of support classes per key class is already known.
  • Number of subsystems: A collection of classes that supports a function visible to the user is known as a subsystem. Identifying subsystems makes it easier to prepare a reasonable schedule in which work on subsystems is divided among project members.

The afore-mentioned metrics are collected along with other project metrics like effort used, errors and defects detected, and so on. After an organization completes a number of projects, a database is developed, which shows the relationship between object-oriented measure and project measure. This relationship provides metrics that help in project estimation.