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Software Code Growth: A New Approach Based on Analysis of Historical Actuals

Software Track

Downloadable Files:

SW-2 Jones Paper Software Code Growth


There are numerous methods available for estimating the growth in software source lines of code (SLOC). Most simply increase New SLOC, Modified SLOC, and Reuse SLOC by growth factors regardless of the characteristics of the SLOC or the distribution of New, Modified, and Reuse.

We tested a new methodological structure to generate an improved SLOC-growth estimating method that is driven by the complexity of the SLOC and the distribution of New, Modified, and Reuse. The results of our study are:
1. New SLOC will grow beyond that originally estimated, where the growth is a function of the complexity of the functionality provided by the SLOC,
2. Actual, realized Modified and Reuse SLOC will be less than estimated,
3. New code will be required to replace the loss of Modified and Reuse code, albeit more efficiently, i.e., with fewer SLOC,
4. The most-likely number of equivalent source lines of code (ESLOC) is calculated from the updated estimates for New, Modified, and Reuse SLOC, and
5. Uncertainty bounds can be assigned to the most-likely ESLOC estimate.

Technomics recently completed this study for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Cost and Economics. A portion of the study included our analysis of software SLOC growth. This presentation summarizes some of our findings.


Robert Jones
Mr. Robert R. Jones graduated from the University of Rhode Island with a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1969, and he received a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Catholic University of America in 1973. For thirty-three years he was employed by the Navy at the NSWC Carderock Division. In January 2003, when he retired from the Navy, he was the Department Head of the Systems Engineering and Analysis Department. Since 2003, he has been a Senior Cost Analyst with Technomics, Inc. Mr. Jones has twenty-five years of experience in cost estimating and economic analysis for the development, production, and operations and support of Navy technologies and systems; software cost estimating and cost model development; support for ACAT I program offices; preparing Independent Cost Estimates; participating in source selections; and, support for OSD cost and software data reporting activities. He is a member of SCEA.

Paul Hardin
Mr. Hardin graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelors degree in Industrial Engineering in May 1991. Upon graduation, he accepted a cost analyst position with the Naval Center for Cost Analysis (NCCA). While at NCCA, Mr. Hardin performed independent life cycle cost analyses on numerous Navy weapon system programs and led a joint US/UK effort in the development of the Operating and Support Cost Analysis Model (OSCAM). In April 1999, Mr. Hardin accepted a position with the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), Cost Analysis Improvement Group (CAIG). After joining OSD, Mr. Hardin received his Master’s degree in Systems Engineering from the Virginia Polytechnic and State Institute in May 1999. In January 2000, Mr. Hardin left the government to take a financial analyst position with Broadband Office. While at Broadband, Mr. Hardin performed financial analyses and developed models in support of Data and “Voice over IP” infrastructure designs. In January 2001, Mr. Hardin accepted a cost analyst position with Technomics, Inc. Since joining Technomics, Mr.
Hardin has developed improved methodologies for estimating the cost of manned and unmanned ground combat vehicles, radar systems, Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) hardware impacts, ship engineering and production, software development, and system integration and has performed cost analysis for the DDX, LCS, CGX, CVN, USCG Deepwater and VAMOSC programs.