I have to estimate the effort required for a project and I have no historical data. In college I learned these methods, but I have the feeling that they have been replaced by new approaches such as story points (which need historical data such as velocity of iteration) in agile projects, for example.

  • Story points (as used in agile projects) don't need historical data themselves. Historical data is helpful to more accurately convert them into (man-)days, but even that can be estimated by asking the team to make a gut-feeling planning of the first 2 or 3 iterations. Dec 6, 2021 at 12:46
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    This sounds like you're supposed to do a complete project estimate, which nowadays is considered to yield pretty unreliable results even if done by experienced practicioners (exceptions are possible for projects that are almost exact copies of past projects). Since your estimation experience seems to be stuff learned in college, you may as well throw dice to come up with numbers :-) Agile approaches will not yield complete-project estimates, but may allow stakeholders after some iterations to better gauge how much work is left to be done and how long it will take. Dec 6, 2021 at 16:57
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    I think a better question would be "I need to estimate a project involving ... and am having problems doing so with process x because ..." It's also unclear why you think whatever models you're using are deprecated, unpopular, or unused. You already have some decent answers below, but this feels like an X/Y problem where you could get more actionable answers with a more targeted and detailed question.
    – Todd A. Jacobs
    Dec 12, 2021 at 2:06

2 Answers 2


These older estimation methods have not been 'deprecated'

  • Object Point and Function Point: Function Point is a better developed process than Object Point. For Function Point there are multiple professional organizations such as IFPUG, COSMIC and ISO/IEC industry standards developed by them. Here is a recent review: 40 Years of Function Points: Past, Present, Future. However, to count Object Points or Function Points, your client should have signed off on requirements and you need to have your high-level design done (to be able to count objects/functions).
  • COCOMO and COCOMO II: When I search for articles/blogs published within the last couple of years on this topic, I see many. However, this model is based on lines of source code. You will have to make a judgement call whether lines of code is at all a relevant metric for your project.

you didn't mention the purpose of the estimate. e.g. for a new project approval, or for hiring/allocating resources or on-going monitoring and control.

This makes a lot of difference as to what accuracy might be required, and hence the method.

It might still be useful to use what you now consider to be a somewhat obsolete method, particularly if the results will be compared with a previous project that used the same method. Sometimes comparability is at least as important as absolute accuracy.

Good luck!

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