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Productivity of Software Enhancement Projects: an Empirical Study

octubre 30 @ 9:00 am - 9:30 am

Background. Having a correct, although approximate, knowledge of software development productivity is clearly important. In some environments, the belief that software enhancement projects are characterized by higher productivity than new software development has emerged.
Aim. We want to understand whether the mentioned belief is rooted on solid bases or is due to some cognitive bias.
Method. An empirical study was performed, analyzing the data from a large dataset that collects data from real-life projects. Several statistical methods were used to evaluate the unitary cost (i.e., the cost per Function Point) of enhancement projects and new developments.
Results. Our analyses show that–contrary to some popular beliefs–software enhancement costs more than new software development, at least for projects greater than 300 Function Points.
Conclusions. Project managers and other stakeholders interested in the actual cost of software should reject ill-based evaluations that the productivity of software enhancement is greater than new software development. More generally, objective evaluations based on representative data analysis should be preferred to evaluations affected by cognitive bias.

Luigi Lavazza

Luigi Lavazza is associate professor at the University of Insubria at Varese, Italy. Formerly he was assistant professor at Politecnico di Milano, Italy. Since 1990 he cooperates with CEFRIEL (, where he acts as a scientific consultant in digital innovation projects.

His research interests include: Empirical software engineering, software metrics and software quality evaluation; Software project management and effort estimation; Software process modeling, measurement and improvement; Open Source Software.

He was involved in several international research projects, and he also served as reviewer of EU projects.

He has served on the PC of a several of international Software Engineering conferences, and in the editorial board of international journals.

He is co-author of over 170 scientific articles, published in international journals, in the proceedings of international conferences or in books.

Liu Geng

Roberto Meli


octubre 30
9:00 am - 9:30 am
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