Advantages of the COSMIC method
Summary of Advantages

Compared with '1st Generation' Functional Size Measurement (FSM) methods, the COSMIC method has the following unique advantages.  The method:

  • has the widest applicability of any ISO-standard FSM method. 
  • It was designed to measure business application, real-time, and infrastructure software (such as operating system software) and hybrids of all these types, in any layer of a multi-layer software architecture, and components of these at any level of decomposition. The main 1st generation FSM methods were designed to measure only business software in the application layer;
  • uses a model of software based on fundamental software engineering principles. Its basic concepts are therefore compatible with modern methods of determining software requirements and constructing software, and it is 'future-proof'
  • includes a number of approximate variants of the standard size measurement method which can be used for rapid measurement and/or early in the life of a piece of software before all the details of the requirements have been fully defined;
  • allows, if required, the measurement of different possible sizes for any one piece of software, e.g. of the whole and of its components, and as ‘seen’ by different ‘functional users’ of the software;
  • uses a continuous size scale with no upper bound, unlike some 1st Generation methods which have an arbitrary upper limit to the size scales for their components. Such limits result in a distorted size scale that may lead to under-sizing of software that has large processes;
  • is easy to learn, due to the simplicity of the basic concepts.  Training on COSMIC is also easy, with many case studies available for training purposes.
  • is easy to use. The method’s basic concepts have been carefully defined to eliminate difficulties of interpretation from which earlier FSM Methods suffer.  This makes measurement less subjective and more repeatable;
  • is completely open. All documentation is available for free download.  Translations of the Measurement Manual, which contains all the detailed principles and rules are available or are being prepared in eight languages;

Finally, a wide-range of supporting services and tools are available for the COSMIC method, e.g.

  • the International Standard ISO/IEC 19761:2010, obtainable from www.iso.org.
  • a 'Method Overview' document aimed at those who need an introduction to the method;
  • guidance and tools for converting sizes from 1st Generation methods;
  • approximation variants of the standard method for use in sizing and estimating early in a project life and/or rapid sizing, e.g. of large software portfolios
  • certification examinations;
  • suppliers of consulting and training services, world-wide;
  • case studies;
  • estimating tools;
  • benchmark data (in the ISBSG database), etc.

For details, see other sections of this site


Benefits of Using COSMIC

The following benefits have been reported by users of the COSMIC method, versus using ‘1st generation’ methods.

It’s easy:

  • As it is easy to learn and use and is stable, principles-based and hence 'future-proof', it is very cost-effective to implement;
  • The measurement process and the results are well-accepted by project staff due the method’s compatibility with modern software requirements documentation methods;
  • Possible to automatically size requirements that are held in CASE tools Gives better results
  • Improved estimating accuracy, especially for larger software projects;
  • Reveals real performance improvement where using some earlier 1st Generation sizing methods has not indicated any improvement due to the arbitrary cut-off in the size scale;
  • Sizing with COSMIC is an excellent way of controlling the quality of software requirements at all stages as they evolve.

Last updated 20 Mar, 2011


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