Automated Software Engineering

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 219–230 | Cite as

Knowledge-based risk assessment and cost estimation

  • Raymond J. Madachy


A knowledge-based method for software project risk assessment and cost estimation has been implemented on multiple platforms. As an extension to the Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO), it aids in project planning by identifying, categorizing, quantifying and prioritizing project risks. It also detects cost estimate input anomalies and provides risk control advice in addition to conventional COCOMO cost and schedule calculation.

The method has been developed in conjunction with a system dynamics model of the software development process, and serves as an intelligent front end to the simulation model. It extends previous research in the knowledge-based cost estimation domain by focusing on risk assessment, incorporating substantially more rules, going beyond standard COCOMO, performing quantitative validation, providing a user-friendly interface, and integrating it with a dynamic simulation model.

Results of the validation are promising, and the method is being used at Litton Data Systems and other industrial environments. It will be undergoing further enhancement as part of an integrated capability for software engineering to assist in system acquisition, project planning and risk management.


software cost estimation software risk management knowledge-based software engineering COCOMO 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Raymond J. Madachy
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.USC Center for Software EngineeringUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos Angeles
  2. 2.Software Engineering Process GroupLitton Data SystemsAgoura Hills

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