AuthorsT. M. Gruschke and M. Jørgensen
TitleThe Role of Outcome Feedback in Improving the Uncertainty Assessment of Software Development Effort Estimates
AfilliationSoftware Engineering, Software Engineering
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
JournalACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology

To enable properly-sized software project budgets and plans it is important to be able to assess the uncertainty of the estimates of the most likely effort required to complete the projects. Previous studies show that software professionals tend to be too optimistic about the uncertainty of their effort estimates, i.e., they tend to be overconfident. This paper reports the results from a study on the role of outcome feedback in the uncertainty assessment learning process. Software developers were given repeated and immediate outcome feedback about the discrepancy between the estimated most likely effort and the actual effort. We found that one condition for the improvement of uncertainty assessments of effort estimates may be the use of explicitly-formulated strategies for uncertainty assessment. By contrast, intuition-based uncertainty assessment strategies may lead to no or little improvement. This has the implication that we cannot expect much improvement in uncertainty assessment unless we train and instruct software developers to use the previous estimation accuracy experience as input to an explicitly defined uncertainty assessment process.

Citation KeyGruschke.2007.1