The Dashboard Spy

June 23, 2006

COCOMO Dashboard – Estimating software development costs with the Constructive Cost Model

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — dashboardspy @ 11:54 am

Yes, I know it sounds like a Beach Boys song, but there is a software costing methodology called COCOMO. It stands for Constructive Cost Model and was developed at TRW/Northrop-Grumman in 2002.

Here is an enterprise dashboard which provides a COCOMO methodology interface. It is a live Xcelsius dashboard demo that can be tried here.  You can use the interactive components in this xcelsius dashboard to change the factors in the model and instantly see the impact. KPIs fall into Product, Computer, Personnel and Project categories. Lines of code and cost per line are typical measures.

COCOMO comes in 3 flavors. Each is increasingly detailed and offers higher degrees of accuracy. Basic COCOMO computes software development effort (cost) as a function of program size. Estimated lines of code is how program size is measured. Intermediate COCOMO computes software development effort as function of program size and a set of cost drivers that include subjective assessment of product, hardware, personnel and project attributes. Detailed COCOMO incorporates all characteristics of the previous versions with an assessment of the cost driver's impact on each step  of the software development process (SDLC).

Here is the dashboard:

Enterprise dashboard cocomo

Homework: There are 2 areas of follow up for you enterprise dashboard project members. First, if you are not familiar with Xcelsius as a dashboarding product, start with the Crystal Xcelsius for Dummies book. It's quite a good introduction to this visually exciting dashboard technology. In a nut shell, Xcelsius lets you present Excel data in a flash-based presentation. It is geared toward business users and lets them create a polished interface. The power of the flash components is that you can interact with them. You can literally turn dials and read the effects of your what-if changes on the guages. The second area of study is the COCOMO methodology of software costing. Start with these books on COCOMO and software estimation.

Tags: Enterprise Dashboard, Xcelsius Dashboard, COCOMO Dashboard

So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ Also check out The Dashboard Spy's favorite books on business dashboards.

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