COCOMO Definition & Meaning

Short for Constructive Cost Model, a method for evaluating and/or estimating the cost of softwaredevelopment. There are three levels in the COCOMO hierarchy:

  • Basic COCOMO: computes software development effort and cost as a function of program size expressed in estimated DSIs. There are three modes within Basic COCOMO:
    • Organic Mode: Development projects typically are uncomplicated and involve small experienced teams. The planned software is not considered innovative and requires a relatively small amount of DSIs (typically under 50,000).
    • Semidetached Mode: Development projects typically are more complicated than in Organic Mode and involve teams of people with mixed levels of experience. The software requires no more than 300,000 DSIs. The project has characteristics of both projects for Organic Mode and projects for Embedded Mode.
    • Embedded Mode: Development projects must fit into a rigid set of requirements because the software is to be embedded in a strongly joined complex of hardware, software, regulations and operating procedures.
  • Intermediate COCOMO: an extension of the Basic model that computes software development effort by adding a set of “cost drivers,” that will determine the effort and duration of the project, such as assessments of personnel and hardware.
  • Detailed COCOMO: an extension of the Intermediate model that adds effort multipliers for each phase of the project to determine the cost driver s impact on each step.

COCOMO was developed by Barry Boehm in his 1981 book, Software Engineering Economics.

Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal
Vangie Beal is a freelance business and technology writer covering Internet technologies and online business since the late '90s.

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