Paper Title
An Empirical Study On Software Test Effort Estimation

It is well known that software development projects tend to be based on over-optimistic cost estimates. Better knowledge about software cost estimation is necessary to improve realism in software development project bids and budgets. In my master thesis, I did a literature review that indicates that many research papers address software cost and effort estimation, but none of the 150 papers I reviewed addressed the software test effort and/or cost estimation. We therefore prepared a set of five research questions to address software test effort estimation, and conducted a case study and collected empirical evidence from software development companies in Nepal. The minimum company size was 30 while the maximum company size was 200. I performed the case study by conducting interviews with a set of structured questionnaires. I compared the results obtained from the case study with the literature review and found that there exists practice for empirical evidence based verification, validation, and testing cost/effort estimations. I also noted that test effort estimation follow the same pattern as software development project estimates. My results show that 1) all the companies prepare separate estimates for test effort, 2) empirical data is commonly used to estimate test effort, and 3) test effort estimation error seems to be closely correlated with development effort estimation error. A company that had estimated total of 3500 man-months had actually spent 4200 man-months implying 700 man-months of effort/cost overruns to complete the project. Another company that projected testing effort of 100 man-hour actually ended up in 120 man-hour at the end of project causing 20 man-hour effort/cost overruns. Therefore, our study indicates that test effort closely follows the development patterns. However, more studies in this area are clearly needed.