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The term project is another term that often differs between its IT and function point meaning. When used in systems development, project can take on a variety of meanings, even within the same organization.

Project can be used to describe variously:

  1. The scope of work that includes enhancement or development of several discrete software applications;
  2. The scope of work including fixes / maintenance of existing functions plus enhancement to other functions of a single software application;
  3. Repairs of operating software upgrades of existing software;
  4. Combinations of any of the above.

In function point counting, the word project refers to the work product associated with the development or enhancement of a single application (system). The definitions of development (project) in the IFPUG CPM glossary attests to this:

Project. A collection of work tasks with a time frame and a work product to be delivered.

Development project function point count (DFP). A count that measures the functions provided to the users with the first installation of the software delivered when the project is complete.

What this means to FP counters and developers is that a project in business or IT terms may actually equate to multiple ‘Function Point projects and, therefore, translates into needing multiple function point counts, one per application involved. For example, if an IT project includes the development of a new “Hospital billing system” as well as enhancements to an existing “Hospital admittance system”, the size of the overall IT project would involve two function point project counts:

  • A development FP count of the new Hospital Billing System; and,
  • An enhancement FP count of the changes to the Hospital Admitting System.

It is also worth noting that an enhancement project, whose total size encompasses the added, changed and deleted functionality, will change the product or application size by the amount of functionality added, less that deleted.

Once this difference in the term project is understood, it is simply a matter of communicating the FP counts in the right context.