The Nesma New Year’s resolution

In many parts of the world it is a tradition at the start of the new year to make a promise to do an act of self-improvement. The update of the Nesma FPA standard can be seen as the Nesma New Year’s resolution.

More value, constant quality

Nesma focuses on themes like cost estimating and benchmarking. The basis for these themes is a precise, objective, repeatable and defensible size measurement. Therefore we value the fact that the Nesma FPA standard is an official international standard. After the update, discussions on the interpretation will be less, clarity will be more and size measurements will give the same result as before (backwards compatible).

The Nesma FPA standard is an international standard, officially known as ISO/IEC 24570:2005. To ensure that this standard stays current and relevant for the marketplace, it is reviewed every five years after publication. Experts then decide whether the standard should be:

  • Confirmed for five years
  • Revised to stay current and relevant
  • Withdrawn as an international standard

Improvements based on practice experience

At the last review in 2010 the Nesma FPA standard was confirmed as-is. Since then the Counting Practices Committee has made an inventory of questions and issues that occurred in practice with the use of the standard. This inventory has resulted in a list of proposed changes to the standard. All proposed changes aim to reduce possible misinterpretations, so discussions will be less, because the updated standard is more clear on parts that gave rise to questions in practice. All proposed changes leave the method unchanged, so size measurements with the updated standard will give the same result as before. This ensures that all historical experience data and benchmarks remain valid.

The proposed changes are split into four categories:

  1. Proposed editorial changes are corrections of a wrong term or a wrong page or paragraph reference and low editorial errors (typos)
  2. Proposed content clarification are changes to the text on sections of the norm where practitioners frequently have reported issues with the correct interpretation
  3. Proposed additions are additional sections that deal with issues that were not known when the standard was first issued.
  4. Proposed removals are sections that are no longer relevant since the standard was first issued.

The proposed changes have been presented to the experienced analysts round-table and will be finalized with the input of these experts. The proposed changes will be presented to the NEN – Norm Committee 381 007 Software and Systems engineering. This committee is the official Dutch representative to the ISO organisation and eligible to propose revisions to an international standard. The Norm Committee will then propose that the Nesma FPA standard will be revised with the changes proposed by Nesma. This proposal will be discussed and voted in Subcommittee SC7 on Software and systems engineering of the ISO/IEC Joint Technical Committee on Information technology.

Better results, less discussion

When the proposed changes are directly accepted the 2015-version of the Nesma FPA standard can be published in the second half of 2015. If the ISO subcommittee decides that the full revision process must be followed, the updated standard will be published in 2016. Either way, this update will ensure that the Nesma FPA standard will be improved on clarity, so discussions on measurement results will decrease, while the measurements will remain fully compatible with historical data.


About the author

Frank Vogelezang is secretary of the Counting Practices Committee and author of the Maintenance list for ISO/IEC 24570:2005. Frank is also member of the NEN – Norm Committee 381 007 Software and Systems engineering, where he acts as a liaison between the standardization organisations (NNI and ISO) and Nesma.


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