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project estimating

 
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Does anyone out there know of any tools / calculations for guestimating effort for a project?
I know, I know, I don't believe any such calculation would be very acurate, but I just need a starting point.
I'm working for a new company, with Java-inexperienced programmers & new technologies... lots of unknowns.
By the time we come to produce a more detailed estimate, we'll be much more familiar with the process & technologies etc & I'm confident we will be able to come up with something much more accurate based on the number of screens / functions / database interactions and so on.
For the moment, we don't have that experience but need to give a very high level quote to the senior management (in order that we can get the go ahead to investigate further).
Any ideas?
 
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Hi,
I've been too looking for nice tools that will make the task on project estimationmuch easier but unfortunately i didn't find a good one that fits my needs. But there are concepts and methods that you can apply for software project estimation;in our org we used wide-band delphi method in which the whole team will make an estimation, but first have to discuss the project goals, assumption and other issues that can affect the estimates. Also have to make a breakdown of works that the team will be doing in the whole project life cycle because it would be much easier to come up on overall project effort when you have identified the pieces of works. With wide-band delphi method, each key stakeholder in the team will produce estimates and give to the moderator/pm with the rationale behind the estimation, then the moderator will compile the estimates. The whole team will then discuss and finalize the estimates as agreed by everyone. The estimation is based on a one-man effort, number of hours he works in a day, and the compexity of the task. After obtaining the total project effort, you can divide it with the mumber of developers in the project. Cost estimate will be calculated based on the hourly rate of the developers plus other operational expenses.
So when you present the software project estimates to your senior management, you can have somthing to show the details on how you arrive the estimates, and for them also to know upfront how small or huge the project is. This way also your estimation is realistic and accurate because you let the people who will be developing the project do the estimates.
Hope this helps.
Rema
 
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