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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

Some basic determinants of computer programming productivity

The purpose of this research was to examine the relationship between processing characteristics of programs and experience characteristics of programmers and program development time. The ultimate objective was to develop a technique for predicting the amount of time necessary to create a computer program. The fifteen program characteristics hypothesized as being associated with an increase in programming time required are objectively measurable from preprogramming specifications. The five programmer characteristics are experience-related and are also measurable before a programming task is begun. Nine program characteristics emerged as major influences on program development time, each associated with increased program development time. All five programmer characteristics were found to be related to reduced program development time. A multiple regression equation which contained one programmer characteristic and four program characteristics gave evidence of good predictive power for forecasting program development time.

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