The Lure of Function Points

By Deane Barker on November 10, 2006

Oh, the emails you’ll get…: Joel writes a funny diatribe about function points and management consultants.

Programmers start writing a heck of a lot more function points. For example you can triple the number of function points in your code simply by round tripping everything through an XML file. Big waste of time, prone to bugs, does nothing, but each file you touch adds a function point. W00t!

Consulting company comes back, measures again, and lo and behold, with all the round trips through XML the function point count is up drastically. Consultant announces that Oil Company is now at 151.29% productivity. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

I’ve always thought that function points were odd things. It strikes me that the accumulated function points of an app may or may not represent the actual functionality or complexity of that app, because the whole is more than the sum of its parts, depending on how those parts were put together.



  1. Fire this consultants.

    They either don’t know FP technique or are working towards vendor/programmers, not management.

    You can’t add functionality (from user’s piont of view) by adding some strange XSLT transformations into your code.

    PS. And read emails with atention and critically before you publish! :)


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