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Other useful information

Before we get into the practice of counting FPs, there are a few other background points you should also know:

Large user group
A large user group known as IFPUG (http://ifpug.org) is responsible for carrying the FP torch. IFPUG is a non-profit, member-governed organization, consisting of over 1,200 members in 30 countries around the world. As the time of this writing version 4.2 of the IFPUG specifications for counting FPs (referred to as the Counting Practices Manual) has just been released.

ISO Standard
The "Unadjusted FP Count" of IFPUG v4.1 is now an ISO standard. In this paper you'll learn some of the basics of performing an Unadjusted FP Count.

De-facto standard
In addition to being an ISO standard, FPs are used as the de facto standard for cost estimating applications like Cocomo II, Construx Estimate, and other estimating packages.

Certified Function Point Specialist, or CFPS
A CFPS is a person who has passed the official IFPUG certification test. The CFPS designation must be renewed every three years.

Counting Practices Manual, or CPM
The CPM is the official manual created and distributed by IFPUG. It details the official counting rules used by CFPS practitioners. These rules help to keep counts consistent from one CFPS to another. Version 4.1 of this manual is over 300 pages in length.

FP data repositories
Because many companies have been using FP information for quite some time, there are several large repositories of project data, where companies have combined FP counts along with other information, such as tools used, man hours, and overall project cost. With accurate counts and other accurate data, you don't have to feel so along when making those all-important project estimates.