Accurate estimates of efforts in software development are necessary in project management practices. Project managers or domain experts usually conduct software effort estimation using their experience; hence, subjective or implicit estimates occur frequently. As most software projects have incomplete information and uncertain relations between effort drivers and the required development effort, the grey relational analysis (GRA) method has been applied in building a formal software effort estimation model for this study. The GRA in the grey system theory is a problem-solving method that is used when dealing with similarity measures of complex relations. This paper examines the potentials of the software effort estimation model by integrating a genetic algorithm (GA) to the GRA. The GA method is adopted to find the best fit of weights for each software effort driver in the similarity measures. Experimental results show that the software effort estimation using an integration of the GRA with GA method presents more precise estimates over the results using the case-based reasoning (CBR), classification and regression trees (CART), and artificial neural networks (ANN) methods. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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