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The Constructive Systems Engineering Cost Model (COSYSMO) was created by Ricardo Valerdi while at the University of Southern California Center for Software Engineering. It gives an estimate of the number of person-months it will take to staff systems engineering resources on hardware and software projects. Initially developed in 2002, the model now contains a calibration data set of more than 50 projects provided by major aerospace and defense companies such as Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, SAIC, General Dynamics, and BAE Systems.

COSYSMO supports the ANSI/EIA 632 standard as a guide for identifying the Systems Engineering tasks and ISO/IEC 15288 standard for identifying system life cycle phases. Several CSSE Affiliates, LAI Consortium Members, and members of the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) have been involved in the definition of the drivers, formulation of rating scales, data collection, and strategic direction of the model.

Similar to its predecessor COCOMO, COSYSMO computes effort (and cost) as a function of system functional size and adjusts it based on a number of environmental factors related to systems engineering.

COSYSMO's central cost estimating relationship, or CER is of the form:

PM_{NS}=A \times Size^E \times \prod^n_{i=1} EM_i

where "Size" is one of four size additive size drivers, and EM represents one of fourteen multiplicative effort multipliers.

COSYSMO computes software development effort as function of program size and a set of "cost drivers" that include subjective assessment of product, hardware, personnel and project attributes: