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Managers are often unable to explain objectively why or when effort was misplaced during the development process. In this paper, the authors present a formal technique to depict the expended effort during the life-cycle of a software feature using Feature Development Manifolds (FDMs). Using the FDMs they can compute the preferred development path for a given feature. This development path includes the versions of a software feature that contributed to the final version of the feature in a positive way. The preferred development path excludes versions of the software feature that should have been skipped. Once the preferred development path is computed the amount of wasted effort can be quantified using the metric that they have developed.
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