Allan J. Albrecht
1927 – 2010
Allan J. Albrecht, the father of Function Points, passed away on November 10, 2010. Even though most Function Point counters never met him, he has inspired many measurement professionals. Even those that do not use Function Points recognize the relevance of Allan’s contribution to software engineering and measurement. Some have even created competing techniques based on his ideas. His colleague and Function Point pioneer John Gaffney, recipient of a recent USC Lifetime Achievement Award, said:
“I had the pleasure of working a bit with Allan in the early ’80s. I met him in connection with the preparation for a conference. He was very pleasant to work with and was quite modest. He developed the function point metric in response to a business need, to enable IBM customers for application software to state their requirements in a way that reflected the function of a proposed software system in terms that they could readily deal with, not the more technical language, e.g., SLOC counts, of the software developers. This was truly a major step forward in the state of the art, and in the state of practice of our profession.”
One may speculate that when Allan invented Function Points he never imagined there would be an organization dedicated to his technique and that Function Points would be used by a large user community spread around several countries.
Allan Albrecht’s ideas shaped many careers. Some of us have dedicated most of our professional lives to Allan’s intellectual creation. We are all thankful and wish him peace.
Allan J. Albrecht, 83, of Morehead City, died Wednesday, November 10, 2010, at home. He was born on February 6, 1927, in Pittston, PA, to Arthur Carl and Edna Louise (Boldt) Albrecht. Mr. Albrecht served in the United States Navy during World War II. He married his wife of 61 years, Jean Carol Herman, on January 30, 1949, at Peace Lutheran Church, Scranton, PA.
He graduated from Bucknell University in 1949 with a BSEE degree. He had a long, 38-year career with IBM, starting in 1949. His career included assignments in York, PA as a Field Engineer; Poughkeepsie, NY as a Design Engineer; Kingston, NY as a Development Engineer in IBM Federal Systems Division; Los Angeles, CA as a Project Manager in IBM Data Processing Services, Portland, OR as a Project Manager, White Plains, NY as a Program Manager; and completing his career in Armonk, NY as an IBM Senior Technical Staff Member.
While in the Federal Systems division, he worked on many military computer systems, including the SAGE missile defense system. In IBM Data Processing Services, he invented Function Points. He spoke at many conferences around the world to teach others about Function Points. Even after retirement, he continued to consult on Functions Points, through association with Capers Jones and SPR Corp. The International Function Point User Group carries on promoting and encouraging the use of Function Points with over 1,400 member organizations world-wide.
Upon retirement in 1989, He and Jean moved to Orleans, MA on Cape Cod to enjoy golf and sailing and maintaining his 37’ Herreshoff designed Meadowlark leeboard sailing ketch called Gyrovegas. He was the president of the Mayflower Point Association for over 10 years.
In 1999, Allan and Jean moved to Morehead City, NC to be closer to their children (and live in a warmer climate). He continued his enjoyment of golf with membership in the Brandywine Bay golf club and friendly competition with fellow golf enthusiasts. Gyrovegas also made the move and was ideal for sailing in the shallow waters of the NC bays.