Functional Point

A User's Interaction with a Product to Accomplish a Task
August 2007
Jeff Elpern


User's have tasks they want to accomplish such as:

  • Withdraw cash from an ATM
  • Resize an image
  • Create a new user account
  • Report a bug
  • Create a new page on in the Knowledge Center
  • Set the alarm for 5:30 tomorrow morning
  • Stop the red light blinking on the VCR

Products have feature sets and command interfaces. For example and ATM feature is dispense cash and the interface is a set of screen menu options.

A functional point is how the user interacts with the product to accomplish the desired task. An every day example of a functional point we all know by heart is the sequence of action to withdraw cash from an ATM so we have cash for lunch.

  • Task

    • Get Cash for lunch

    Function Point - Withdraw cash

    1. Insert card
    2. Enter PIN
    3. Select "Withdraw Cash"
    4. Select from witch account
    5. Select amount
    6. Remove card, cash and transaction recipe


A Functional Point is the sequence of actions a user must perform to evoke the product functionality that accomplishes the desired test.


How a user gains the knowledge required to successfully preform the steps for a giving functional point has a major impact on the acceptance of a technology. Two broad strategies exist: just-in-case learning and just-in-time learning.

Just-in-case learning is symbolized by thick user manuals and long training courses. In many cases a Certificate program such as a Cisco Certified Engineer validate an extensive knowledge of a products functionality.

Just-in-time learning is symbolized by the O'Reilly Cookbooks were the emphasis is on quick solutions for specific problem. Thus, the user is provided functional point information as they need it.

SQI believes in just-in-time learning. The Client Interface Environment enables the development of knowledge units (How-To recipes) - in the form of Task / Functional Point pair. And, the search tools for users to easly locate the appropriate How-To for a Test.


  • Tie back to economic quality

Glossary/FP (last edited 2015-03-06 18:11:28 by localhost)