Because of the distributed and collaborative nature of free / open source software (FOSS) projects, the development effort invested in a project is usually unknown, even after the software has been released. However, this information is becoming of major interest, especially ---but not only--- because of the growth in the number of companies for which FOSS has become relevant for their business strategy. In this paper we present a novel approach to estimate effort by considering data from source code management repositories. We apply our model to the OpenStack project, a FOSS project with more than 1,000 authors, in which several tens of companies cooperate. Based on data from its repositories and together with the input from a survey answered by more than 100 developers, we show that the model offers a simple, but sound way of obtaining software development estimations with bounded margins of error.