Abstract. Determining the development effort (cost and time) is one of the main challenges of the software projects formulation and management. In order to address such a challenge, several effort estimation models have been proposed since the ‘80 decade, as a way to envision the software development effort before and during a project, and also reduce the project risks. The use of these estimation models involves several requirements, therefore a particular model is not necessarily suitable to support the estimations of any software company or development team. On the other hand, it is not easy for a software company to identify estimation models that are potentially appropriate for them. In order to identify the most prominent software estimation models and their characteristics, we conducted a systematic literature review on taxonomies of effort estimation methods, reported between 2000 and 2017. The goal were mainly two: (1) determining the start-of-the-art in this area and (2) identifying the main variables used to classify these methods. Based on it we elaborate on how software companies can use these taxonomies and classification criteria to identify suitable methods to support their estimations, considering some particular features of the company.