Software Process Metrices

Abstract

Organization culture is one of the forces that can affect the success of the software process improvement within any organization. Organization that has the positive culture toward the process improvement is likely to promote a good software quality with reasonable business returns (Ambler, 2010). Part of the steps to improve the development process is to identify the software metrics that can improve such process. Westfall (2005) defined the software metrics as an integral part of the practice in the software engineering to improve its process.

Software Process Metrics

Westfall (2005) argued that software metrics has different meaning to different people where the topic can vary from project effort prediction, cost and modeling to root cause analysis and defect tracking. Others are defining the software metrics as the continued application of measurement techniques to the software development process in an effort to improve the software development process, and the product.

Westfall, L. (2005) explained that there are steps to pick or designing the right metrics for an organization to improve the software development process such as identify metrics, define the measurable goals, define the questions that are required to be answered, provide the information needed to answer the required questions, standardize the metrics entities and their attributes, choose the measurement function for these metrics, establish the measurement method, defining the decision criteria to decide what to do with the results, defining the reporting mechanisms that can represent these metrics, determine the additional metrics’ qualifiers, and finally collect the data that required to provide the metrics primitive, and its additional qualifiers.

USSE (2002) explained that software development process metrics support the software project management activities, and they’re related to the following functions of management:

 

  • Planning Metrics– where such metrics serve as a basis of planning, scheduling, budgeting, and cost estimate.
  • Organizing Metrics – where such metrics influence the project’s organization.
  • Controlling Metrics– where such metrics is used to track software development activities and its status.
  • Improving Metrics – where such metrics are used as a tool to improve the development process.

The raw metrics is the data that provides insight into the ongoing software process improvement activities such as the number of source code lines, number of page in software documentation, number of requirements, or number of test used to test the software quality (USSE, 2002).

Bowles (2003) explained that within any organization the effective set of supporting metrics and process for the software development efforts must address the following issues:

 

  • Validation – ensures that the right systems are built, and also answer the important question for the software development assessment – Are the right systems were build for the organization?
  • Verification – ensures that the systems are built correctly where it recognizes what the users within an organization need to help improving the business process.
  • Productivity – ensures optimizing resource utilization within the software projects.

 Improving Software Development Processes

 Many organization implemented internal metrics programs to improve their software development process, and also support their management. The data collected during the design of such metrics can be useful for decision making within any organization. The criteria used to design the metrics should not only focus on the collection of the data, but also focus on the distribution, interpretation of these data Frederiksen (2001).

Taraweneh and Mat (n.d.) explained that software process consists of the following activities:  Software Specification, Software Design and Implementation, Software Validation, and Software Evolution to develop the system that can meet the technology changes.

Organization having hard times to develop high quality software within suitable budget and time to achieve the business needs to satisfy its customers. Building the process metrics that can improve the performance of the existing process by updating the development process can help understanding the current process and changing the process to improve the product quality (Taraweneh and Mat, n.d.).   

Conclusion

Within any software development project, it’s imperative to determine the list of software metrics. To build such metrics, it’s important to establish the goals for such project, develop the questions that can be answered by the measurement, and then collect the data required to build such metrics.

Finally, designing the right metrics is based on the goals for any organization that can help measure progress, help communication and improve software development. Having the well-defined and designed metrics will help organization to obtain the useful information that can help improve its software products.

References

Ambler, S. (2010) Software Process Improvement Best Practices [Online]. Available from: http://www.ambysoft.com/essays/spiTips.html (Accessed: 04 June 2011).

Bowles, A. (2003) Metrics for Application Development [Online]. Available from: http://www.rfgonline.com/reprints/techra/AppDev-Feb03.html (Accessed: 04 June 2011).

Frederiksen, H. (2001) Using Metrics in Managing and Improving Software Development Processes [Online]. Available from: http://ecis2001.fov.uni-mb.si/doctoral/Students/ECIS-DC_Frederiksen.pdf (Accessed: 04 June 2011).

Richards, S. (2007) How to Make Testing Metrics Really Useful [Online]. Available from: http://www.nvp-inc.com/library/whitepapers/metrics.pdf (Accessed: 04 June 2011).

Taraweneh, M. & Mat, A. (n.d.) Software Process Improvement (SPI) In Small Software Firms [Online]. Available from: http://www.alzaytoonah.edu.jo/Faculties/Science/Conferances/ICIT09/PaperList/Papers/Software%20Engineering/594mejhem.pdf (Accessed: 04 June 2011).

USSE (2002) Software Metrics Guide [Online]. Available from: http://sunset.usc.edu/classes/cs577b_2001/metricsguide/metrics.html (Accessed: 04 June 2011).

Westfall, L. (2005) 12 Steps to Useful Software Metrics [Online]. Available from: http://www.westfallteam.com/Papers/12_steps_paper.pdf (Accessed: 04 June 2011).

 

 

 

 

 

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