Home > Articles > Software Development & Management

Software Measurement: Key Concepts and Practices

  • Print
  • + Share This
All successful software organizations use measurement as part of their day-to-day management and technical activities. This chapter from Practical Software Measurement explains the importance of measurement practices.
This chapter is from the book

All successful software organizations use measurement as part of their day-to-day management and technical activities. Measurement provides the objective information they need to make informed decisions that positively impact their business and engineering performance. In successful software organizations, measurement-derived information is treated as an important resource and is made available to decision makers throughout all levels of management.

Software measurement has evolved into a key software engineering discipline. In the past, many software organizations treated measurement as an additional, non-value-added task, or just "another thing to do." Measurement is now considered to be a basic software engineering practice, as evidenced by its inclusion in the Level 2 maturity requirements of the Software Engineering Institute's Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) products and related commercial software process standards.

The way measurement is actually implemented and used in a software organization determines how much value is realized in terms of business and engineering performance. Measurement is most effective when implemented in support of an organization's business and technical objectives and when integrated with the existing technical and management activities that define a software project. Measurement works best when it provides objective information related to the risks and problems that may impact a project's defined objectives. In other words, measurement works best when it is implemented as a significant, integral part of project management.

Top-performing organizations design their technical and management processes to make use of objective measurement data. Measurement data and associated analysis results support both short- and long-term decision making. A mature software development organization typically uses measurement to help plan and evaluate a proposed software project, to objectively track actual performance against planned objectives, to guide software process improvement decisions and investments, and to help assess overall business and technical performance against market-driven requirements. A top-performing organization uses measurement across the entire life cycle of a software project, from inception to retirement. Measurement is implemented as a proactive discipline, and measurement-derived information is considered to be a strategic resource.

1.1 Motivation for Measurement

Why measure software? To begin, software has become a major factor in corporate investment and business strategies, even for "non-software- intensive" organizations. It is a key component in an organization's ability to maintain pace with rapidly changing information technology in an increasingly competitive environment. Given the large corporate investment in developing and maintaining critical information assets, there is a growing demand for more objective assessment and management of software-intensive projects.

Measurement begins at the project level. Software measurement helps the project manager do a better job. It helps to define and implement more realistic plans, to properly allocate scarce resources to put those plans into place, and to accurately monitor progress and performance against those plans. Software measurement provides the information required to make key project decisions and to take appropriate action. Measurement helps to relate and integrate the information derived from other project and technical management disciplines. In effect, it allows the software project manager to make decisions using objective information.

Specifically, software measurement provides objective information to help the project manager do the following:

  • Communicate Effectively: Measurement provides objective information throughout the software organization. This reduces the ambiguity that often surrounds complex and constrained software projects. Measurement helps managers to identify, prioritize, track, and communicate objectives and associated issues at all levels within the organization. It also is important to communication between supplier and acquirer organizations.

  • Track Specific Project Objectives: Measurement can accurately describe the status of software project processes and products. It is key to objectively representing the progress of project activities and the quality of associated software products across the project life cycle. Measurement helps to answer crucial questions such as: "Is the project on schedule?" and "Is the software ready to be delivered to the user?"

  • Identify and Correct Problems Early: Measurement facilitates a proactive management strategy. Potential problems are objectively identified as risks to be assessed and managed. Existing problems can be better evaluated and prioritized. Measurement fosters the early discovery and correction of technical and management problems that can be more difficult and costly to resolve later. Managers use measurement as a resource to anticipate problems and to avoid being forced into a reactive, fix-on-fail approach.

  • Make Key Trade-off Decisions: Every software project is subject to constraints. Cost, schedule, capability, technical quality, and performance must be traded off against each other and managed together to meet established project objectives. Decisions in one area almost always impact other areas, even if they seem unrelated. Measurement helps the decision maker to assess these impacts objectively and make informed trade-offs to best meet project objectives and to optimize software project and product performance.

  • Justify Decisions: The current software and information technology business environments demand successful project performance. Business, technical, and project managers must be able to defend the basis of their estimates and plans with historical performance data. Then, they must be able to justify changes to plans with current performance data. Measurement provides an effective rationale for selecting the best alternatives.

Like any management or technical tool, measurement cannot guarantee that a project will be successful. However, it does help the decision maker take a proactive approach in dealing with the critical issues inherent in software-intensive projects. Measurement helps the project, and consequently the organization, to succeed.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020