Measurement Implementation

Why measure?

Software measurement allows the Information Technology department to express its contribution to the business in terms that the business can understand.

The goal of software measurement is to supply useful information not just data. Many organizations have recognized the need to improve their software processes and to make their information technology departments more cost effective. However without adequate background information to indicate the problems areas they spend considerable amounts of money on new case tools, development techniques and hardware and software technologies without substantiated evidence that they will address the problems. Measurement provides the information for management to make informed decisions on managing IT resources.

Improve your IT processes

A Measurement Program can assist in improving your IT processes through:

Effective communication
Software measures will provide objective information thereby reducing the ambiguity that often surrounds complex software and system projects. Measurement helps managers identify , prioritize, track and communicate IT issues at all levels of the organization. Measurement supports communication between the acquirer and the supplier.
Improving process- change for maximum effect
Software measures enables you to understand your development processes and products so that you can make informed decisions about how to manage and improve them. This knowledge enables you to identify and quantify the strengths and weaknesses in your environment so you can institute changes which optimize your strengths and improve on your weaknesses.
Enables key tradeoffs
Constraints exist on all IT software delivery projects. E.g. Costs, schedules, quality, functionality and technical performance have to be managed to make the project a success. Decisions made in one area often impact other areas. Measurement helps your project manager objectively assess these impacts and make tradeoffs to best meet project objectives even in highly constrained project environments.
Informed decisions
Even the most gifted managers will have difficulty in making the right and reasonable decisions if the right data is not available to support those decisions. Measurement gives managers a set of useful tangible measures for sizing, estimating, managing and controlling software applications with rigor and precision. Government and industry acquisition environments emphasize successful project performance. Project managers must effectively defend and justify their projects performance regarding cost, delivery duration resources etc. Measurement provides an effective rationale for selecting the best alternative. Capers Jones claims that leading edge companies such as IBM, DuPont and Hewlett Packard have up to 10 times as much quantified, historical information to assist them in decision making than trailing edge organizations.
Objective feedback on status
Software Measurement enables the quantitative description of the status of software development project, the status of each software process and the software products, it objectively assesses the progress of activities and the quality and quantity of the product. It helps to answer key questions like: is the project on schedule? How much functionality was delivered compared to what was required?
Ensuring consistency of product
Software Measurement assists in eliminating variation and ensuring consistent outcomes from an organizational process. It optimizes predictability of the outcome of the process. For many people consistency and predictability of outcome is better quality than a process which unpredictably produces both very good and very poor products.
Provides early warning
Software Measurement facilitates a pro-active management strategy. Potential problems are identified as risks to be assessed and managed. Measurement focuses attention on the early discovery and correction of technical and management problems that can be more difficult to resolve later. Management should not have to wait until problems arise, they should be anticipating them and proactively preventing them worsening. Often it is not until too late that management finds out that a particular process or product is in trouble. eg. a project will not make its deadline, productivity rates are 400% below industry standards and management decides to outsource etc.
Measurement is motivating
Software Measurement has an important role of focusing and motivating behavior in an organization. You measure what you want to improve. Industry evidence is that the very act of measuring can result in up to 10% improvement without doing anything else but measure!

Successful Measurement Program - Case Study - (Sep. 2007)

The Total Metrics consulting effort charged for our Measurement Implementation activities is determined by:

  • the number of Key Result Areas, Key Performance Indicators and Base Measures required
  • the number of projects, releases and applications required to be measured
  • the availability and quality of of supporting documentation, applications SME and the management commitment and support

Total Metrics:

  • specialises in software measurement and benchmarking related services via consulting, training and software tools. Our clients are primarily large corporations in the private sector and large State and Federal government departments and agencies . We work in Australia and internationally and provide metrics related training and consultancy services and software to USA, China, India, Japan, Europe and South East Asia
  • is recognised worldwide for their expertise in software measurement and benchmarking and has been actively involved in the development of all related ISO standards and International Software Benchmarking standards group (ISBSG) standards that have been developed in the last decade. Our consultants represent Standards Australia and the Australian Software Metrics Association on the International committees that develop these standards
  • has been involved in the establishment of the ISBSG since its inception in 1992 and use their database which in 2008 had over 4000 projects for benchmarking comparative software projects. In 2007 Pam Morris (CEO Total Metrics) was elected International Vice President of the ISBSG group, in a volunteer capacity.