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Company metrics programme introduction : a quantitative approach to software process understanding and improvement

Objective

Due to the growing complexity of projects, improving software product quality, product performance, and development team productivity has become a primary priority for almost every organisation.

This experiment is a simple approach to improving software quality and productivity by measurement of the product and process. The objective is to quantify the costs and benefits of each major project activity.

THE EXPERIMENT

The achievement of the objective above requires the following key actions for improving our products and development process:

- to establish a minimum basic set of process measurements to identify the quality and cost parameters of each process step (Process measurement)
- to establish a process database with the resources to manage and maintain it (Process database)
- to provide sufficient process resources to analyse this data and advice project members on the data's meaning and use (Process analysis)
- to assess the relative quality of each product and inform management where quality targets are not being met (Product quality).

The goal is to start a company metrics programme in order to drive a software process understanding and improvement. One of the key assets of the improvement program is the metrics initiative. The main goals of the metrics program are:

- to provide the quantitative information essential to identify opportunities for improvement;
- to verify the advantages of the implemented changes to the development process.

The adopted metrication approach is the AMI method (Assess, Analyse, Metricate, Improve). The assessment is the key step:

- to understand the status of the company's current software practice and to show strengths and weaknesses
- to identify key areas for process and product improvement
- to facilitate the initiation of improvement actions by defining a metrics programme plan.

The experiment, led by the quality assurance personnel, will involve program managers, project leaders and team leaders and will have high relevance to the business of the participants.

EXPECTED IMPACT AND EXPERIENCE

The experiment will allow Dataspazio to get the required status for advancing from a defined process to a managed process. Through the quantitative understanding of the process and the product, it will be possible to identify quantitative targets of improvement and to measure progress compared to those targets.

With respect to the two specific areas addressed by the experiment we expect that:

- the quantitative software problems analysis will allow to identify errors in terms of category, type, area and so on and to prevent defects for future projects.
- the productivity and schedule estimation analysis will allow Dataspazio management to understand the software development process from a quantitative point of view and consequently to better estimate and plan future projects.

From the Company point of view, we expect that at the end of the experiment:

- the metrication technique will be widespread and understood in the company at all levels,
- the experience done during the experiment will allow to refine the metrics programme plan stating new metrics and objectives since the beginning of new projects.

Funding Scheme

ACM - Preparatory, accompanying and support measures

Coordinator

Dataspazio Telespazio E Datamat per L'ingegneria Dei Sistemi Spa
Address
Via Elio Vittorini 129
00144 Rome
Italy