Taming software projects–controlling and tracking development with metrics

 While management based on measurement and tracking is fundamental in accounting and production departments, measures for system development beyond computer operations data are relatively new. Robert Grady, author of a book outlining Hewlett Packard’s successful measurement program, profiled the evolution of software metrics: “Over the years, the application of software metrics has evolved from tentative experiments to accepted best practices based on repeatable successes.” Goodman defines software metrics as:The continuous application of measurement-based techniques to the software development process and its products to supply meaningful and timely management information, together with the use of those techniques to improve that process and its products. There are many flavors of software metrics and with them come many reasons for measuring. The old adage that you cannot manage what you cannot measure has become the driving force behind many software measurement programs — many companies seek to measure, and therefore, manage their system development processes. Grady identifies both tactical and strategic reasons for measurement. He states that project managers must “Define the right product, execute the project effectively, release the product at the right time…. Software metrics help to clarify those details,” and later, “As more people and organizations have adopted metrics, metric usage has evolved to become a strategic advantage” (through software process improvement).

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