Measuring the Full Range of Software Qualities

Article

Daughtrey, H.T.   (1988, ASQC)   Babcock & Wilcox, Lynchburg, VA

Annual Quality Congress, Dallas TX    Vol. 42    No. 0
QICID: 3416    May 1988    pp. 158-163
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Article Abstract

Too often, the quality of a software product is evaluated narrowly in terms of functional requirements. Sometimes performance criteria (for instance, responsiveness) may also enter into its evaluation. Seldom does the acceptance-much less the original specification - of software depend on qualities such as: ease of use, extendibility and portability of the product, and the true lifetime cost of keeping the product operational.

A body of literature exists that correlates this full range of software qualities to observable features in software design and coding. If the specifiers and developers of a software product can agree to make all quality requirements explicit, they can not only avoid unpleasant surprises upon delivery, but also obtain in-process measures of the degree to which the qualities are being implemented. Such measurements can prove useful in alerting developers to the need for "mid-course corrections."

One application of this approach has been a software quality requirements specification and tracking methodology. The methodology has been used at Babcock & Wilcox for training purposes and on some development projects. A rules-based tool enables both development and appraisal activities to be scheduled in support of the specific pattern of quality requirements involved. Measurement throughout the design and coding of the software provides prompt feedback on the status of software qualities.

Keywords

Software quality


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