Discusses the concept of measurement in system development

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1.0.4, SPC-93071-CMC, 01-DEC-93
Software Productivity Consortium
Approved for public release; distribution unlimited
1993 SPC


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Systematic Measurement

    Management information systems are still generally failing to meet
their prime reason for existence. They fail to provide action-oriented
information that enables responsible individuals to identify needs for
action and that assists in accomplishing those actions.

-- Dick Werling, "Action-Oriented Information Systems"

    This report presents and discusses the concept of measurement in
system development and shows how measurement can be instituted at the
system level through a program of systematic measurement. The primary
purpose of the report is to induce upper level management to establish a
program of systematic measurement, not just because it is a good idea,
but because such a program will pay off in better management decisions,
in cost avoidance, and in product quality enhancement.
    Systematic measurement develops meaningful information to support
management decision making. It quantifies both system product
characteristics and observable aspects of the system development
process.  More specifically, systematic measurement is the collection,
analysis, and application of project, process, and product quantitative
information at the system development level to support the attainment of
project, system, and management goals. This information is valuable for
supporting both project management and process improvement.
    Systematic measurement is an inherent part of good management.  It
helps meet typical management goals for system development projects,
such as:

* Stay within budget

* Meet all milestones (stay on schedule and complete ahead of schedule
if possible)

* Meet and exceed process and product quality requirements

* Keep product development consistent with resource expenditure

* Meet and exceed product technical performance goals

*  Minimize program and project risk

    The measurement of processes and products at the system level cannot
be partial or occasional; it must be applied to all processes and
products from the system level down to the lowest level through the
whole life cycle in a planned and efficient fashion. This type of
measurement is called systematic measurement.  When systematic
measurement is applied to the whole system development project in a
planned form through the whole life cycle, it is called a program of
systematic measurement.
    This report aids senior managers and the entire management chain in
implementing a systematic measurement program that can help solve
problems by providing timely and meaningful quantitative information
about the system development process and the products it creates. The
manager should be aware that a program of systematic measurement is
affordable and will return benefits that exceed the investments in the
measurement program.  The management benefits of systematic measurement
include better decision making, more precise program and project
control, cost avoidance through problem anticipation and amelioration,
better risk management, and measurable process improvement.

Section 1, Introduction, describes the objectives, benefits, and
audience for the report and gives an overview of its contents. It
defines the key role of measurement, both in improving control of
software-intensive systems development projects and for improving the
development process itself.

Section 2, The Business Case for Systematic Measurement, describes some
forces, external and internal to business organizations, that encourage
the adoption of systematic measurement as a major tool for quantitative
systems management.  It also describes some case studies of system

Section 3, Quantitative System Management, shows how to quantify
requirements, activities, and processes required to develop
software-intensive systems. A basic measurement and metrics set is
described.  The goal-question-metric (GQM) paradigm is described and
applied to select specific metrics for implementation.

Section 4, The Systematic Measurement Program, describes a systems
development cycle and the basic metrics needed to support development of
software-intensive systems and to support the improvement of the process
of creating such systems.  It describes data requirements, methods for
obtaining measures, the processing of raw data into meaningful
action-oriented information, and the use of this information to support
more effective management decisions including risk aversion.

Section 5, The Adoption of a Program of Systematic Measurement,
describes the general steps in the adoption of a systematic measurement
program.  It describes the adoption process, impediments to adoption,
and how to cost effectively invest in a systematic measurement program.

Appendix A, The State of the Practice of Systematic Measurement,
presents two perspectives on the current state of the practice of
systematic measurement: a survey on current system measurement programs
and practices, as perceived by systems engineers attending the System
Engineering Workshop organized by the Consortium (Software Productivity
Consortium 1993a), and a perspective drawn from the Executive Round

Appendix B, The Information-Action Model, presents an information-action
model for managers to judge the level of information maturity and the
next stage of development in improving the information-action level of
their own organization.

Appendix C, Systems Engineering, describes technical management of the
process used to develop software-intensive systems.


1.0.4  1 June 94  Initial release to the PAL


Approved for public release; Distribution unlimited


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