Discusses the concept of measurement in system development
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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 measurement. 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 Table. 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
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