Software Quality

In software, the narrowest sense of product quality is commonly recognized as lack of " bugs " in the product. It is also the most basic meaning of conformance to requirements, because if the software contains too many functional defects, the basic requirement of providing the desired function is not met. This definition is usually expressed in two ways: defect rate (e.g., number of defects per million lines of source code, per function point, or other unit) and reliability (e.g., number of failures per n hours of operation, mean time to failure, or the probability of failure-free operation in a specified time). Customer satisfaction is usually measured by percent satisfied or nonsatisfied (neutral and dissatisfied) from customer satisfaction surveys. To reduce bias, techniques such as blind surveys (the interviewer does not know the customer and the customer does not know the company the interviewer represents) are usually used. In addition to overall customer satisfaction with the software product, satisfaction toward specific attributes is also gauged. For instance, IBM monitors satisfaction with its software products in levels of CUPRIMDSO (capability [functionality], usability, performance, reliability, installability , maintainability, documentation/information, service, and overall). Hewlett-Packard focuses on FURPS (functionality, usability, reliability, performance, and serviceability). Other compa-nies use similar dimensions of software customer satisfaction. Juran calls such attributes quality parameters , or parameters for fitness for use.

To increase overall customer satisfaction as well as satisfaction with various quality attributes, the quality attributes must be taken into account in the planning and design of the software. However, these quality attributes are not always congruous with each other. For example, the higher the functional complexity of the software, the harder it becomes to achieve maintainability. Depending on the type of software and customers, different weighting factors are needed for different quality attributes. For large customers with sophisticated networks and real-time processing, performance and reliability may be the most important attributes. For customers with standalone systems and simple operations, on the other hand, ease of use, installability, and documentation may be more important. Figure 1.1 shows the possible relationships of some quality attributes. Some relationships are mutually supportive, some are negative, and yet others are not clear, depending on the types of customers and applications. For software with a diverse customer set, therefore, setting goals for various quality attributes and to meet customers' requirements is not easy.

Figure 1.1. Interrelationships of Software Attributes ”A CUPRIMDA Example


In view of these discussions, the updated definition of quality (i.e., conformance to customers' requirements) is especially relevant to the software industry. It is not surprising that requirements errors constitute one of the major problem categories in software development. According to Jones (1992), 15% or more of all software defects are requirements errors. A development process that does not address requirements quality is bound to produce poor-quality software.

Yet another view of software quality is that of process quality versus end-product quality. From customer requirements to the delivery of software products, the development process is complex and often involves a series of stages, each with feedback paths. In each stage, an intermediate deliverable is produced for an intermediate user ”the next stage. Each stage also receives an intermediate deliverable from the preceding stage. Each intermediate deliverable has certain quality attributes that affect the quality of the end product. For instance, Figure 1.2 shows a simplified representation of the most common software development process, the waterfall process.

Figure 1.2. Simplified Representation of the Waterfall Development Process


Intriguingly, if we extend the concept of customer in the definition of quality to include both external and internal customers, the definition also applies to process quality. If each stage of the development process meets the requirements of its intermediate user (the next stage), the end product thus developed and produced will meet the specified requirements. This statement, of course, is an oversimplification of reality, because in each stage numerous factors exist that will affect that stage's ability to fulfill its requirements. To improve quality during development, we need models of the development process, and within the process we need to select and deploy specific methods and approaches, and employ proper tools and technologies. We need measures of the characteristics and quality parameters of the development process and its stages, as well as metrics and models to ensure that the development process is under control and moving toward the product's quality objectives. Quality metrics and models are the focus of this book.

What Is Software Quality?

Software Development Process Models

Fundamentals of Measurement Theory

Software Quality Metrics Overview

Applying the Seven Basic Quality Tools in Software Development

Defect Removal Effectiveness

The Rayleigh Model

Exponential Distribution and Reliability Growth Models

Quality Management Models

In-Process Metrics for Software Testing

Complexity Metrics and Models

Metrics and Lessons Learned for Object-Oriented Projects

Availability Metrics

Measuring and Analyzing Customer Satisfaction

Conducting In-Process Quality Assessments

Conducting Software Project Assessments

Dos and Donts of Software Process Improvement

Using Function Point Metrics to Measure Software Process Improvements

Concluding Remarks

A Project Assessment Questionnaire

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Metrics and Models in Software Quality Engineering
Metrics and Models in Software Quality Engineering (2nd Edition)
ISBN: 0201729156
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2001
Pages: 176
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