Applied Software Measurement by Capers Jones

By Capers Jones

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The resistance is due to the natural human belief that measures might be used against them. This feeling is the greatest barrier to applied software measurement. The challenge today is to overcome this barrier and demonstrate that applied software measurement is not harmful, but as necessary to corporate success as standard financial measurements. What tends to separate leading-edge companies from trailing-edge companies are not only technical differences but cultural differences as well. Project managers in companies at the leading edge, such as Microsoft, IBM, DuPont, and Hewlett-Packard, may have ten times as much quantified, historical information available to them to aid in project planning as their peers in companies at the trailing edge.

For many years, measuring software productivity and quality was so difficult that only very large companies such as IBM attempted it. Indeed, one of the reasons for IBM’s success was the early emphasis the company put on the applied measurement of quality and productivity, which gave IBM the ability to use the data for corrective purposes. But stable metrics and accurate applied measurement of software have been possible since 1979, and now every company can gain the benefits and insights available from applied software measurement.

Table 1-5 shows the explosive growth of Web-based applications. It also shows a steep decline in conventional MIS applications, because many of these are now being done by outsource vendors, whose market shares have tripled since the first edition. End-user applications have almost dropped from the picture, due to ownership problems coupled with quality issues. Table 1-6 brings up another important set of industry changes since the first edition: the average age of software applications. Table 1-6 shows the approximate average ages of software applications in calendar years among the author’s clients.

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