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How do you measure software quality?

Though software test experts do agree on a lot, the question of how to measure software quality is a subject of great debate. In his opening keynote at STPCon 2011, Rex Black, former president of the ISQTB, talked about the importance of deriving metrics from defects, encouraging the audience to track defects throughout the development lifecycle. Meanwhile, James Whittaker, another industry expert, told testers in his STARWEST keynote to stop wasting time with bug reports (especially logging bugs that will never be fixed), and instead focus on the “only artifact that matters: the code.”

We explore more about how software quality is measured with a three-part interview with co-authors Capers Jones and Olivier Bonsignour, who have come out with a new book, The Economics of Software Quality. The book includes a list of 121 software quality attributes which are ranked according to how valuable or detrimental they are to software quality.

It appears Jones and Bonsignour would side with Black as they have “use of formal defect tracking” ranked as 10.00, indicating the highest degree of value for quality. This surprised me since I know many respected leaders, incuding Whittaker, who I’m guessing would disagree. I asked why formal defect tracking was so important to quality. Check out the Q&A to find out how they answered.

Quality metrics: The economics of software quality – Part one


Quality metrics: Software quality attributes and their rankings – Part two


Quality metrics: Changes in the way we measure quality – Part three

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