How to Measure Quality

Fortunately for us, the problem of containing the impossible has addressed some very brilliant minds. They have broken down the problems of quality control into critical components that are as useful to managers monitoring the progress of technicians as they are to programmers themselves.

James McCall and colleagues identified 11 quality criteria back in 1977 (A. McCall, P. K. Richards, G. F. Walters, "Factors in Software Quality," RADC-TR-77-369, Vol I -III, November 1977). These were christened Software Quality Factors (SQFs) and are listed in Table 9-3. Although SQFs cover every aspect of quality across a program's entire life cycle and embrace every issue from maintenance to future porting to other operating systems, the 11 criteria do not necessarily bear a close resemblance to their dictionary meanings; so read on with care.

Table 9-3 Software Quality Factors

SQF

Requirement

Example

Correctness

Can the product work?

Matches specification and works accurately

Reliability

How long between failures?

Accuracy of operation

Efficiency

Will it work willingly at pressure?

Optimization

Integrity

Will the program thwart hacking and resist viruses?

Ability to weather attack

Usability

Can users benefit from the program easily?

Ease of use (understanding, learning, use)

Maintainability

Can the program be repaired speedily?

Ease of repair

Flexibility

Will it be fairly straightforward to adapt the program?

Effort required to modify program

Testability

Can the program be tested economically?

Effort required to test program

Portability

Can your program be readily adapted to a new operating system?

How easily it can move to other platforms (operating systems)

Reusability

Modularity of code

Interoperability

Ability to couple program in with another (for example, API)

Keep these in mind at all times when designing and coding programs.

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