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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A software metric is a measure of some property of a piece of software or its specifications.

Since quantitative methods have proved so powerful in the other sciences, computer science practitioners and theoreticians have worked hard to bring similar approaches to software development. Tom DeMarco stated, “You can’t control what you can't measure.”[1]

Modern software development practitioners are likely to point out that naive and simplistic measurements can cause more harm than good.[2]


Common software measurements

Common software measurements include:

The definition of many of these measurements is often imprecise, and consequently it is often unclear how tools for computing them arrive at a particular result [4].


It is very difficult to satisfactorily define or measure "how much" software there is in a program, especially when making such a prediction prior to the detail design. The practical utility of software measurements has thus been limited to narrow domains where they include:

  • Schedule
  • Size/Complexity
  • Cost
  • Quality

Too much emphasis on any one of these aspects of performance is likely to create an imbalance in the team’s motivations, leading to a dysfunctional project.

The Balanced scorecard is a one tool for managing a suite of measurements that address multiple performance perspectives.

See also


  1. ^ DeMarco, Tom. Controlling Software Projects: Management, Measurement and Estimation. ISBN 0-13-171711-1.  
  2. ^ Dr. Cem Kaner, Software Engineer Metrics: What do they measure and how do we know?
  3. ^ Descriptive Information (DI) Metric thresholds
  4. ^ Rüdiger Lincke, Jonas Lundberg, Welf Löwe: Comparing software metrics tools. ISSTA 2008: 131-142

External links



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