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Software Engineering Resources

Technical Metrics for Software
By its nature, engineering is a quantitative discipline. Engineers use numbers to help them design and assess the product to be built. Until recently, software engineers had little quantitative guidance in their work - but that's changing. Technical metrics help software engineers gain insight into the design and construction of the products they build. The following topic categories are considered:

General Introduction

Metrics Resources

Technical Metrics

Object-Oriented Metrics


General Introduction

History of Software MeasurementA book-length dissertation by Horst Zuse. Includes a voluminous bibliography on metrics.

The 5 Essentials of Effective Software Development Metrics
A downloadable paper (free registration req'd). From the abstract: "Why are software projects so prone to failure? In large part, it's because of a profound lack of visibility and transparency into development processes. And this lack of visibility only increases with the complexity of projects and physical distribution of teams. This means that projects that are sent offshore are even more challenged when it comes to visibility, transparency and control."

pdf: Software Engineering Metrics: What Do They Measure and How Do We Know?
The paper continues with a framework for evaluating proposed metrics, and applies it to two uses of bug counts.

A Software Metrics Primer
A useful introduction by Karl Wiegers.

Metrics Guide
Presents an overview of the collection, analysis, and reporting of software metrics. Also many links to metrics resources.

Metrics Roadmap
A guide to the metrics field prepared by Normal Fenton and Martin Neil

An 8-Step Metrics Program
A detailed discussion produced by SPC.

Ten Metrics Traps to Avoid
A paper by Karl Wiegers.

Metrics Resources

Software Metrics Resources
George Stark has prepared useful information of software metrics including an annotated bibliography.

Metrics Glossary
A comprehensive glossary of metrics terms. Recommended.

Software Metrics Sites on the Web - 1
A comprehensive set of links prepared by Thomas Fetcke contains pointers to conferences, tools products, training, SPI and other related topics.

Software Metrics Sites on the Web - 2
Contains a wide array of Web resources.

Software Measurement Papers and Articles
A list of 50 plus, downloadable papers and articles on software measurement

Software Metrics Forum
A wide variety of metrics resources.

IFPUG Resources
The Intl. Function Point User's Group offers many useful reports and articles.

Netherlands Software Metrics Users Association discusses FP in great detail.

Metrics Humor
Count the number of pizza boxes in the lab ...

Metrics for Conventional Software

Metrics Information from Horst Zuse
Horst Zuse provides voluminous information on technical metrics.

"A Software Metric System for Module Coupling"

A paper on metrics that describe coupling (a design characteristic) can be downloaded from this site.

Metrics Taxonomy
An excellent taxonomy of software metrics. Highly recommended.

Design Metrics
A discussion of selected design metrics as well as pointer to other information.

Defect Removal Efficiency
This site has a number of downloadable papers by Linda Westfall on DRE and relate topics.

Software Metrics and Reliability
How quality metrics assist in the evaluation of software reliability.

Metrics applicable to software design
This downloadable paper surveys "eight modularity and structural complexity metrics applicable to software designs, and summarize the results of empirical val- idation studies when they are available."

Code quality's singular metric
Addresses the question: "What are the useful Metrics for Code Quality?"

pdf: The Design Metric Software Design Analyzer
"The SDA recognizes the design elements of a software system (i.e., structure charts or DFDs), searches for the relevant information in the design in order to calculate the metrics, and deposits the information into a repository for later reference."

pdf: Defining and Validating High-Level Design Metrics
A set of metrics are proposed and validated for large projects.

Predicting software metrics at design time
A downloadable paper that proposes a technique to "mine software code bases to relate problem domains (characterized by imports) to code features such as complexity, size, or quality."

Metrics in Software Test Planning and Test Design Processes
A Master's Thesis that "investigatse the metric support for software test planning and test design processes."

pdf: Software Metrics for Predicting Maintainability
An some dated, but still worthwhile examination of metrics that can be used to predict maintainability.

pdf: Some observations on the application of software metrics to UML models
Applying metrics to UML models.

Object-Oriented Software

The Role of OO Metrics
A paper by Bertrand Meyer.

Object-Oriented Metrics
A useful survey of OO metrics. Recommended.

OO Metrics Sites on the Web
A comprehensive set of resources compiled by CETUS links.

OO Design Metrics Bibliography
A print bibliography with 48 citations.

Applying and Interpreting OO Metrics
A worthwhile report produced by NASA SATC.

Object Oriented Metrics Page
A useful summary of a variety of OO metrics.

Metrics for Object Oriented Software Development
"In this article, we would examine couple of important object oriented metrics and see how they can be adopted at design and development stages of a project life cycle to minimize the risk and improve the software quality."

pdf: Software Design Metrics for Object-Oriented Software
This paper "addresses this need and introduces a new set of design metrics for object-oriented code."

Object-Oriented Software Design Metrics from XMI
This downloadable paper describes metrics derived from the XMI standard for the description of UML models.

Object-oriented design metrics ensure robust software
"The ability to objectively assess a software design can allow you to determine the overall reusability and maintainability of your software application. Find out more about metrics used to measure software quality."

pdf: Design Metrics for Object-Oriented Software Systems
An OO design metrics set is reviewed, along with its rationale.

pdf: A Metrics Suite for Object Oriented Design
The original paper proposing the C-K metrics suite for OO systems.

Metrics related papers
A list of downloadable OO metrics related papers is provided.

OOD metrics ensure robust software
Presents metrics that "provide objective feedback that allows you to assess the quality of your designs."


There is a surprisingly large number of books that are dedicated to software metrics, although the majority focus on process and project metrics to the exclusion of technical metrics. The following books provide treatments of techncial metrics:

Software Engineering Measurement
Metrics and Models in Software Quality Engineering
Software Metrics: A Rigourous and Practical Approach
A Framework of Software Measurement
Software Metrics
Measuring Software Design Quality

Newer additions to the literature include:

Object-Oriented Metrics in Practice
discusses OO metrics and their use for assessing the quality of a design
Metrics For Software Conceptual Models and
Software Engineering With Formal Metrics
present a wide variety of technical metrics for use cases, UML models, and other modeling representations.

Although a bit older, the following books also consider technical metrics:

Software Complexity: Measures and Methods
Software Engineering with Formal Metrics
Software Metrics
Making Software Measurement Work
Applying Software Metrics
(an anthology of papers on software metrics)

.In addition, the following books are worth examining:

Software Engineering Metrics and Models,
Practical Software Metrics for Project Management and Process Improvement
Software Engineering Metrics

The theory of software measurement is in:

Proceedings of the International BCS-FACS Workshop: Formal Aspects of Measurement
Foundations of Software Measurement
Symposium on Software Metrics

    Object-Oriented Design Measurement presents the most comprehensive and mathematically sophisticated treatment of OO metrics published to date.
    Object-Oriented Software Metrics and
    Object-Oriented Metrics: Measures of Complexity
    offer the only other books dedicated to OO metrics.

    Software Testing Fundamentals: Methods and Metrics
    presents useful guidance in the application and use of metrics for software testing.

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