In the recent years we’ve seen a lot of discussions and good things about cloud computing – sharing platforms (PaaS), services (SaaS) and software thus optimizing the usage of computer resources.
This sharing of resources is important for making the software sustainable, and helps the companies to focus on what their business is about rather than on their IT infrastructure.
Measurement programs are no different – they are often a strategic value for companies, but they are not really something the companies want to spend their R&D budget for (at least not directly). So, how do we make it happen?
Well, we could use the same approach as in SaaS and PaaS and define MaaS (Measurement-as-a-Service) where we can reuse the knowledge across organizations and minimize the cost for working with the software measurement initiatives.
We’ve tried this concept with one of our industrial partners – Ericsson – and it seems that it works very well. You can read more about it in this article.
And the picture below explains a bit how this works.
Dashboards and all kinds of radiators are very popular in industry now. They allow the companies to disseminate the metrics information and to find the right way of visualizing the metrics.
In a recent article written together with Ericsson and Volvo Cars we have explored how to find the right visualization and we developed a model for choosing the dashboard – http://gup.ub.gu.se/records/fulltext/220504/220504.pdf.
The method quantified a number of dimensions of a good dashboard and provides a simple set of sliders that can be used to select the right visualization. The companies in the study have found it to be a good input to the understanding of what the stakeholders want when they say “dashboard”.
In the next steps we’re currently working on defining a quality model of KPIs – Key Performance Indicators. The first version has shown that it allows the companies to reduce the number of indicators by as much as 90% by finding the ones which are not of good quality.
In our recent work we have explored the possibility of validating that a measurement program is robust. We have worked with seven companies within the software center to establish a method and evaluate it. The results are presented in a newly accepted paper “MeSRAM – A Method for Assessing Robustness of Measurement Programs in Large Software Development Organizations and Its Industrial Evaluation” to appear in Journal of Systems and Software.
In short the method is based on a collecting the evidence that a measurement program contains elements which are important for the program to be able to handle changes. For example whether a measurement program has a dedicated organization working with it and whether the entire company is able to utilize the results from the measurement program.
The method is similar to the stress-testing of banks, so popular in the last decade.
The next step in our research is finding out which metrics the companies should use to assure the long-term robustness of the measurement program. stay tuned!