Goals Of A Measurement Program

One of the most frequently asked questions about an IS measurement program is, "What are the best metrics?" A more appropriate question is, "What are the goals of IS and how can they be measured?" Understanding and defining the goals of an IS organization help clarify the metrics that are a part of the measurement program. These goals, and the related goals of the measurement program, must be delineated before the counting begins.

Focusing on goals rather than on metrics is important for several reasons. People notice what is measured in an organization and frequently modify their behavior to make those measurements appear more favorable. Although laboriously counting the number of lines of code written per programmer per day encourages programmers to write more code and results in a lot of code, the code may not solve business problems. Tracking each computer development project and painstakingly updating visibly placed Gantt charts may prod employees to deliver systems on time, but the systems may have many defects that make them difficult to use or maintain. Surveying the satisfaction level of computer users may result in actions that produce happy users, but it could also have the effect of generating a costly and inefficient systems development and maintenance process.

Measurement helps to highlight specific areas in an organization and encourages people to focus their attention and energies on those areas. To leverage this measurement spotlight, IS managers should identify a set of combined goals that achieve the objectives of the organization. Once goals are established, managers should identify specific questions to be answered, which, in turn, leads to the metrics to be collected. This structure is termed the goal/question/metric (G/Q/M) approach.[3]

[3]V.R. Basili and D.M. Weiss, "A Methodology for Collecting Valid Software Engineering Data," IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, 10, no. 3, 728-738, 1984.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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