|By Lev Lesokhin||
|March 19, 2014 09:30 AM EDT||
When applications crash due to a code quality issues, the common question is, "How could those experts have missed that?" The problem is, most people imagine software development as a room full of developers, keyboards clacking away with green, Matrix-esque code filling up the screen as they try and perfect the newest ground-breaking feature. However, in reality most of the work developers actually do is maintenance work fixing the bugs found in the production code to ensure a higher level of code quality.
Not only does this severely reduce the amount of business value IT can bring to the table, it also exponentially increases the cost in developing and maintaining quality applications. And even though the IT industry has seen this rise in cost happening for years, they've done little to stem the rising tide. The time has come to draw a line in the sand.
Capers Jones, VP and CTO of Namcook Analytics, recently released a collection of 20 goals software engineers should be aiming to reach by 2018 and we thought this was a great starting point to get software engineering focused on fixing the problems that lie before them, and not just spinning their gears.
However, having ambitious goals is only part of the challenge. In our experience, the organizations aren't equipped to meet these goals because:
- Functional testing isn't enough
- Code analyzers are myopic
- Productivity measurement is manual and laborious
Responsible IT managers need to change the way they think about software development and arm their teams with better tools and processes if they want to come close to achieving any of these goals. This starts with gaining better visibility into their software risk, performance measurement, portfolio analysis, and quality improvement - and it needs to be instantaneous, not quarterly. The problems are happening now, in development, and management is wasting precious time and money waiting until testing to try and put it all together to work out all the kinks.
Once management has a transparent view into the code quality of their application portfolio, then they can shift their focus to achieving the software engineering goals outlined by Jones. They're great goals to aspire to, but let's make sure we're not putting the cart before the horse.
- Raise defect removal efficiency (DRE) from < 90.0% to > 99.5%. This is the most important goal for the industry. It cannot be achieved by testing alone but requires pre-test inspections and static analysis. DRE is measured by comparing all bugs found during development to those reported in the first 90 days by customers.
- Lower software defect potentials from > 4.0 per function point to < 2.0 per function point. Defect potentials are the sum of bugs found in requirements, design, code, user documents, and bad fixes. Requirements and design bugs often outnumber code bugs. Achieving this goal requires effective defect prevention such as joint application design (JAD), quality function deployment (QFD), certified reusable components, and others. It also requires a complete software quality measurement program. Achieving this goal also requires better training in common sources of defects found in requirements, design, and source code.
- Lower cost of quality (COQ) from > 45.0% of development to < 20.0% of development. Finding and fixing bugs has been the most expensive task in software for more than 50 years. A synergistic combination of defect prevention and pre-test inspections and static analysis are needed to achieve this goal.
- Reduce average cyclomatic complexity from > 25.0 to < 10.0. Achieving this goal requires careful analysis of software structures, and of course it also requires measuring cyclomatic complexity for all modules.
- Raise test coverage from < 75.0% to > 98.5% for risks, paths, and requirements. Achieving this goal requires using mathematical design methods for test case creation such as using design of experiments. It also requires measurement of test coverage.
- Eliminate error-prone modules in large systems. Bugs are not randomly distributed. Achieving this goal requires careful measurements of code defects during development and after release with tools that can trace bugs to specific modules. Some companies such as IBM have been doing this for many years. Error-prone modules (EPM) are usually less than 5% of total modules but receive more than 50% of total bugs. Prevention is the best solution. Existing error-prone modules in legacy applications may require surgical removal and replacement.
- Eliminate security flaws in all software applications. As cyber-crime becomes more common the need for better security is more urgent. Achieving this goal requires use of security inspections, security testing, and automated tools that seek out security flaws. For major systems containing valuable financial or confidential data, ethical hackers may also be needed.
- Reduce the odds of cyber-attacks from > 10.0% to < 0.1%. Achieving this goal requires a synergistic combination of better firewalls, continuous anti-virus checking with constant updates to viral signatures; and also increasing the immunity of software itself by means of changes to basic architecture and permission strategies.
- Reduce bad-fix injections from > 7.0% to < 1.0%. Not many people know that about 7% of attempts to fix software bugs contain new bugs in the fixes themselves commonly called "bad fixes." When cyclomatic complexity tops 50 the bad-fix injection rate can soar to 25% or more. Reducing bad-fix injection requires measuring and controlling cyclomatic complexity, using static analysis for all bug fixes, testing all bug fixes, and inspections of all significant fixes prior to integration.
- Reduce requirements creep from > 1.5% per calendar month to < 0.25% per calendar month. Requirements creep has been an endemic problem of the software industry for more than 50 years. While prototypes, agile embedded users, and joint application design (JAD) are useful, it is technically possible to also use automated requirements models to improve requirements completeness.
- Lower the risk of project failure or cancellation on large 10,000 function point projects from > 35.0% to < 5.0%. Cancellation of large systems due to poor quality and cost overruns is an endemic problem of the software industry, and totally unnecessary. A synergistic combination of effective defect prevention and pre-test inspections and static analysis can come close to eliminating this far too common problem.
- Reduce the odds of schedule delays from > 50.0% to < 5.0%. Since the main reasons for schedule delays are poor quality and excessive requirements creep, solving some of the earlier problems in this list will also solve the problem of schedule delays. Most projects seem on time until testing starts, when huge quantities of bugs begin to stretch out the test schedule to infinity. Defect prevention combined with pre-test static analysis can reduce or eliminate schedule delays.
- Reduce the odds of cost overruns from > 40.0% to < 3.0%. Software cost overruns and software schedule delays have similar root causes; i.e. poor quality control combined with excessive requirements creep. Better defect prevention combined with pre-test defect removal can help to cure both of these endemic software problems.
- Reduce the odds of litigation on outsource contracts from > 5.0% to < 1.0%. The author of this paper has been an expert witness in 12 breach of contract cases. All of these cases seem to have similar root causes which include poor quality control, poor change control, and very poor status tracking. A synergistic combination of early sizing and risk analysis prior to contract signing plus effective defect prevention and pre-test defect removal can lower the odds of software breach of contract litigation.
- Lower maintenance and warranty repair costs by > 75.0% compared to 2014 values. Starting in about 2000 the number of U.S. maintenance programmers began to exceed the number of development programmers. IBM discovered that effective defect prevention and pre-test defect removal reduced delivered defects to such low levels that maintenance costs were reduced by at least 45% and sometimes as much as 75%.
- Improve the volume of certified reusable materials from < 15.0% to > 75.0%. Custom designs and manual coding are intrinsically error-prone and inefficient no matter what methodology is used. The best way of converting software engineering from a craft to a modern profession would be to construct applications from libraries of certified reusable material; i.e. reusable requirements, design, code, and test materials. Certification to near zero-defect levels is a precursor, so effective quality control is on the critical path to increasing the volumes of certified reusable materials.
- Improve average development productivity from < 8.0 function points per month to >16.0 function points per month. Productivity rates vary based on application size, complexity, team experience, methodologies, and several other factors. However when all projects are viewed in aggregate average productivity is below 8.0 function points per staff month. Doubling this rate needs a combination of better quality control and much higher volumes of certified reusable materials; probably 50% or more.
- Improve work hours per function point from > 16.5 to < 8.25. Goal 17 and this goal are essentially the same but use different metrics. However there is one important difference. Work hours will be the same in every country. For example a project in Sweden with 126 work hours per month will have the same number of work hours as a project in China with 184 work hours per month. But the Chinese project will need fewer calendar months than the Swedish project.
- Shorten average software development schedules by > 35.0% compared to 2014 averages. The most common complaint of software clients and corporate executives at the CIO and CFO level is that big software projects take too long. Surprisingly it is not hard to make them shorter. A synergistic combination of better defect prevention, pre-test static analysis and inspections, and larger volumes of certified reusable materials can make significant reductions in schedule intervals.
- Raise maintenance assignment scopes from < 1,500 function points to > 5,000 function points. The metric "maintenance assignment scope" refers to the number of function points that one maintenance programmer can keep up and running during a calendar year. The range is from < 300 function points for buggy and complex software to > 5,000 function points for modern software released with effective quality control. The current average is about 1,500 function points. This is a key metric for predicting maintenance staffing for both individual projects and also for corporate portfolios. Achieving this goal requires effective defect prevention, effective pre-test defect removal, and effective testing using modern mathematically based test case design methods. It also requires low levels of cyclomatic complexity.
Performance is the intersection of power, agility, control, and choice. If you value performance, and more specifically consistent performance, you need to look beyond simple virtualized compute. Many factors need to be considered to create a truly performant environment. In their General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate at SoftLayer, and Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, to discuss how to take advantage of a multitude of compute option...
Sep. 25, 2014 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,895
Come learn about what you need to consider when moving your data to the cloud. In her session at 15th Cloud Expo, Skyla Loomis, a Program Director of Cloudant Development at Cloudant, will discuss the security, performance, and operational implications of keeping your data on premise, moving it to the cloud, or taking a hybrid approach. She will use real customer examples to illustrate the tradeoffs, key decision points, and how to be successful with a cloud or hybrid cloud solution.
Sep. 22, 2014 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,375
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every appli...
Sep. 22, 2014 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,023
With the explosion of the cloud, more businesses are transitioning to a recurring revenue model to generate reliable sales, grow profits, and open new markets. This opportunity requires businesses to get to market quickly with the pricing and packaging options customers want. In addition, you will want to take advantage of the ensuing tidal wave of data to more effectively upsell, cross-sell and manage your customers. All of this is possible, but only with the right approach. At 15th Cloud Exp...
Sep. 12, 2014 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,521
Planning scalable environments isn't terribly difficult, but it does require a change of perspective. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Phil Jackson, Development Community Advocate for SoftLayer, will broaden your views to think on an Internet scale by dissecting a video publishing application built with The SoftLayer Platform, Message Queuing, Object Storage, and Drupal. By examining a scalable modular application build that can handle unpredictable traffic, attendees will able to grow your de...
Sep. 12, 2014 11:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,829
The cloud provides an easy onramp to building and deploying Big Data solutions. Transitioning from initial deployment to large-scale, highly performant operations may not be as easy. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, will discuss the benefits, weaknesses, and performance characteristics of public and bare metal cloud deployments that can help you make the right decisions.
Sep. 11, 2014 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,306
Over the last few years the healthcare ecosystem has revolved around innovations in Electronic Health Record (HER) based systems. This evolution has helped us achieve much desired interoperability. Now the focus is shifting to other equally important aspects – scalability and performance. While applying cloud computing environments to the EHR systems, a special consideration needs to be given to the cloud enablement of Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA), i.e....
Sep. 10, 2014 06:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,741
Cloud and Big Data present unique dilemmas: embracing the benefits of these new technologies while maintaining the security of your organization’s assets. When an outside party owns, controls and manages your infrastructure and computational resources, how can you be assured that sensitive data remains private and secure? How do you best protect data in mixed use cloud and big data infrastructure sets? Can you still satisfy the full range of reporting, compliance and regulatory requirements? I...
Sep. 10, 2014 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,805
Scott Jenson leads a project called The Physical Web within the Chrome team at Google. Project members are working to take the scalability and openness of the web and use it to talk to the exponentially exploding range of smart devices. Nearly every company today working on the IoT comes up with the same basic solution: use my server and you'll be fine. But if we really believe there will be trillions of these devices, that just can't scale. We need a system that is open a scalable and by using...
Sep. 6, 2014 06:45 PM EDT Reads: 5,118
Is your organization struggling to deal with skyrocketing volumes of digital assets? The amount of data is growing exponentially and organizations are having a hard time managing this growth. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Amar Kapadia, Senior Director of Open Cloud Strategy at Seagate, will walk through the essential considerations when developing a cloud storage strategy. In this discussion, you will understand the challenges IT is facing, why companies need to move to cloud, and how the...
Sep. 6, 2014 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,817
If cloud computing benefits are so clear, why have so few enterprises migrated their mission-critical apps? The answer is often inertia and FUD. No one ever got fired for not moving to the cloud – not yet. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Hoch, SVP, Cloud Advisory Service at Virtustream, will discuss the six key steps to justify and execute your MCA cloud migration.
Sep. 6, 2014 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,846
The 16th International Cloud Expo announces that its Call for Papers is now open. 16th International Cloud Expo, to be held June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speak...
Sep. 5, 2014 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 3,044
Most of today’s hardware manufacturers are building servers with at least one SATA Port, but not every systems engineer utilizes them. This is considered a loss in the game of maximizing potential storage space in a fixed unit. The SATADOM Series was created by Innodisk as a high-performance, small form factor boot drive with low power consumption to be plugged into the unused SATA port on your server board as an alternative to hard drive or USB boot-up. Built for 1U systems, this powerful devic...
Sep. 4, 2014 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 9,077
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in software-defined storage (SDS) purpose-built for Windows Servers and Hyper-V, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Gridstore™ is the leader in software-defined storage purpose built for virtualization that is designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Using its patented Server-Side Virtual C...
Sep. 4, 2014 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,390
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudian is a Foster City, Calif.-based software company specializing in cloud storage. Cloudian HyperStore® is an S3-compatible cloud object storage platform that enables service providers and enterprises to bui...
Sep. 3, 2014 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,319
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise), a leading value-added provider of server and storage virtualization, and r-evolution will exhibit at SYS-CON's 15th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechXtend (formerly Programmer’s Paradise) is a leading value-added provider of software, systems and solutions for corporations, government organizations, and academic instit...
Sep. 3, 2014 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,592
Every healthy ecosystem is diverse. This is especially true in cloud ecosystems, where portability and interoperability are more important than old enterprise models of proprietary ownership. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mark Baker, Server Product Manager at Canonical/Ubuntu, will discuss how single vendors used to take the lead in creating and delivering technology, but in a cloud economy, where users want tools of their preference, when and where they need them, it makes no sense.
Sep. 3, 2014 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,672
The consumption economy is here and so are cloud applications and solutions that offer more than subscription and flat fee models and at the same time are available on a pure consumption model, which not only reduces IT spend but also lowers infrastructure costs, and offers ease of use and availability. In their session at 15th Cloud Expo, Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, and Ian Khan, Global Strategic Positioning & Brand Manager at Solgenia, will discuss this shifting dynamic with ...
Sep. 2, 2014 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,527
The emergence of cloud computing and Big Data warrants a greater role for the PMO to successfully manage enterprise transformation driven by these powerful trends. As the adoption of cloud-based services continues to grow, a governance model is needed to orchestrate enterprise cloud implementations and harness the power of Big Data analytics. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Mahesh Singh, President of BigData, Inc., to discuss how the Enterprise PMO takes center stage not only in developing th...
Sep. 2, 2014 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,987
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, will explore the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research dat...
Sep. 2, 2014 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 3,851