|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.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to impr...
Dec. 3, 2016 02:15 PM EST Reads: 6,943
Join Impiger for their featured webinar: ‘Cloud Computing: A Roadmap to Modern Software Delivery’ on November 10, 2016, at 12:00 pm CST. Very few companies have not experienced some impact to their IT delivery due to the evolution of cloud computing. This webinar is not about deciding whether you should entertain moving some or all of your IT to the cloud, but rather, a detailed look under the hood to help IT professionals understand how cloud adoption has evolved and what trends will impact th...
Dec. 3, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 2,463
More and more brands have jumped on the IoT bandwagon. We have an excess of wearables – activity trackers, smartwatches, smart glasses and sneakers, and more that track seemingly endless datapoints. However, most consumers have no idea what “IoT” means. Creating more wearables that track data shouldn't be the aim of brands; delivering meaningful, tangible relevance to their users should be. We're in a period in which the IoT pendulum is still swinging. Initially, it swung toward "smart for smar...
Dec. 3, 2016 02:00 PM EST Reads: 437
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
Dec. 3, 2016 01:30 PM EST Reads: 2,115
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
Dec. 3, 2016 01:15 PM EST Reads: 580
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017 at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with the 20th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
Dec. 3, 2016 01:00 PM EST Reads: 1,852
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 3, 2016 01:00 PM EST Reads: 283
When it comes to cloud computing, the ability to turn massive amounts of compute cores on and off on demand sounds attractive to IT staff, who need to manage peaks and valleys in user activity. With cloud bursting, the majority of the data can stay on premises while tapping into compute from public cloud providers, reducing risk and minimizing need to move large files. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Scott Jeschonek, Director of Product Management at Avere Systems, discussed the IT and busin...
Dec. 3, 2016 12:45 PM EST Reads: 3,763
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Dec. 3, 2016 12:45 PM EST Reads: 1,942
[slides] Agility for Digital Transformation | @CloudExpo @NewhouseConsult #Agile #DigitalTransformation
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
Dec. 3, 2016 12:45 PM EST Reads: 726
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
Dec. 3, 2016 12:15 PM EST Reads: 1,492
Effectively SMBs and government programs must address compounded regulatory compliance requirements. The most recent are Controlled Unclassified Information and the EU's GDPR have Board Level implications. Managing sensitive data protection will likely result in acquisition criteria, demonstration requests and new requirements. Developers, as part of the pre-planning process and the associated supply chain, could benefit from updating their code libraries and design by incorporating changes. In...
Dec. 3, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 932
"Coalfire is a cyber-risk, security and compliance assessment and advisory services firm. We do a lot of work with the cloud service provider community," explained Ryan McGowan, Vice President, Sales (West) at Coalfire Systems, Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 3, 2016 12:00 PM EST Reads: 724
CloudJumper, a Workspace as a Service (WaaS) platform innovator for agile business IT, has been recognized with the Customer Value Leadership Award for its nWorkSpace platform by Frost & Sullivan. The company was also featured in a new report(1) by the industry research firm titled, “Desktop-as-a-Service Buyer’s Guide, 2016,” which provides a comprehensive comparison of DaaS providers, including CloudJumper, Amazon, VMware, and Microsoft.
Dec. 3, 2016 11:45 AM EST Reads: 685
"We are an all-flash array storage provider but our focus has been on VM-aware storage specifically for virtualized applications," stated Dhiraj Sehgal of Tintri in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 3, 2016 11:45 AM EST Reads: 450
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices 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 speaking proposal ...
Dec. 3, 2016 11:30 AM EST Reads: 2,068
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
Dec. 3, 2016 11:30 AM EST Reads: 829
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Dec. 3, 2016 11:15 AM EST Reads: 1,627
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
Dec. 3, 2016 10:45 AM EST Reads: 2,138
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
Dec. 3, 2016 10:45 AM EST Reads: 791