|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.
SYS-CON Events announced today that AppNeta, the leader in performance insight for business-critical web applications, will exhibit and present at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. AppNeta is the only application performance monitoring (APM) company to provide solutions for all applications – applications you develop internally, business-critical SaaS applications you use and the networks that deli...
May. 28, 2016 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,550
While there has been much ado about interoperability, there are still no real solutions, same as last year and the year before that. The large EHR vendors who continue to dominate the market still maintain that interoperability is all but solved, still can't connect EHRs across the continuum causing frustration by providers and a disservice to patients. The ONC pays lip service to the problem, but that is about it. It is time for the healthcare industry to consider alternatives like middleware w...
May. 28, 2016 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,670
I have an article in the recently released “DZone Guide to Building and Deploying Applications on the Cloud” entitled “Fullstack Engineering in the Age of Hybrid Cloud”. In this article I discuss the need and skills of a Fullstack Engineer with relation to troubleshooting and repairing complex, distributed hybrid cloud applications. My recent experiences with troubleshooting issues with my Docker WordPress container only reinforce the details I wrote about in this piece. Without my comprehensive...
May. 28, 2016 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,944
SYS-CON Events announced today BZ Media LLC has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. BZ Media LLC is a high-tech media company that produces technical conferences and expositions, and publishes a magazine, newsletters and websites in the software development, SharePoint, mobile development and Commercial Drone markets.
May. 28, 2016 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,596
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
May. 28, 2016 06:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,863
SYS-CON Events announced today the Docker Meets Kubernetes – Intro into the Kubernetes World, being held June 9, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Register for 'Docker Meets Kubernetes Workshop' Here! This workshop led by Sebastian Scheele, co-founder of Loodse, introduces participants to Kubernetes (container orchestration). Through a combination of instructor-led presentations, demonstrations, and hands-on labs, participants learn ...
May. 28, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,003
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
May. 28, 2016 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,344
SYS-CON Events announced today the How to Create Angular 2 Clients for the Cloud Workshop, being held June 7, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified. Now it’s a component-based well-performing framework. The immersive one-day workshop led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and...
May. 28, 2016 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,057
Agile teams report the lowest rate of measuring non-functional requirements. What does this mean for the evolution of quality in this era of Continuous Everything? To explore how the rise of SDLC acceleration trends such as Agile, DevOps, and Continuous Delivery are impacting software quality, Parasoft conducted a survey about measuring and monitoring non-functional requirements (NFRs). Here's a glimpse at what we discovered and what it means for the evolution of quality in this era of Continuo...
May. 28, 2016 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,622
Last week I had the pleasure of speaking on a panel at Sapphire Ventures Next-Gen Tech Stack Forum in San Francisco. Obviously, I was excited to join the discussion, but as a participant the event crystallized not only where the larger software development market is relative to microservices, container technologies (like Docker), continuous integration and deployment; but also provided insight into where DevOps is heading in the coming years.
May. 28, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,531
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
May. 28, 2016 09:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,270
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
May. 28, 2016 09:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,437
In the rush to compete in the digital age, a successful digital transformation is essential, but many organizations are setting themselves up for failure. There’s a common misconception that the process is just about technology, but it’s not. It’s about your business. It shouldn’t be treated as an isolated IT project; it should be driven by business needs with the committed involvement of a range of stakeholders.
May. 28, 2016 08:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,572
You might already know them from theagileadmin.com, but let me introduce you to two of the leading minds in the Rugged DevOps movement: James Wickett and Ernest Mueller. Both James and Ernest are active leaders in the DevOps space, in addition to helping organize events such as DevOpsDays Austinand LASCON. Our conversation covered a lot of bases from the founding of Rugged DevOps to aligning organizational silos to lessons learned from W. Edwards Demings.
May. 28, 2016 07:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,498
Earlier this week, we hosted a Continuous Discussion (#c9d9) on Continuous Delivery (CD) automation and orchestration, featuring expert panelists Dondee Tan, Test Architect at Alaska Air, Taco Bakker, a LEAN Six Sigma black belt focusing on CD, and our own Sam Fell and Anders Wallgren. During this episode, we discussed the differences between CD automation and orchestration, their challenges with setting up CD pipelines and some of the common chokepoints, as well as some best practices and tips...
May. 28, 2016 07:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,401
When I talk about driving innovation with self-organizing teams, I emphasize that such self-organization includes expecting the participants to organize their own teams, give themselves their own goals, and determine for themselves how to measure their success. In contrast, the definition of skunkworks points out that members of such teams are “usually specially selected.” Good thing he added the word usually – because specially selecting such teams throws a wrench in the entire works, limiting...
May. 28, 2016 06:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,605
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
May. 28, 2016 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,263
Automation is a critical component of DevOps and Continuous Delivery. This morning on #c9d9 we discussed CD Automation and how you can apply Automation to accelerate release cycles, improve quality, safety and governance? What is the difference between Automation and Orchestration? Where should you begin your journey to introduce both?
May. 28, 2016 05:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,434
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
May. 28, 2016 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 3,250
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
May. 28, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 3,216