Better Software Magazine Articles

When Assessments Are Relative

Taking development and business contexts into consideration can mean the difference between a correct assessment and a useful assessment. Here's information on how to provide an assessment that's both correct and effective.

Bob King
Finding the Signal through the Noise

A major challenge for software professionals interpreting data is deciding what's real and what isn't, what matters and what doesn't. A useful way to think about it is that you are trying to find the signal in the noise produced by random variation and error. Here is advice on how to extract the useful information from the "noise."

Jarrett Rosenberg
Modeling Organizational Change

When you approach a process problem in the way your workgroup functions, you're implementing an organizational change. Organizations are systems of complex interrelationships. Explicit models can help you make strategic changes.

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby
Measuring Process Improvement

Tracking your project goals lets you know how well your improvement program is going, provides visibility early to detect problems, and gives you data to make your future plans more effective. Here's how to measure improvement based on your project's goals and problems.

Mary Sakry
Meaningful Metrics

Your numbers are solid and your graphs are works of art. Now boost your metrics' value through the roof with some simple annotations that will put all that data in context.

Anna S. W. Allison
How Good Is This Software?—A Model to Measure Subjective Data

How do you really know how good your software is? Many traditional measures only look at the quantitative aspects of quality. Here's a model to measure and analyze subjective—or qualitative—data about software quality.

Andy Roth
Customer Satisfaction: What to Ask, How to Ask, and Who to Ask

Improving customer satisfaction should be a primary goal of process improvement programs. So how satisfied are our customers? One of the best ways to find out is to ask them. Here are techniques for creating a useful survey and interpreting the results.

Linda Westfall
Getting the Most from Outsourcing

Outsourcing can be a great way to augment your software efforts. Here are guidelines to help you choose the right provider and ensure that you get what you paid for.

Eric Patel
The Quality Barometer

A QA manager is often faced with measuring the impossible. Here is a simple, post-ship metric to help judge the test effort's effectiveness. The Quality Barometer method uses the bug counts found during testing, calculates a percentage, and then uses that percentage as the defect target number that can be tolerated after shipment.

George Hamblen
Designing Useful Metrics: Using Observation, Modeling, and Measurement to Make Decisions

First-order measurement can help you understand what's going on, make decisions, and improve results. Observation, modeling, and simple data gathering are things that you can implement in your work group without a big measurement program or big funding. Start by modeling your system and working out on paper how different measures will affect your system. Then involve your team, expand your model, and try some simple data gathering. This approach to measurement is one more tool in your toolkit, and it will move your organization toward better quality.

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby

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