The degree to which a software product meets its set requirements and customer expectations is referred to as software quality. Measuring software quality is critical for providing effective, reliable, and valuable software solutions. It adds to overall project success, customer satisfaction, cost-effectiveness, risk management, and risk management. Continuous monitoring and improvement of software quality are integral parts of a robust software development process.

8 Dimensions of Software Quality

Garvin’s Dimensions of Quality is a framework proposed by David Garvin in 1987 that identifies eight dimensions of quality. These dimensions are:

software quality dimensions
  1. Performance: This dimension describes how well a product performs its intended function.
  2. Features: This dimension refers to the additional characteristics of a product beyond its basic function.
  3. Reliability: This dimension describes the probability of a product failing within a specified period.
  4. Conformance: This dimension refers to the degree to which a product meets its design specifications.
  5. Durability: This dimension describes the expected lifespan of a product.
  6. Serviceability: This dimension refers to the ease with which a product can be repaired or maintained.
  7. Aesthetics: This dimension describes the sensory characteristics of a product, such as its appearance, sound, feel, and smell.
  8. Perceived Quality: This dimension refers to the customer’s overall impression of a product.

The importance of measuring Software Quality

Here are some key reasons why measuring software quality is important:

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Cost Savings
  • Risk Mitigations
  • Maintainability and Scalability
  • On-Time Delivery
  • Regulatory Compliances

Metrics to measure Software Quality

Measuring software quality involves using a variety of indicators that provide insights into various parts of the software development process and the final output. Here are some key metrics widely used to assess software quality:

Code Coverage:

The percentage of code lines or paths covered by automated tests. Indicates the effectiveness of testing efforts in terms of code coverage, helping identify areas that may need additional testing.

Popular Tools: ReSharper, SonarQube, ESLint, Embold

Code Duplication:

The percentage of code that appears in more than one location within the codebase. High code duplication can lead to maintenance challenges, and measuring this metric helps identify opportunities for refactoring.

Popular Tools: ReSharper, SonarQube, ESLint, Embold

Cyclomatic Complexity:

A quantitative measure of the complexity of a program’s control flow structure. High complexity may indicate code that is difficult to understand, test, and maintain.

Popular Tools: Radon, CheckStyle, ESLint, ReSharper, SonarQube

Checkout our earlier posts on setting up and using SonarQube

Lead Time and Cycle Time:

Lead time is the time from the initiation of a task to its completion; cycle time is the time it takes to develop and deliver a specific feature. It provides insights into the efficiency of the development process and the ability to deliver features promptly.

Popular Tools: Jira Software, Trello, Azure DevOps, Targetprocess

Defect Leakage/Incidents Reported by the Customer:

The number and severity of issues reported by end-users. Direct feedback from users about the software’s behavior and quality influences future development priorities.

Popular Tools: Jira Software, Bugzilla

Technical Debt:

The amount of accumulated work that needs to be done in the future due to shortcuts or compromises made during development. High technical debt can lead to decreased productivity and an increased risk of defects.

Popular Tools: CodeClimate, SonarQube, CAST Highlight

Static Code Analysis Violations:

The number of violations found by static code analysis tools (e.g., coding standards, security vulnerabilities). This Helps maintain code quality and adherence to coding standards.

Popular Tools: CheckStyle, ESLint, SonarQube, Embold

Customer Satisfaction:

User satisfaction scores or feedback collected through surveys or user reviews. It provides a direct measure of how well the software meets user expectations.

Popular Tools: Net Promoter System, Survey Platforms like SurveyMonkey, Google Forms, Feedback Platforms like Zendesk

It’s important to note that no single metric provides an accurate picture of software quality. You will need to use a combination of these measures, adjusted to their specific needs and aims, to assess and improve the quality of their software on a continuous basis.


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