REVIEW - Practical Software Measurement - Objective Information for Decision Makers


Practical Software Measurement

Objective Information for Decision Makers


John McGarry, David Card, Cheryl Jones, Beth Layman, Elizabeth Clark, Joseph Dean, Fred Hall


Addison-Wesley Professional (2002)




Paul Floyd


April 2014



Reviewed: November 2012

Seven authors for 268 pages, or about 38 pages each. It does look a bit like a committee. That’s not a criticism, just something I find remarkable as I’m used to books being written by one or two people.

I found the first three chapters quite good, covering background, a model for the process of measurement and planning for introducing measurement into a development process. Then I felt that the book lost its way. The next chapters cover the ‘do-check-act’ parts of the Deming cycle. For example, the ‘Perform Measurement’ chapter includes explanations of the differences between line charts, bar charts and scatter charts. There are a lot of general guidelines, most of which seemed like obvious common sense.

The appendices (over 100 pages) were better with a larger, more developed example and a couple of real world case studies.

There isn’t enough technical content to be of much use to someone that will be a practitioner of measurement. That leaves management as the target audience, more or less as the book subtitle says. I hope that most managers don’t need general advice that would be applicable to any major undertaking (stuff like don’t alienate your staff and get high management buy-in). I’m afraid this one’s heading to the back of my bookshelf.

Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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