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The ACCU passes on review copies of computer books to its members for them to review. The result is a large, high quality collection of book reviews by programmers, for programmers. Currently there are 1918 reviews in the database and more every month.
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Title:
Practical Software Measurement
Author:
John McGarry et al
ISBN:
0 201 71516 3
Publisher:
Addison-Wesley
Pages:
277pp
Price:
£41-99
Reviewer:
Silvia de Beer
Subject:
management
Appeared in:
14-3
Practical Software Measurement is a well-written book containing concise and useful information on this subject. It contains eight chapters and three appendices. It provides comprehensive descriptions of the Measurement Information Model and the Measurement Process Model, as well as practical examples in Appendix A and two case studies in Appendix B and C. I did not have any knowledge about software measurement and this book would be sufficient to start using software measurement in your software development process. Measuring only makes sense if you have a basic software process in place, but if that were the case, starting measuring would help you to improve your software development process. If you are new to software measurement, you start to identify a few information needs. On the basis of those information needs you fill in a measurement construct. A measurement construct is a table on which you identify what you are going to measure. You identify the units, the way of collecting the data and the decision criteria.

The book is very complete and practical. It is a useful book for both people starting to measure or for people already involved in a more mature software development processes. The book contains a lot of diagrams and tables. Some of the diagrams split up the measurement process a bit too detailed to my first impression, until I realised that this more theoretical approach provided valuable insight to setting up correctly your own measurement process. One should not measure for the sake of measuring, but to track the development process and to take corrective decisions based on the collected data. One should pay attention to the fact that the underlying reasons for a difference between the planned and actual values can be very diverse. Suggestions are given how to analyse and find the core reasons for differences and what type of corrective actions can be taken. The book suggests ways to consider the impact of various decisions.

As a conclusion, I highly recommend this book, especially if your software process has a reasonable maturity. This book will give you plenty of points for reflection on how to start introducing measurement to improve your software development process.