Evaluating GQM+ Strategies Framework for Planning Measurement System (Computer Project)

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Most organizations are aware of the significance of software measurement programs to help organizations assess and improve the ways they develop software. Measurement plays a vital role in improving software process and products. However, the number of failing measurement programs is high and the reasons are vary.

A recent approach for planning measurement programs is GQM+Strategies, which makes an important extension to existing approaches, it links measurements and improvement activities to strategic goals and ways to achieve this goals. However, concrete guides of how to collect the information needed to use GQM+strategies is not provided in the literature yet.

The contribution of this research is to propose and assess an elicitation approach (The Goal Strategy Elicitation (GSE) approach) for the information needed to apply GQM+strategies in an organization, which also leads to a partial evaluation of GQM+strategies as such. In this thesis, the initial focus is placed on eliciting the goals and strategies in the most efficient way.

The primary research approach used is action research, which allows to flexibly assess a new method or technique in an iterative manner, where the feedback of one iteration is taken into the next iteration, thus improving on the method or technique proposed. Complementary to that, we used literature review with the primary focus to position the work, explore GQM+strategies, and to determine which elicitation approach for the support of measurement programs have been proposed.

The Goal Strategy Elicitation (GSE) approach as a tool for eliciting goals and strategies within the software organization to contribute in planning a measurement program has been developed. The iterations showed that the approach of elicitation may not be too structured (e.g. template/notation based), but rather shall support the stakeholders to express their thoughts relatively freely. Hence, the end-result was an interview guide, not based on notations (as in the first iteration), and asking questions in a way that the interviewees are able to express themselves easily without having to e.g. distinguish definitions for goals and strategies.

We conclude that the GSE approach is a strong tool for the software organization to be able to elicit the goals and strategies to support GQM+Strategies. GSE approach evolved in each iteration and the latest iteration together with the guideline is still used within the studied company for eliciting goals and strategies, and the organization acknowledged that they will continue to do so. Moreover, we conclude that there is a need for further empirical validation of the GSE approach in further full-scale industry trials.
Source: Blekinge Institute of Technology
Author: Asghari, Negin

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