Using a Lines-of-Code Metric to Understand Software Rework

Here at DCG, we are unapologetic about our advocacy of function points as the best currently available, if not ideal, way to measure the (functional) size of software for the purposes of measurement, estimation and management of software projects and applications.  That said, we often implement non-function point solutions for our clients for various reasons.  One area where I believe that a non-function point solution can be valid is in the area of software rework or maintenance.  My theoretical basis for this lies in the six sigma philosophy of "possible errors." Put simply, it seems to make sense that the number of bugs in a piece of software code could be broadly proportional to the number of opportunities there are to make mistakes which is the number of characters in the code or approximately the number of lines of code. Edmund P. Morozoff of Medtronic has written a good article in the January/February 2010 issue of IEEE Software that makes this point in more detail (and even includes a nod in the direction of function points).  In particular, the article looks at the key issue of lines of coded added, deleted or modified.

Written by Michael D. Harris at 11:45

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"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
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