The use of Software Quality Metrics in Software Maintenance


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Department of Computer Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University


This paper reports on a modest study which relates seven different software complexity metrics to the experience of maintenance activities performed on a medium size sofhvare system. Three different versions of the system that evolved over aperiod of three years were analyzed in this study. A major revision of the system, while still in its design phase, was also analyzed. The results of this study indicate: (1) that the growth in system complexity as determined by the software metrics agree with the general character of the maintenance tasks performed in successive versions; (2) the metrics were able to identify the improper integration of functional enhancements made to the system.; (3) the complexity values of the system components as indicated by the memcs conform well to an understanding of the system by people familiar with the system.; (4) an analysis of the redesigned version of the system showed the usefulness of software metrics in the (re)design phase by revealing a poorly sstructured component of the system This work was supported, in part, by grants from the National Science Foundation (MCS-8103707, DCR-8207110, DCR-8418257).