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Building Software Teams by Zeeger Lubsen, Gijs Wijnholds, Sylvan Rigal, Joost Visser

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Chapter 2. Derive Metrics from Your Measurement Goals

Only good questions deserve good answers.

Oscar Wilde

Best Practice:

  • Apply the Goal-Question-Metric approach to determine meaningful metrics for achieving your goals.

  • Make the assumptions behind your metrics explicit and avoid common metric pitfalls.

  • This helps to manage the development process and improves the quality of its outcomes.

Every development process is aimed at gradual improvement, of the process as well as the product delivered. In order to determine progress, all kinds of measurements and metrics can be used, but not all measurements and metrics are meaningful in the specific context of an organization.

The Goal-Question-Metric approach (hereafter GQM) provides a simple structure for arriving at the right measurements for your context. These measurements allow you to manage the development process by assessing its status and progress, and to know when your goals are reached.

The GQM approach is a simple top-down approach: we start with goals, then questions that need answering to determine whether goals are being met, and metrics that can help answer these questions. So there might be one goal with multiple questions with which each question has multiple metrics to answer. The GQM idea itself is very simple. GQM’s purpose is to keep questioning whether you are coming closer to your goals.

Motivation

On the face of it, GQM looks rather trivial. Of course metrics should answer the right questions. Using ...

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