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Cost/Benefit-Aspects of Software Quality Assurance

As software becomes more and more pervasive, high software quality as well as the ability to perform good software cost estimates become more and more important. It is obvious that business owners want the software to run smoothly, deliver value and obviously, they want to know what building or adapting a software system costs upfront.

This is why, in summer 2008, I took part in a seminar on software quality at the chair of Univ.-Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Manfred Broy, Technische Universität München. I did extensive research on software quality in general and wrote a paper on the Cost/Benefit aspects of Software Quality Assurance, which I want to present you. The paper points out several interesting aspects on how to optimize investments into various software quality assurance techniques and thus into software quality.

Because of the high quality of the papers written by the seminar participants, the seminar supervisors decided to officially publish the results as working paper of the Technische Universität München. You can find the link to the publication in the links-section at the end of this article.

Please feel free to share your thoughts on this paper.

Cost/Benefit-Aspects of Software Quality Assurance – Abstract:

Along with the ever more apparent importance and critically of software systems for modern societies, arises the urgent need to deal efficiently with the quality assurance of these systems. Even though the necessity of investments into software quality should not be underestimated, it seems economically unwise to invest seemingly random amounts of money into quality assurance. The precise prediction of the costs and benefits of various software quality assurance techniques within a particular project allows for economically sound decision-making.

This paper presents the cost estimation models COCOMO, its successor COCOMO II and COUALMO, which is a quality estimation model and has been derived from COCOMO II. Furthermore an analytical idealized model of defect detection techniques is presented. It provides a range of metrics: the return on investment rate (ROI) of software quality assurance for example. The method of ROI calculation is exemplified in this paper.

In conclusion an overview on the debate concerning quality and cost ascertaining in general will be given. Although today there are a number of techniques to verify the cost-effectiveness of quality assurance, the results are thus far often unsatisfactory. Since all known models make heavy use of empirically gained data, it is very important to question their results judiciously and avoid misreadings.

Download the software cost estimation and quality assurance paper:

Cost/Benefit-Aspects of Software Quality Assurance

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