Using Software Measurement in SLAs: Integrating CISQ Size and Structural Quality Measures into Contractual Relationships

Authors: Dr. Bill Curtis, CISQ; David Herron, David Consulting Group; Jitendra Subramanyam, Hackett Group

As more critical business functions within an organization are automated, IT is under increasing pressure to govern the quality of software received from suppliers, whether they are vendors, outsourcers, or system integrators while at the same time reducing cost. Better governance requires better measurement of application size, stability and quality in all of its manifestations—functional, non-functional or structural, and behavioral. These measures are being incorporated into contracts as the equivalent of Service Level Agreements (SLAs), targets that suppliers must achieve to avoid penalties. In some cases, these SLAs involve productivity targets measured by the amount of business functionality delivered compared to the effort expended. In other cases, they involve targets for the structural attributes of an application such as security or maintainability.