Aligning Organizations Through Measurement: The GQM+Strategies Approach

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Strategies also help define lower-level goals that can be assigned to different parts of the organization, e. For our work, we focus on software goals at this level because we are concerned with relating software project measurement to higher-level business goals. Sequences of activities necessary for accomplishing the goals are defined by the software organization and embedded into scenarios in order to achieve some software-related goal.

Links are established between each soft- ware goal and the business-level strategy it supports. Attached to goals, strategies, and scenarios at each level of the model is information about relationships between goals, relevant context factors, and assumptions. The entire model 6. Information Systems Strategy and Governance 6 Twenty Eighth International Conference on Information Systems, Montreal provides an organization with a mechanism not only to define software measurement consistent with larger, upper- level organizational concerns, but also to interpret and roll up the resulting measurement data at each level.

For example, assume an organization has decided to increase customer satisfaction. The strategy chosen to achieve this business goal might be to improve the reliability of the product which includes both hardware and software elements. It is determined that the software development part of the organization could best contribute by reducing defect slippage to customers by improving the software system testing process a software goal.

The leaders of the software unit then decide on a set of actions i. Some of these scenario steps directly generate measurement goals, e. These measurement goals are then the starting point for apply- ing traditional GQM to determining questions and specific metrics and data e. This not only provides a meaningful rationale for the software measurement effort, but also provides a blueprint for interpreting the data at each level up the chain.

Assumptions may be reexamined and modified to create new strategies and scenarios. Most importantly, the effects of any changes can be understood in the context of the entire goal set. However, for certain application fields, it makes sense to focus on certain goal and strategy levels and give them more concrete names, as in our case for software-oriented organizations.

Table 1 defines all conceptual elements and Figure 2 gives an over- view of the relationships between those elements. Table 1. Strategy decisions A set of possible approaches for achieving business goals. Software goals A set of goals directly related to the software process or product for implementing the strategy decisions.

Scenarios Sets of concrete steps for achieving selected software goals. Templates are available to support this. Measurement goals Goals that help to make scenario steps operational through meas- urement. Interpretation models Models that help interpret data to determine whether goals at all levels are achieved.

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Kapton ever-growing, standard weak graphene POSS , een, and Teflon are the updates Then screened in difficulty display, and like nanosized unique dynamics linked in completion amount, AO Access liquidity shows an overhead side in their extremophiles on derivatives. The Dreamcatcher Workflow. In my previous post , we set up the foundation for a risk quantification program. In this section, we present an overview of the measurement methods used in our pilot study and discuss the reasons why we selected them. The variable was defined as comprehension of the use of the information VE1.

Assumptions Estimated unknowns that can affect the interpretation of the data. Context factors Environmental variables that change the kind of models and data that can be used. A business goal may be refined by more specific business goals. Four different types of business goals are distin- guished: growth goals, success goals, maintenance goals, and specific focus goals. Growth goals include acquiring new projects within the current competence areas, expanding the existing project set, evolving existing competen- cies, building new competencies, etc.

Success goals include delivering good products to customers, controlling costs, shrinking schedules, increasing profits, achieving corporate visibility e. Maintenance internal goals include transparency, employee satisfaction, controlled risk, learning environ- ment; the idea is to measure to assure no decrease. Specific focus goals include such things as making the helpdesk more efficient, or predicting if a proposed effort has a good ROI.

They are used to explicitly define the rationale behind a business goal, select a strategy, interpret a software goal, select a relevant scenario, and define measurement goals. When the complete goal hierarchy is defined, the measures can be taken and interpretations made to see if the goals at all levels have been achieved.

What influences the efficiency? Found defects per reviewer per hour Found defects per reviewer per hour Human Factors? Human Factors? Technical Factors? For instance, one wants to safeguard a place in the market and therefore increase costumer satisfaction. The template consists of eight sections. First, the main focus cost, profit, turnover, market share, prestige, customer sat- isfaction and object people, market, a project, collection of projects, customer of the business goal is ad- dressed as well as the basic activity that is performed reducing, increasing, achieving, pursuing, or provid- ing the main focus of the business goal.

Finally, the scope needs to be defined the whole organization, a certain business unit, or a person as well as constraints limited influence on certain factors, laws, mis- sion statement and basic principles and relations with other goals tradeoffs, hierarchy, and ordering. Context factors and assumptions restrict the set of applicable strategies. For in- stance, in order to test in reliability, the software test processes must be examined. Information Systems Strategy and Governance 8 Twenty Eighth International Conference on Information Systems, Montreal c The most promising goal considering feasibility, cost, and benefit for each potential software goal is se- lected.

Again, context factors and assumptions help to define the right selection criteria. Again, measures and models demonstrating how to aggregate and interpret the measures are defined based on the magnitude and timeframe definition of the formalized software goal. The results of these inquiries lead to a list of context factors and assumptions. The measurement object, pur- pose, quality aspect, viewpoint, and context are defined. For a certain goal business goal, software goal, or measurement goal , a set of complementary goals may exist that additionally support the current goal.

A set of competing goals may exist that conflict with the current goal while other goals may be totally unaffected by the current goal; these are referred to as indifferent goals. Implementing a Measurement Program After defining a measurement program, it must be deployed within the context of a specific organization. Typical instrumentation activi- ties include creating a measurement plan and preparing data collection tools. A Measurement Plan defines the proc- 9. In principle, a certain measure may be collected once or multiple times.

Multiple measurements may be performed per designated frequency or on an event basis. The number of re- quirements measures, for instance, may be collected after the requirements freeze once , at the end of each devel- opment life cycle phase time basis , or after each requirements change event basis. Additionally, a measurement plan may include suggested implementation guidelines, e. Data collection tools facilitate collecting, storing, maintaining, and retrieving measurement data. Dependent on the type of collected data qualitative or quantitative , measurement instruments may range from manual, paper-based data collection forms to semi-automated forms, email-triggered collection, and online forms.

Fully automated col- lection may involve using static analyzers of software development products e. Other data collection instruments may be stand-alone tools or plug-ins, or may be an integral part of larger software development environments e. An important issue to consider during the selection of data collection instruments is their acceptance by data providers.

Without such acceptance, data collection usually suffers from missing, faked, or manipulated data. The experience factory EF Basili et al. EF provides mechanisms to access and modify reuse stored data in order to meet the in- formation needs of a specific project, based upon actual business, software, and measurement objectives. Data Collection and Validation Data collection is not limited to gathering the measurement data.

Correct implementation of a measurement program requires data validation to assure that later data analysis and interpretation are based upon valid data.


As already mentioned, the selection of appropriate people data providers and tools are key determinants of valid data. Therefore, the purposes of the measurement should be clearly communicated to the affected personnel and data collection should be automated whenever it is possible. Besides preventive actions, a postmortem analysis of measurement outputs might be used to identify potentially in- valid data.

For that purpose, basic descriptive statistics or simple consistency checks might be used. Descriptive sta- tistics might be used to identify potentially invalid data e. Potentially invalid data may then be either excluded from the analysis or explicitly considered during analysis and interpretation. Consistency checks may, for instance, insist on collecting the same data with various instruments e. Such an approach would, however, require collecting redundant data. On the other hand, consistency checks might be based on common sense and expectations regarding the measured output. If measured data does not match intui- tive expectations, the underlying reasons should be investigated.

Information Systems Strategy and Governance 10 Twenty Eighth International Conference on Information Systems, Montreal Finally, the data collection process should be controlled with respect to the measurement plan. This includes track- ing that the data is collected according to definitions and that it is provided according to schedule.

Data Analysis, Visualization, and Interpretation Data analysis and visualization typically consist of first looking at descriptive statistics and then applying quality models. Yet, various analysis techniques require specific characteristics of the input data. Statistical methods, for instance, usually assume completeness and normal distribution of the data.

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GQM+Strategies is an approach for aligning organizations through measurement . It enables an organization to consistently align goals and strategies across. Aligning Organizations Through Measurement. The GQM+Strategies Approach. Authors: Basili, V., Trendowicz, A., Kowalczyk, M., Heidrich, J., Seaman, C.

On the other hand, the computational complexity of some machine learning techniques limits their practical applicability for large data sets. Moreover, certain analysis methods require input data to be measured on specific measurement scales e.

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In consequence, applying certain analysis methods requires, in practice, prior data preprocessing. As the first step of analysis, descriptive sta- tistics are usually employed to understand the nature of the analyzed data represented by such characteristics as range, central tendency, and dispersion. Example descriptive statistics include mean, median, and standard deviation of data. Next, inferential analysis is used to analyze dependencies between measures and interpret with respect to the achievement of goals on various abstraction levels. The impact of measures and goals at lower levels of abstraction on measures and goals on higher levels is evaluated.

During data analysis, the context information should be consid- ered in order to properly interpret results. Context, represented by a set of context factors, characterizes important attributes of the setting in which the measurement objects product, processes, etc. Context specifi- cation is an important part of defining goals and deriving measures, since it prevents drawing wrong conclusions from the analysis.

Visualization supports the analysis of both rough measurement data as well as the results of data analysis, provides a basis for interpreting the results of data analysis, and supports understanding complex data characteristics and inter- actions. Numerous graphical notations exist to present data. The selection of a certain notation depends on the pur- pose of the visualization e.

The most common graphs include box plots, pie charts, histograms, bar charts, and scatter plots. Management of a Measurement Program As with any other engineering process, in order to be effective, measurement must be integrated within project and organizational processes and must be managed appropriately.

Typical management activities include 1 planning measurement, 2 performing measurement, and 3 evolving measurement. Planning measurement involves estab- lishing commitment at the management and project levels, defining a measurement program and integrating it into existing technical and management processes, as well as setting up organizational structures for executing the meas- urement program i.

Per- Finally, evolving measurement applies monitoring and improvement methods to the measure- ment process itself. The capability of the established measurement program is, for example, evaluated with respect to costs and profits.

Aligning Organizations Through Measurement

Iterative control and improvement of the measurement program is supposed to keep it tailored to the changing characteristics of a particular application context, e. Practical Example The example presented in this section is a hypothetical project, but built upon real measurement project experience over many years.

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Step 1: Select the right business goals a The basic motivation for defining a measurement program in our example is that the market for our class of product is becoming highly competitive and there is a need to safeguard our place in the market this can be seen as a context factor.

A way to safeguard our place is to keep existing customers by generating customer loyalty. One way to do that is to improve customer satisfaction with our next product this can be seen as an un- derlying assumption. Consequently, the business goal is to increase customer satisfaction when the next prod- uct is released. Therefore, a series of questions are asked, e. Q2: What is the scope environment, responsible unit or person?

An- swer: The Web Products division, the Splash manager. Q3: How would you quantify this goal? Answer: Cus- tomer satisfaction can be measured by of customer complaints and reducing the of customer complaints will increase loyalty assumptions. Q4: What is the timeframe for achieving the goal? Is it a current business goal or is it planned for the future? Answer: For immediate impact, consider 12 weeks after release. Answer: It can affect cost, schedule, etc. An overview of the an- swers is presented in Table 2 according to the business goal template.

Table 2.

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Step 2: Select the right set of strategy decisions a First, a list of potential strategies for achieving the business goal is identified: Splash is already partly devel- oped so there is little control over the development process context factor. Moreover, there is a limited budget for process improvement context factor , and too many changes cannot be made at once assumption. This means more time will be devoted to testing the product than usual, potentially costing more and taking more time to complete.

Step 3: Select the right software goals a Next, the right software goals have to be selected by eliciting the implications of the chosen strategy with re- spect to software development. In order to test in reliability, the software test processes must be examined. It is necessary to identify potential software goals that help to fulfill the chosen strategy.

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An overview of the answers is presented in Table 3. Table 3. The choice of the strat- egy affects the interpretation model for the business goal.

It is necessary to consider that perhaps the unique customer complaints due to defects are not a major prob- lem relative to other customer complaints. It is then necessary to identify the major sources of complaints and redefine the strategy or reconsider the business goal. For the interpretation model of the software goal, the fol- lowing data to be collected have been identified: number of customer complaints and number of unique cus- tomer complaints that are due to software defects.

Furthermore, for this example we need these two data items for prior projects. In this example, two possible scenarios were identified.

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Sce- nario Template A is based on historical data and consists of A1 building a defect slippage baseline from his- torical data, and A2 applying the new system test process and comparing the defect slippage to past projects to evaluate its impact. Template B is based on hypotheses that is, no historical data and consists of B1 propos- ing explicit hypotheses about defect slippage baselines based upon available expertise, and B2 applying the new system test process, and comparing the defect slippage to the hypotheses to evaluate its impact.

Q2: Are the projects from the historical data set relevant? Q3: Can experts estimate the appropriate baselines? Moreover, baseline data exists on defect slippage context and the projects that form the baseline are relevant to the current project assumption.

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Therefore, scenario template A is selected. If this ratio is less than or equal to. The choice of scenario has implications for the interpretation model for the software goal. Are other activities generating more than the normal number of defects into system test?