Measurement is an integral part of total quality management and process improvement strategies. This paper describes our experiences using the Goal-Question-Metric (GQM) paradigm to help design a company-wide measurement program for Engineering Ingegneria S.p.A., an Italian software house. The introduction of the measurement program was supported by the Commission of the European Communities within the European Software and Systems Initiative (ESSI) as a Process Improvement Experiment (PIE). We found it necessary to supplement GQM into two ways. Firstly, we defined our measures rigorously in terms of entities, attributes, units and counting rules. Secondly, the original GQM plan was subject to an independent review. The most critical problem identified by the review was that the GQM plan identified too many productivity factors for any statistical analysis to handle concurrently. In order to address this issue, we developed an analysis technique based on a step-wise analysis of residuals. This has allowed us to identify the main factors affecting productivity and effort. © 1997 Elsevier Science B.V.
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