CISQ Produces Standard for Measuring Technical Debt
For the first time, Technical Debt measurement becomes common currency for developers and tech managers
Needham, MA – January 2, 2018 – The Consortium for IT Software Quality™ (CISQ™) today announced that its Automated Technical Debt Measure has been approved as a software measurement standard by the Object Management Group® (OMG®), a not-for-profit technology standards consortium with nearly 30 years of history developing IT-related standards. CISQ, a consortium initiated by OMG and the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, is chartered to create specifications for automating the measurement of software size and structural quality. Today’s announcement is the first standard for estimating future corrective maintenance efforts to remedy structural defects in code.
The Automated Technical Debt Measure estimates the effort required to fix critical weaknesses in software code and architecture that are included in the four OMG standards for measuring the security, reliability, performance efficiency, and maintainability of source code. Criticality is determined by the risk and cost to the business. The weaknesses are detected through static analysis, and an algorithm determines the repair effort based on estimates collected from professional developers and an assessment of the complexity of the surrounding code. Corrective maintenance costs can then be estimated by converting the repair effort into the preferred currency.
Technical Debt is a metaphor referring to the cost to repair structural quality problems remaining in production code. The cost to fix structural quality problems constitutes the principal of the debt, while the inefficiencies they cause until fixed, such as greater maintenance effort or excessive computing resources, represent compounding interest on the debt. Technical Debt can occur for many reasons: compromises made by technical teams to deliver applications faster; under-scoped initial requirements; inadequate time to refactor code; or inexperience with the architecture or application domain.
According to CISQ Executive Director, Dr. Bill Curtis, “Technical Debt saps IT budgets, hinders innovation, and leaves organizations vulnerable to digital disasters. Today’s announcement presents a standardized method for measuring the financial impact of structural weaknesses remaining in code at release. It expresses the cost of software quality in terms the business can understand, including the liabilities incurred if a weakness triggers a disastrous incident or the opportunity cost of having to fix weaknesses rather than develop innovative functionality.”
OMG Chairman and CEO, Dr. Richard Soley said, “CISQ is leading the way to establish a common standard to help businesses manage the risk posture of their software systems in financial terms, which is a major reason why OMG sponsored the CISQ measures. The Automated Technical Debt Measure standard is the first of its kind to help businesses estimate corrective maintenance costs, allocate repair effort, address potential trouble areas, and/or decide to replace an application due to excessive Technical Debt.”
Dr. Curtis will present a webinar on January 16, 2018 from 11:00 am – 11:30 am ET to introduce the standard and show businesses how they can calculate their Technical Debt.
The Consortium for IT Software Quality™ (CISQ™) is an IT industry leadership group comprised of IT executives from the Global 2000, system integrators, outsourced service providers, and software technology vendors committed to introduce a computable metrics standard for measuring software quality and size. Founded by the Object Management Group (OMG) and the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon, CISQ is a neutral, open forum in which customers and suppliers of IT application software can develop an industry-wide agenda of actions for improving IT application quality and reduce cost and risk. CISQ is sponsored by Accenture, Atos, CAST, Huawei, and WIPRO.
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