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Re: Software Metrics (cat flame > /dev/null)

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by Dave Nadler, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. Dave Nadler

    Dave Nadler Guest

    Many decades ago I worked for a well-known company
    that made testers. They had a nice bonus for the
    engineer that designed the board with the fewest
    field failures. The engineers regularly fought hard
    to design a memory board, which was a shoe-in to
    win the prize (compared to the tough analog front-
    ends exposed to regular customer abuse).

    They also didn't count labor hours in the metrics
    for board cost. That led them to take out of
    production a UART board using an *expensive*
    crystal and reintroduce its predecessor, which
    had hand-tweaked-and-soldered RC frequency
    generation. They also discontinued a subsystem
    using ribbon cables to reintroduce hand-soldered
    cable bundles because it was *clearly* less expensive.
    BTW, labor was even expensive in USA back then.

    I could go on for hours...

    Most metrics used don't reflect what most of
    us would consider reality. Software metrics in
    use today lead to outcomes just as silly as
    those listed above...

    Hope this was entertaining and maybe even helpful,
    Best Regards, Dave
    Dave Nadler, Jul 15, 2011
    #1
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  2. Dave Nadler

    Don Y Guest

    Hi Dave,

    On 7/15/2011 12:45 PM, Dave Nadler wrote:
    > Many decades ago I worked for a well-known company
    > that made testers. They had a nice bonus for the
    > engineer that designed the board with the fewest
    > field failures. The engineers regularly fought hard
    > to design a memory board, which was a shoe-in to
    > win the prize (compared to the tough analog front-
    > ends exposed to regular customer abuse).


    Presumably, this was for semiconductor memory (and not
    core planes :> )...

    > They also didn't count labor hours in the metrics
    > for board cost. That led them to take out of
    > production a UART board using an *expensive*
    > crystal and reintroduce its predecessor, which
    > had hand-tweaked-and-soldered RC frequency
    > generation. They also discontinued a subsystem
    > using ribbon cables to reintroduce hand-soldered
    > cable bundles because it was *clearly* less expensive.
    > BTW, labor was even expensive in USA back then.


    I don't understand. Are there two different criteria at
    play, here (cost and failure rate)?

    > I could go on for hours...
    >
    > Most metrics used don't reflect what most of
    > us would consider reality. Software metrics in
    > use today lead to outcomes just as silly as
    > those listed above...


    But that, I think, is because the metrics are being used
    for "business purposes" (cost accounting, etc.).

    E.g., I just coded a "unified memory manager" to replace
    the various different *types* of memory management
    mechanisms used in many embedded systems. Once I've
    given it a thorough shake-down in an application, I
    will go back and write comparable "traditional" tools
    to provide the same functionality. *Then*, I will
    see what their "metrics" look like to help me evaluate
    the utility (or disutility?) of this new approach.

    I.e., if the new approach is *conceptually* more complicated
    but "metrically" simpler/smaller/etc., then that speaks to
    reliability, maintainability, etc. in a way more readily
    defensible than some emotional "hand-waving".

    > Hope this was entertaining and maybe even helpful,


    Someday, someone will collect, catalog and publish all
    these anecdotes so we can relive the chuckles in our
    "declining years" :>
    Don Y, Jul 15, 2011
    #2
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