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Naresh Jain's Random Thoughts on Software Development and Adventure Sports
     
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Is Code Coverage, Cyclomatic Complexity or Defect Density a good Measure of Quality?

In Software, Quality is one of those badly abused term, which is getting harder and harder to define what it really means. I think we have a sense of quality. When we see something in a specific context, we can say its high quality or low quality, but its hard to define (and hence measure) what absolute quality really is.

You can measure somethings about quality, but don’t fool yourself to believe that IS quality.

Quality is subjective, relative and contextual.

Some might say things like code coverage, cyclomatic complexity and defect density is a good measure of quality. I would argue that those are attributes/aspects of quality, but not quality itself (symptoms not the disease itself.) Its a classic case of Fundamental Attribution Error. (If you go to France and see the first 50 Frenchmen wear glasses, you cannot conclude all Frenchmen wear glasses. Nor can you conclude that, if I wear glasses I’ll also be French.)

BTW people already differentiate between Internal/Intrinsic Quality and External/Extrinsic Quality. This is not enough to complicate things, evangelists would like to further slice and dice quality along different parameters (structural, functional, UX, etc.)

Some anecdotes:


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