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Author Gibson, Virginia R. ♦ Senn, James A.
Source ACM Digital Library
Content type Text
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
File Format PDF
Language English
Abstract An experiment is designed to investigate the relationship between system structure and maintainability. An old, ill-structured system is improved in two sequential stages, yielding three system versions for the study. The primary objectives of the research are to determine how or whether the differences in the systems influence maintenance performance; whether the differences are discernible to programmers; and whether the differences are measurable. Experienced programmers perform a portfolio of maintenance tasks on the systems. Results indicate that system improvements lead to decreased total maintenance time and decreased frequency of ripple effect errors. This suggests that improving old systems may be worthwhile and may yield benefits over the remaining life of the system. System differences are not discernible to programmers; apparently programmers are unable to separate the complexity of the systems from the complexity of the maintenance tasks. This finding suggests a need for further research on the efficacy of subjectively based software metrics. Finally, results indicate that a selected set of automatable, objective complexity metrics reflected both the improvements in the system and programmer maintenance performance. These metrics appear to offer potential as project management tools.
Description Affiliation: Univ. of Maine, Orono (Gibson, Virginia R.) || Georgia State Univ., Univ. Plaza, Atlanta (Senn, James A.)
Age Range 18 to 22 years ♦ above 22 year
Educational Use Research
Education Level UG and PG
Learning Resource Type Article
Publisher Date 2005-08-01
Publisher Place New York
Journal Communications of the ACM (CACM)
Volume Number 32
Issue Number 3
Page Count 12
Starting Page 347
Ending Page 358


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Source: ACM Digital Library