Software glitches aren’t really news but now we’re seeing software flaws that can cost an organization over $100 million due to poor code quality. This past year we’ve seen major technical and retail brands suffer extensive financial and reputational damage from software disasters – driving software issues out of the back office and into the boardroom.
Dr. Bill Curtis, senior vice president and chief scientist at CAST, and Executive Director of the Consortium for IT Software Quality (CISQ) recently spoke to SD Times about the current state of software quality, and the internationally accepted standards that are revolutionizing how the world builds quality software. “The industry needs standard, low cost, automated measures for evaluating software size and structural quality that can be used in controlling the quality, cost and risk of software that is produce either internally or by third parties such as outsourcers.” – Dr. Bill Curtis
The specifications Bill discusses are the CISQ Automated Function Point sizing standard (AFP), and the CISQ Software Quality Standard. They are aimed at standardizing measurements for size, automated function points, reliability, security, performance efficiency, and maintainability.
Using architectural and structural analysis tools in accordance with the CISQ standards, Bill explained how executives and application owners could use this insight to identify which of the applications present the greatest risk to their business or involve the highest cost of ownership. These measures can also be used externally to benchmark service level agreements in their outsourcer agreements with greater accuracy.
But the hunt for improved software and code quality doesn’t end with standards. In the short term, CISQ hopes to raise awareness about the risk and cost of structurally weak applications as opposed to the functional weaknesses that dominate quality assurance. Down the road, their aim is to lower the cost and risk of IT to society. This relies on the broad adoption of the CISQ standards across the industry. But if the rapid adoption of CISQ’s automate function point standard is any indication, Curtis expects a sharp rise in the adoption of their quality characteristics standards, which are still in the approval process.