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Cornering the Chimera
January 1996 (vol. 13 no. 1)
pp. 33-43
Over the past decade, the term "software quality" has been widely used. In many instances the term has been loosely used in relation to process and product. This has created considerable confusion and diverted the industry from its primary goal - improving the quality of the products of the various phases of software development. While some attention has been paid to high-level quality attributes, little has been devoted to the systematic study of tangible product properties and their influence on high-level quality attributes. Today the dominant modus operandi for software development is heavily process-oriented. This rests on the widely held belief that you need a quality process to produce a quality product. The flaw in this approach is that the emphasis on process usually comes at the expense of constructing, refining, and using adequate product quality models. The fundamental axiom of software product quality is: a product's tangible internal characteristics or properties determine its external quality attributes. Developers must build these internal properties into a product in order for it to exhibit the desired external quality attributes. A product quality model, therefore, must comprehensively identify the tangible (measurable and/or assessable) internal product characteristics that have the most significant effect on external quality attributes. I suggest a framework for the construction and use of practical, testable quality models for requirements, design, and implementation. Such information may be used directly to build, compare, and assess better quality software products.
R. Geoff Dromey, "Cornering the Chimera," IEEE Software, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 33-43, Jan. 1996, doi:10.1109/52.476284
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