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Support planning and controlling of early quality assurance by combining expert judgment and defect data - a case study

: Kläs, Michael; Nakao, Haruka; Elberzhager, Frank; Münch, Jürgen


Empirical Software Engineering 15 (2010), No.4, pp.423-454
ISSN: 1382-3256
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IESE ()
software quality assurance; quality management; defect content estimation; case study; prediction model; effectiveness

Planning quality assurance (QA) activities in a systematic way and controlling their execution are challenging tasks for companies that develop software or software-intensive systems. Both require estimation capabilities regarding the effectiveness of the applied QA techniques and the defect content of the checked artifacts. Existing approaches for these purposes need extensive measurement data from historical projects. Due to the fact that many companies do not collect enough data for applying these approaches (especially for the early project lifecycle), they typically base their QA planning and controlling solely on expert opinion. This article presents a hybrid method combining commonly available measurement data and context-specific expert knowledge. To evaluate the method's applicability and usefulness, we conducted a case study in the context of independent verification and validation activities for critical software in the space domain. A hybrid defect content and effectiveness model was developed for the software requirements analysis phase and evaluated with available legacy data. One major result is that the hybrid model provides improved estimation accuracy when compared to applicable models based solely on data. The mean magnitude of relative error (MMRE) determined by cross-validation is 29.6% compared to 76.5% obtained by the most accurate data-based model.