The Influence of Organizational Structure On Software Quality: An Empirical Case Study

MSR-TR-2008-11 |

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Often software systems are developed by organizations consisting of many teams of individuals working together. Brooks states in the Mythical Man Month book that product quality is strongly affected by organization structure. Unfortunately there has been little empirical evidence to date to substantiate this assertion. In this paper we present a metric scheme to quantify organizational complexity, in relation to the product development process to identify if the metrics impact failure-proneness. In our case study, the organizational metrics when applied to data from Windows Vista were statistically significant predictors of failure-proneness. The precision and recall measures for identifying failure-prone binaries, using the organizational metrics, was significantly higher than using traditional metrics like churn, complexity, coverage, dependencies, and pre-release bug measures that have been used to date to predict failure-proneness. Our results provide empirical evidence that the organizational metrics are related to, and are effective predictors of failure-proneness.