# Tuesday, 09 March 2010

Translating Software Maintainability Metrics into dollars

Nowadays there are a variety of tools and services available that provide insight into the quality of the code. In order to quantify quality a number of metrics are collected and used to create a maintainability index number. Visual Studio Team System gathers metrics to put a number on the quality of your code. While Omnext offers code is a company which offers services around providing insight into the functioning, quality, and size of software. Now what to do once you have a number? What does it really mean, other than wanting to be good and not score low on a report?

I offer a basic solution:

A project which scores high on maintainability can be maintained by junior to medior skilled developers.
A project that scores low requires senior developers to maintain the application and effectively do what a junior could do on a better code base.

This leads to a simple mathematical deduction.

A senior developer costs 30% to 40% more than a junior. Therefore a bad system will cost 30% to 40% more to maintain than a good system. Of course the increase is not quite linear so if we put it on a sliding scale/table we get:

Maintainability Index

Increase in maintenance cost

0

n/a

10

n/a

20

60%

30

40%

40

30%

50

22.5%

60

15%

70

10%

80

5%

90

2.5%

100

0%

 

image

 

Feel free to refer to this as the Blomsma Code Metrics Cost Factor.
:-)

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