MSR 2011
Conference paper

Improving efficiency in software maintenance

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Efficiency is critical to the profitability of software maintenance and support organizations. Managing such organizations effectively requires suitable measures of efficiency that are sensitive enough to detect significant changes, and accurate and timely in detecting them. Mean time to close problem reports is the most commonly used efficiency measure, but its suitability has not been evaluated carefully. We performed such an evaluation by mining and analyzing many years of support data on multiple IBM products. Our preliminary results suggest that the mean is less sensitive and accurate than another measure, percentiles, in cases that are particularly important in the maintenance and support domain. Using percentiles, we also identified statistical techniques to detect efficiency trends and evaluated their accuracy. Although preliminary, these results may have significant ramifications for effectively measuring and improving software maintenance and support processes. © 2011 ACM.