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HCI, Tech

Response to [The Goal Question …] by Basili et al.


This paper introduces the Goal Question Metric approach to define and evaluate ‘operational and measurable software’. The approach consists of a 3-step top-down approach: starting with defining the GOAL based on the object of study and the purpose, issue and viewpoint relating to it; followed up one needs to come up with QUESTIONs related to the GOAL, either related to the object or the attributes of the object; finally METRICs are needed to answer those QUESTIONs, including data collection methods.


1. Presentation of the Goal Question Metric

  • Conceptual level (GOAL): a goal is ultimately defined for an object, but taking into account the purpose (e.g. Improve…), issue (e.g. … the timeliness of…) and viewpoint (e.g. from a PM’s point of view)
  • Operational level (QUESTION): a set of questions is used to characterize the way the assessment/achievement of a specific goal is going to be performed based on some characterizing model.
  • Quantitative level (METRIC): a set of data is associated with every question in order to answer it in a quantitative way.

2. The sources of developing a goal

  • The policy and strategy of the organization that applies the GQM approach;
  • The description of the process and products;
  • The model of the organization (viewpoint coordinate)

3. Three groups of questions

  • How can we characterize the object with respect to the overall goal of the specific GQM model?
  • How can we characterize the attributes of the object that are relevant with respect to the issue of the specific GQM model?
  • How can we evaluate the attributes of the object that are relevant with respect to the issue of the specific GQM model?

4. Some factors for execution

  • Maximize the use of existing data sources
  • Apply objective measures to more mature measurement objects and more subjective evaluations with unstable objects
  • Learning process?


1. Effective measurement should be:

  • focused on specific goals;
  • applied to all life-cycle products, processes and resources;
  • interpreted based on characterization and understanding of the organizational context, environment and goals.

In designing any interview/survey, we can examine our question design considering these three MUSTs.

2. The same metric can correspond to different goals/questions so it needs to be defined in a more fine-grained manner.

3. To make use of the three groups of questions, one can brainstorm questions first and then see how they fit in groups.


About Xiang 'Anthony' Chen

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