Theses and Dissertations


Lulu He

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Carver, C. Jeffrey

Committee Member

Dampier, A. David

Committee Member

Allen, B. Edward

Committee Member

Vaughn, B. Rayford

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Computer Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Computer Science and Engineering


Software maintainability is one of the most crucial quality attributes of a software product. Software engineering researchers and practitioners have devoted considerable effort to developing “good design” methods, rules and principles to improve software maintainability. But before we can validate the effectiveness of these methods, we first need an approach to measure software maintainability. The existing maintainability measures usually have limited scope and accuracy since they either isolate the software from its environment and focus only on the technical properties of the software, or measure a confounding effect of various factors involved in the maintenance process. Furthermore, these measures are often defined and collected on a coarse-grained level and provide no insight into what makes software difficult to change. This research addresses the problems associated with software maintainability measurement by adapting the concepts of task complexity from the human behavior domain to the software engineering domain. This dissertation involves developing and validating a measurement model for measuring the maintainability of software, to provide a better understanding of the difficulty in modifying software and the effect of software design methods on software maintainability. A measurement protocol and a tool have been developed to support the application of the measurement method.



measurement||maintainability||task complexity