Monitoring Evolution of Code Complexity and Magnitude of Changes
Journal article, 2014

Background: Complexity management has become a crucial activity in continuous software development. While the overall perceived complexity of a product grows rather insignificantly, the small units, such as functions and files, can have noticeable complexity growth with every increment of product features. This kind of evolution triggers risks of escalating fault-proneness and deteriorating maintainability. Goal: The goal of this research was to develop a measurement system which enables effective monitoring of complexity evolution. Method: An action research has been conducted in two large software development organiza-tions. We have measured three complexity and two change properties of code for two large industrial products. The complexity growth has been measured for five consecutive releases of products. Different patterns of growth have been identified and evaluated with software engi-neers in industry. Results: The results show that monitoring cyclomatic complexity evolution of functions and number of revisions of files focuses the attention of designers to potentially problematic files and functions for manual assessment and improvement. A measurement system was developed at Ericsson to support the monitoring process.

software engineering metrics


Vard Antinyan

University of Gothenburg

Miroslaw Staron

University of Gothenburg

Anders Henriksson

Wilhelm Meding

Software Center

Per Österström

Jörgen Hansson

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Software Engineering (Chalmers)

Acta Cybernetica

0324-721X (ISSN)

Vol. 21 3 367-382

Subject Categories

Computer and Information Science

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