The Version 1-0 of the SQALE Definition Document has just been released. As announced in a previous blog entry (here), this version of the method introduces and support the new concept of “Non-Remediation Cost”. This is for quantifying what will happen if a non-conformity is not corrected.
I would like to clarify and explain what makes this concept different and powerful.
- What is important is to stop characterizing non-conformities (or whatever you call them, violations, bad practices…) on a 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 range. This practice, which comes from classic risk analysis methods, is not representative of the issue. In real life, impacts of problems are on an unlimited range. The impact may be 1 for a small problem and 100,000 or more for a “very big”one.
- If you characterize your non-conformities on a 1 to 5 or 1 to 10 range, you use an ordinal scale. This bans any aggregation by summation. SQALE, through the concept of Non-Remediation Cost, use a ratio scale, which provides a realistic and representative aggregation by summation, as we commonly do for Remediation Cost and Technical Debt.
In many cases, it will be very difficult to estimate the Non-Remediation costs in a tangible unit as hours or $. I recommend using a symbolic unit. The key point is to estimate and represent the real relative impact to the business of the different types of non-conformities.
From now, with the ability to analyze the non-conformities from a Technical and a Business perspective, you almost have the necessary information to optimize and manage your Technical Debt.