Keynote Address

The Mismeasure of Software: The Last Talk on Metrics You’ll Ever Need to Hear

It seems that most organizations have some kind of metrics program; and almost all of them are ineffective. Lee Copeland first explains the concept of “measurement” and then describes two key reasons for these almost universal failures. The first major mistake people make is forgetting that the model we are using for measurement is not necessarily reality. The second major blunder is treating ideas as if they were real things and then counting them. Lee describes the “Four Don’ts of Metrics” – don’t measure it unless you know what it means; don’t measure it if you’re not going to do something with the measurement; no matter what else you do, don’t turn your measurement into a goal; and focus your measurements on accomplishments, not effort. Over the years, Lee has discovered his favorite project indicator that is not a measurement at all. You’ll be surprised to learn what it is. In conclusion, Lee shares his Zeroth Law of Metrics to guide your program to success.

About Lee


Lee Copeland,

Consultant, Software Quality Engineering.


Lee Copeland has over thirty years’ experience as an information systems professional. He has held a number of technical and managerial positions with commercial and non-profit organizations in the areas of applications development, software testing, and software development process improvement.

As a consultant with Software Quality Engineering, Lee has developed and taught numerous training courses focusing on software development and testing based on his extensive experience. In addition, he provides consulting services to SQE’s clients.

He is a well-known and highly regarded speaker at software conferences both in the United States and internationally. He currently serves as Program Chair for the STAR testing conferences, the Better Software conferences, and the Agile Development conferences. Lee is the author of A Practitioner’s Guide to Software Test Design, a compendium of the most effective methods of test case design.