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Cyclomatic complexity density and software maintenance productivity

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2 Author(s)
Gill, G.K. ; Sloan Sch. of Manage., MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA ; Kemerer, C.F.

A study of the relationship between the cyclomatic complexity metric (T. McCabe, 1976) and software maintenance productivity, given that a metric that measures complexity should prove to be a useful predictor of maintenance costs, is reported. The cyclomatic complexity metric is a measure of the maximum number of linearly independent circuits in a program control graph. The current research validates previously raised concerns about the metric on a new data set. However, a simple transformation of the metric is investigated whereby the cyclomatic complexity is divided by the size of the system in source statements. thereby determining a complexity density ratio. This complexity density ratio is demonstrated to be a useful predictor of software maintenance productivity on a small pilot sample of maintenance projects

Published in:

Software Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 12 )

Date of Publication:

Dec 1991

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