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The ability to reliably predict the end quality of software under development presents a significant advantage for a development team. It provides an opportunity to address high risk components earlier in the development life cycle, when their impact is minimized. This research proposes a model that captures the evolution of the quality of a software product, and provides reliable forecasts of the end quality of the software being developed in terms of product suitability. Development team skill, software process maturity, and software problem complexity are hypothesized as driving factors of software product quality. The cause-effect relationships between these factors and the elements of software suitability are modeled using Bayesian belief networks, a machine learning method. This research presents a Bayesian network for software quality, and the techniques used to quantify the factors that influence and represent software quality. The developed model is found to be effective in predicting the end product quality of small-scale software development efforts.
Date of Conference: 15-17 Dec. 2005