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Results of an empirical study of software design practices in one specific environment are reported. The practices examined affect module size, module strength, data coupling, descendant span, unreferenced variables, and software reuse. Measures characteristic of these practices were extracted from 887 Fortran modules developed for five flight dynamics software projects monitored by the Software Engineering Laboratory. The relationship of these measures to cost and fault rate was analyzed using a contingency table procedure. The results show that some recommended design practices, despite their intuitive appeal, are ineffective in this environment, whereas others are very effective.