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Goal Question Metric (GQM) Paradigm
Illustration of the goal–question–metric (GQM) paradigm

GQM, the initialism for goal, question, metric, is an established goal-oriented approach to software metrics to improve and measure software quality.[1]


GQM has been promoted by Victor Basili of the University of Maryland, College Park and the Software Engineering Laboratory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center[2] after supervising a Ph.D. thesis by Dr. David M. Weiss.[3] Dr. Weiss' work was inspired by the work of Albert Endres at IBM Germany.[4][5][6]


GQM defines a measurement model on three levels:[7]

1. Conceptual level (Goal)
A goal is defined for an object, for a variety of reasons, with respect to various models of quality, from various points of view and relative to a particular environment.
2. Operational level (Question)
A set of questions is used to define models of the object of study and then focuses on that object to characterize the assessment or achievement of a specific goal.
3. Quantitative level (Metric)[8]
A set of metrics, based on the models, is associated with every question in order to answer it in a measurable way.

GQM stepwise

Another interpretation of the procedure is:[9]

  1. Planning
  2. Definition
  3. Data collection
  4. Interpretation


Sub-steps are needed for each phases. To complete the definition phase, an eleven-step procedure is proposed:[9]

  1. Define measurement goals
  2. Review or produce software process models
  3. Conduct GQM interviews
  4. Define questions and hypotheses
  5. Review questions and hypotheses
  6. Define metrics
  7. Check metrics on consistency and completeness
  8. Produce GQM plan
  9. Produce measurement plan
  10. Produce analysis plan
  11. Review plans

Recent developments

The GQM+Strategies approach was developed by Victor Basili and a group of researchers from the Fraunhofer Society.[10] It is based on the Goal Question Metric paradigm and adds the capability to create measurement programs that ensure alignment between business goals and strategies, software-specific goals, and measurement goals.

Novel application of GQM towards business data are described.[11] Specifically in the software engineering areas of Quality assurance and Testing, GQM is used.[12]

Further reading

See also


  1. "Goal/Question/Metric (GQM) – The Making of Software" (in en-US). 
  2. "Software Engineering Division/Code 580". 
  3. Basili, V. R.; Weiss, D. M. (November 1984). "A Methodology for Collecting Valid Software Engineering Data". IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering SE-10 (6): 728–738. doi:10.1109/TSE.1984.5010301. ISSN 1939-3520. 
  4. "Homepage Albert Endres". 
  5. Endres, Albert (2003). A handbook of software and systems engineering : empirical observations, laws, and theories. H. Dieter Rombach. Harlow, England: Pearson Addison Wesley. ISBN 0-321-15420-7. OCLC 50417309. 
  6. Endres, Albert (1975-04-01). "An analysis of errors and their causes in system programs". ACM SIGPLAN Notices 10 (6): 327–336. doi:10.1145/390016.808455. ISSN 0362-1340. 
  7. Basili, V.; Caldiera, G.; Rombach, H. D. (1994). "The Goal Question Metric Approach" (in en). 
  8. Huether, Derek (2020). Metrics Cookbook. pp. 11. ISBN 9798586916082. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Solingen, Rini van (1999). The goal/question/metric method : a practical guide for quality improvement of software development. Egon Berghout. London: McGraw-Hill. ISBN 0-07-709553-7. OCLC 43551689. 
  10. Basili, V.R.; J. Heidrich; M. Lindvall; J. Münch; C.B. Seaman; M. Regardie; A. Trendowicz (2009). "Determining the impact of business strategies using principles from goal-oriented measurement". Vienna, Austria: Österreichische Computer Gesellschaft. ISBN 978-3-85403-246-5. 
  11. Southekal, Prashanth H. (2017). Data for business performance : the Goal-Question-Metric (GQM) model to transform business data into an enterprise asset. Basking Ridge, NJ. ISBN 978-1-63462-184-7. OCLC 970616125. 
  12. Witte, Frank (2018), Witte, Frank, ed., "Goal Question Metric" (in de), Metriken für das Testreporting: Analyse und Reporting für wirkungsvolles Testmanagement (Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien): pp. 145–150, doi:10.1007/978-3-658-19845-9_22, ISBN 978-3-658-19845-9,, retrieved 2021-03-18