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Code Red: The Business Impact of Code Quality - A Quantitative Study of 39 Proprietary Production Codebases
CodeScene, Sweden.
RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Digital Systems, Mobility and Systems.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7879-4371
2022 (English)In: Proceedings - International Conference on Technical Debt 2022, TechDebt 2022, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. , 2022, p. 11-20Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Code quality remains an abstract concept that fails to get traction at the business level. Consequently, software companies keep trading code quality for time-to-market and new features. The resulting technical debt is estimated to waste up to 42% of developers' time. At the same time, there is a global shortage of software developers, meaning that developer productivity is key to software businesses. Our overall mission is to make code quality a business concern, not just a technical aspect. Our first goal is to understand how code quality impacts 1) the number of reported defects, 2) the time to resolve issues, and 3) the predictability of resolving issues on time. We analyze 39 proprietary production codebases from a variety of domains using the CodeScene tool based on a combination of source code analysis, version-control mining, and issue information from Jira. By analyzing activity in 30,737 files, we find that low quality code contains 15 times more defects than high quality code. Furthermore, resolving issues in low quality code takes on average 124% more time in development. Finally, we report that issue reso-lutions in low quality code involve higher uncertainty manifested as 9 times longer maximum cycle times. This study provides evi-dence that code quality cannot be dismissed as a technical concern. With 15 times fewer defects, twice the development speed, and substantially more predictable issue resolution times, the business advantage of high quality code should be unmistakably clear. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. , 2022. p. 11-20
Keywords [en]
business impact, code quality, devel-oper productivity, mining software repositories, software defects, technical debt, Commerce, Defects, Low qualities, Mining software, Mining software repository, Quality codes, Software repositories, Technical debts, Productivity
National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ri:diva-59858DOI: 10.1145/3524843.3528091Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85134326173ISBN: 9781450393041 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ri-59858DiVA, id: diva2:1685218
Conference
5th International Conference on Technical Debt, TechDebt 2022, 17 May 2022 through 18 May 2022
Note

Funding text 1: Our thanks go to the CodeScene development team who supported our work and provided details on the Code Health metric. Moreover, we extend our deepest appreciation to the repository owners who let us analyze their data as part of this study.

Available from: 2022-08-02 Created: 2022-08-02 Last updated: 2022-08-09Bibliographically approved

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