Software evaluation is discussed within the context of RAND's experience in evaluating its computer system. Software has become more significant because of increased dependence on it for system operation and performance. At the same time, it has become more difficult to evaluate because of increased complexity, greater flexibility and functional capability, and sheer size. Any organization, undertaking an evaluation of its system, must consider two major areas: functional capabilities and performance based on the organization's requirements and goals. At RAND, workload and capacity requirements, desired throughput and accessibility, and cost constraints were used to determine an acceptable cost/performance range. Estimating software performance is the weakest link in an evaluation. If an organization's output is largely dependent on accurate performance prediction, it must select only from systems with working software. 12 pp.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.
Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/principles.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.