Identifying key testing metrics
A wise person once said, “Whatever you do, keep measuring it. Because if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” This precept appears to be universally applicable to everything with an end-goal, be it weight loss, your golf game or business in general. In the context of software testing, metrics define the quality and effectiveness of your development and testing process. Software testing metrics enable teams to keep track of the quality at every stage in the lifecycle and also offer insight that helps to control errors and improve the quality incrementally.
The importance of metrics becomes more pronounced in the context of Agile and DevOps approach, where the focus is on continuous delivery and continuous improvement. The constant battle of tight deadlines, limited resources, and collaboration among distributed teams have made test management more challenging.
Testing metrics are thus critical to evaluate the effectiveness of the testing process. The numbers and analysis provide great value when taken as the big picture as they paint the general trends for projects and reveal insights on how to improve the workflow for better results. What are some key indicators that help you decide the effectiveness of your software testing process?
KPIs for tracking software quality
- Test Coverage: Test Coverage or code coverage seems to the most unanimously used KPI for test managers. It measures the amount of testing performed by a test set by comparing the number of successful tests to the total number of tests. The test coverage method helps developers and project managers decide if the broader aspects of the software have been covered and tested, providing them with the confidence to move ahead.
- Progress: There are several parameters that help identify the progress of testing against the ideal/successful criteria. The progress is measured iteratively and evaluates aspects like time taken to fix defects, time taken to test etc.
- Defect removal efficiency: The purpose of all testing and QA is to enhance the quality and therefore it is also important to measure the efficacy of resolving the defects that are found. Managers need to take stock of total number of defects in the final product vis-à-vis the number reported originally by testers. This metric is also important to gain insight into the overall software quality.
But these KPIs are a general guideline of some ways to measure the efficiency of your QA process and efforts. Each organization and their project teams also use tailor-made and customized reporting to draw several types of reports and analytics to make informed decisions and improve their overall team efforts.
Not surprisingly, one key criterion for a modern test management tool is custom dashboards, and tailor-made, real-time reporting and analytics with advanced querying. Ultimately, the aim for all tools, their bells and whistles, metrics and numbers is continuous improvement. Also, keeping a close watch on the state of software testing and development. Keep measuring and keep on improving.