As a quality assurance professional, you probably strive for perfection. You likely take pride in your work and want your company to have the best products on the market. To achieve that, you and your team must track and monitor an array of metrics to help optimize your operations and set you up for success.
For example, you may be keeping track of the number of tests that you run, whether or not you have 100 percent requirements coverage, what percentage of those tests are automated vs. manual or how many you passed or failed. And, of course, that͛s just the tip of the iceberg. There͛s no shortage of things to track, measure and report on.
And while all of these metrics are important to you and to running your team as efficiently and effectively as possible, that doesn͛t necessarily mean that they͛re things your C-Suite cares about. Although quality assurance is essential to the success of any product, it͛s one of those things that other people only pay attention to when there͛s a problem. Like it or not, if the tremendous value that you provide by doing your job well is taken for granted, chances are that the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) that you͛re so diligently tracking will be too.
Practically speaking, that means that when it comes to communicating with the C-Suite, you͛re not going to get very far if you go too deep into the weeds. If you want to get their attention and demonstrate your team͛s value, you instead need to focus in on the big-picture metrics that they͛re most interested in. In this article, we͛ll take a look at what those metrics are, and at some basic steps that you can take to ensure that you͛re setting yourself up to get the best results for each.
The 3 Things Your C-Suite Probably Cares About Most
When you talk to your C-Suite about quality assurance, chances are that there will be three main things that will get their attention. They are:
1. Speed to market
First and foremost, executives want to know how quickly they can bring new features to market. After all, the faster new features are delivered, the faster your company can respond to changing customer expectations and market opportunities.
Testing can obviously increase the amount of time that elapses between when new code is written and delivered. Anything that you and your team can do to expedite the process and shorten testing time is going to be seen positively. That being the case, reporting on how long testing takes on average vs. industry best practice, and ideally how that average is going down over time, will resonate with leaders.
If you find that testing is a bottleneck that͛s delaying your company͛s ability to deliver new code, it͛s something that you need to address. To do so, try to automate as much of your testing as possible to ensure quicker delivery. And if you͛re not already doing so, you should also embrace DevOps so that your operations are more agile, collaborative and transparent, which will ultimately increase your velocity.
2.The number of bugs in production
While you may be intently focused on striving for perfection, the fact is that there will always be bugs. It͛s just the reality. And the bigger the product, the more scenarios there are to test, which means the more bugs that are likely to slip through.
But not all bugs are equally important in the eyes of your executives. While they too want your products to have as few problems as possible, they͛re really only interested in the most severe bugs that affect customer experience. They͛re going to want to know what they are, who caught them and why they were missed in the first place.
That͛s important to keep in mind because when you͛re reporting on the number of bugs in production, you don͛t want to bog the C-Suite down with lower-level issues — think formatting errors, for example — that just aren͛t as critical. For that reason, it͛s important to track the relative severity of bugs and to focus your attention on the most serious among them that are most likely to lead to attrition. Focusing on those issue, rather than striving for a bug-free release, is a better strategy for everyone.
3. The amount of money being spent on testing
It should come to no surprise to anyone that the C-Suite always has its sights on the bottom line, which includes how much money your company is spending on testing. To understand the value of the return they are getting on their investment, executives are going to want to know how many bugs were found in production versus how many tests were executed for every release. Although they understand the importance of testing and can accept that it comes at a cost, they want to make sure that the company isn͛t wasting any money.
They key here is to ensure that your testing efforts are as efficient as possible. To maximize your efficiency, you may need to experiment with pulling different levers. For example, you might need more automation or you might need to do less overall so that you can focus more time on exploratory testing. You͛ll also want to do some analysis about where bugs are being found in production so that you can try to focus your attention on the most brittle areas.
By regularly reporting on these metrics, you͛ll be able to keep your executives informed about the aspects of quality assurance that they care about most. That will save everyone time and help reinforce the tremendous value that testing provides.
Act Like a Tester, Communicate Like an Executive
Testing is an essential part of deploying new software and features, and one that your business cannot succeed without. To be successful at it, you need to track a variety of KPIs. Yet to help executives see the real value of what you͛re doing, you need to speak their language. That means talking to them in terms of the metrics that they͛re most interested in: speed to market, the number of bugs in production and cost.
If you can report this information back to them, ideally within the context of several releases, you͛ll be able to get through to the C-Suite and demonstrate the impact that you͛re having. Having the right reporting engine will go a long way toward making that a fast and efficient process.
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