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Test Management: Best Practices for Measuring Test Efficiency
For many organizations, the primary challenge of software testing is not the effectiveness of their staff or operations. With a strong team of testers and sufficient direction from managers, a company can generally detect and avoid most technical flaws in a given context.
However, the efficiency of these complex testing processes is another issue altogether, and this poses the biggest obstacle for today’s teams faced with hard deadlines and corporate scrutiny.
That’s why testing managers should shift their focus toward improving the efficiency of their team’s efforts and providing them with resources that help them achieve this goal. Here are a handful of best practices that can guide testing leaders toward a more streamlined and efficient testing process, all while benefiting the development team overall.
1. Set clear performance metrics:
Testing strategies may appear effective or efficient from the perspective of project leaders, but without indicators of performance that point them in the right direction, improvement is improbable. Only with a set of metrics that clearly reflect key goals can testers and managers gauge and improve performance.
“Deepen test efficiency metrics immediately.”
Testers typically focus on data that ties back to defects – finding, reporting and describing the problems that they encounter as they navigate software. Of course, this approach emphasizes the effectiveness of a testing strategy, as opposed to its efficiency.
Therefore, test managers should shift gears to establish metrics that emphasize efficiency as much as defect detection and troubleshooting. High-level metrics such as overall test case speed can be balanced with individual performance tracking and defect-specific measures to provide a more well-rounded view of testing.
2. Consider new testing technology
Even with efficiency-centric metrics in place, testing managers need to empower testers with tools that help to achieve these objectives. Speed and accuracy should be clearly identified as project requirements, and technologies should be leveraged with these goals in mind.
Examples of solutions that foster test efficiency include automation, exploratory software and other popular tools. However, not all variations of these programs offer reliable measurements of efficiency, meaning that specialized solutions will be necessary.
Testing managers must take an objective view of their current QA testing tools and gauge whether they provide sufficient data on efficiency. If not, it may be time to consider leveraging new test case management software or upgrading a reporting platform that highlights and cross-checks with specific metrics.
3. Report, analyze and educate
It’s easy to think that new metrics and tech assets can instantly improve the measurement of efficiency in the testing process, but smart managers know that this is not enough. They must work to pinpoint shortcomings in their metrics and operations to actively improve their strategies rather than sitting back.
For example, managers can focus on reading and analyzing reports to target specific issues impacting efficiency measurement. This will provide managers with a deeper understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. This goes for processes as well as individual performances and educational efforts.
“It is critical to have an awareness process that includes management commitment at each and every business unit and for associated developers,” explained Jose Vargas and Julio Cordoba in a recent article for SoftTek. “The goal is to demonstrate that testing activities add value to their daily work.”
Remember the ultimate goal
Deepening efficiency measurement seems like a niche aspect of test case management, but there’s no denying that it can promote a faster and more streamlined operation when these data points are eventually put into action.
Managers must simply remember that these new metrics, technologies and reports are all meant to strengthen the testing environment overall, and they can use these elements to take the path toward a more efficient operation.