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6 Metrics for Improving Software Testing Management

 software testing metrics

In a high-pressure development environment, metrics serve as the only indicators of progress, improvement and overall success in the testing process. That’s why testing  leaders` need to choose a wide array of metrics as they refine their testing best practices and adopt innovative new methods. But for many test leaders, their team’s metrics are outdated, inaccurate or simply not aligned with the larger goals of the organization. Here’s a look at 6 effectiveness and efficiency metrics for software testing, and some tips on how to use these key measurements in the software testing process and beyond.

Measuring Effectiveness

How well is the testing process overseen and controlled by key decision-makers, and how does this discipline ensure a productive, high-performing test environment? This is the central question in determining software testing process effectiveness, according to an Infosys white paper, and there are some key metrics to track when searching for answers. These three measurements will help form a strong foundation:

  • 1) Test coverage: Components, test cases and configurations aren’t always executed, even in high-performing testing teams. That’s why test coverage is arguably the most important effectiveness measurement for test managers, and it’s the one that cannot be neglected. As Infosys stats, the metric is determined by comparing the number of successful tests to the total number of tests that need to be completed for a given project. If your coverage is poor, you have to address this issue immediately.
  • 2) Operator errors: While most major software defects are discovered and fixed in the testing process, some teams encounter high error rates due to a lack of expertise or competence in the workforce. These errors can take the form of overlooked defects or improper documentation of project progress. The nature of these mistakes can point test leaders in the right direction as they revamp their strategies and fill skill-gaps on their team.
  • 3) Defect removal efficiency (DRE): Errors aside, how well are development and testing teams able to remove or resolve the defects that they find? It is crucial that managers consider DRE, which compares the number of defects in the final product to the number reported by testers. Infosys points out that this metric also provides some insight into the overall quality of the software. Teams will want to aim for a 100 percent removal rate.

Checkout 64 of the most popular test metrics for measuring testing progress, quality, productivity and more.

Measuring Efficiency

Time is money in the world of business, especially in the software development arena. That’s why efficiency metrics are so vital for success in the testing process – they help pinpoint the causes of delays and other issues that prolong tests or fail to utilize the full power of the workforce. Here are three of the most critical measurements of efficiency, and a few tips on how to increase their impact.

  • 4) Test progress curve: Highlighted by Infosys as one of the most important tracking tasks, this metric is a raw measurement of testing progress, comparing the number of completed cases to the total attempted number. The curve is easy to visualize, and can help managers see exactly where their teams are struggling to execute their tasks. It also conveys a change in efficiency over time, which can serve to support a new solution.
  • 5) Cost of testing: From a financial perspective, test efficiency is a top priority, and this metric offers a clear understanding of how monetary resources are being used throughout the process. Managers can utilize this metric by phase, which reveals the cost of test setup, execution, reporting and more. They can also go by component, which breaks down the cost of the project by features and elements of the end product.
  • 6) Defect turnaround time: Testers must be able to identify software defects in an efficient manner, which is exactly what this metric highlights. Pinpointing and verifying these defects, and prioritizing them by order or urgency, is the essence of this metric, and it can help managers recognize which types of errors require more attention.

Tracking these metrics is a great way for testing leaders to shore up effectiveness and efficiency of their team.  They will also help testing leaders provide executives in the company with better visibility into the performance of the testing team.  

Here is another useful blog post on metrics: Beware of Misleading Metrics: Q&A with Agile Coach Yvette Francino

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