Advance Your Testing Strategy with Robust Test Metrics & Reporting

An old business adage says you can't manage what you can't measure, which is why test metrics and reports are essential for testers, agile teams and QA managers who want to boost the effectiveness and efficiency of their QA and testing efforts.

A recent SmartBear webinar, “Advance Your Testing Strategy with Robust Test Metrics & Reporting,” discussed how to use advanced reporting capabilities in Zephyr for Jira to measure, analyze and report on testing data, as well as how to use specific software test metrics to track the effectiveness of your quality assurance process.

During the webinar, we asked our audience which tools they were currently using for test management and reporting, and almost 80% responded that they were using Jira, with smaller percentages using spreadsheets and proprietary testing tools.  A solid majority (69%) of respondents also said they preferred continuing to work with a test management solution native to Jira rather than one outside of it.

Here are some of the main takeaways from the webinar to help teams measure what’s important and identify bottlenecks in their QA process that can prevent them from releasing high-quality software.

Why Test Metrics are Critical to Your Testing Strategy

Software test metrics are quantitative measures that help estimate the process quality and health of your software testing efforts.  Test metrics are generally classified into three categories:

  • Process metrics.These metrics are used to gauge and improve the process efficiency of your software development lifecycle. Process metrics provide insights into things like your test execution coverage, test execution productivity, and so on.
  • Product metrics. These help you to monitor and continually improve the quality of your software products by telling you things like your defect density, defect fix rate, and so forth.
  • Project metrics. Some of the most important testing metrics can be gathered at the software project level itself, across a specific release cycle or over the course of multiple releases and projects. QA members can use this information to gain a better idea of how effective their efforts have been on any specific project. This can include metrics like requirements coverage or defect distribution by cycle or phase.

Building software without metrics in place is like running a time trial race without a stopwatch.  If software testing and development is a marathon, then a metric like requirements coverage determines what the finish line and ideal finishing time is, and the times needed at all stages to meet the final goal.  Without a requirements coverage metric, developers and testers may miss certain key requirements that are absolutely required in the final product.

Test metrics allow you to assess if your project progress is in line with your release goals. This is a big deal since it allows teams to clearly identify areas that need improvement and make better informed decisions about process or budget changes that are backed by real time data.

Similarly, metrics allow quality and development teams to track software defects, prioritize them based on insights such as which defects have maximum impact on your requirements or which ones present risks for future bugs.  Testing metrics will also help management teams streamline your overall testing process, which can improve the cost efficiency of future releases.

Why Reporting is Critical to Your Testing Strategy

Reporting is one of the most important phases in your software testing cycle because it makes it easy to evaluate the efficiency and timeline of your development process so you can make continual improvements to it.  Reports and dashboards allow you to visualize testing data in a form that’s easy to understand by developers, testers and managers.

You can track defects and software quality with test reports such as test execution charts that show which defects are impacting the most test cases.  If you have the right test management tool in place, you can also easily share these findings with other people—which will ultimately help your teams make better informed quality release decisions.

Test metrics and reporting are critical to your testing strategy for three main reasons.  One is to facilitate communication and increased collaboration between quality assurance and development teams.  Another is to provide project teams information on the status of their test executions, top defects and other key testing elements.  Finally, they also provide management with deeper insights into the efficiency and productivity of all your software development activities.

How Zephyr for Jira Helps Advance Your Testing Strategy

Whatever role you have on a project--test manager, lead test coordinator, agile coach, scrum master or project manager--you need both high-level and low-level test reports on sprints, projects or releases--not just during the testing process but also afterwards so you can retrospectively report on how things went for a specific sprint or release.  Zephyr for Jira supports full testing and reporting capabilities inside Jira with features like end-to-end traceability, enhanced collaboration and the ability to integrate with tools that you’re already using in your workflow.

End-to-end traceability – Two-way end-to-end traceability and visibility help your teams make better Go/No-Go decisions about whether or not software is ready to be shipped.  You can use native Jira gadgets to report on traditional issue types like epics, stories, tasks and sub tasks. Zephyr for Jira also has a range of test metric gadgets that can be added to any Jira dashboard.  These allow Quality and Dev teams to closely monitor each stage of the software test cycle (Requirements->Execution->Tests->Defects) to ensure appropriate test coverage for each requirement. You can do the inverse as well and look at defects that are impacting the originating requirement.

Faster collaboration – Create and execute your test plans faster with a solution that can support almost any testing methodology, from traditional waterfall to agile approaches (Scrum, Kanban, etc.) that leverage automation frameworks and Continuous Integration tools like Jenkins and Bamboo.  With features like an importer tool, custom fields and folder structures, Zephyr for Jira allows you to report on a wide variety of software tests quickly and easily.

Tool Integration – With ZAPI, our powerful free add-on for Zephyr for Jira, you can easily integrate with leading SmartBear and other test automation tools that you’re already using.

In addition to traceability reports that track testing progress during every stage of the software release cycle-- from requirements to tests to executions to defects and vice-versa—Zephyr for Jira also provides Agile Test Boards that display issues from one or more projects, giving you a flexible way of viewing, managing, and reporting on work in progress so you can identify how testing activities relate to the ongoing sprints, cycles or stories that are part of any given project.

Want to see a walk-through of these and other features?  Watch the full webinar below:

Advance Your Testing Strategy with Robust Test Metrics & Reporting