Use metrics to identify trends and improve your processes

Man fixing bore sproket

For many businesses, information has become a critical driver of success and development, but only when it's leveraged effectively. Analyzing data across the organization is a significant benefit to having operational insight, but none of it will matter if stakeholders are tracking numbers that are not valuable to their needs. Each company will have a different set of circumstances to consider, and this will lay the groundwork for what types of statistics are monitored. Once this is done, decision-makers will be on their way to identifying trends across their processes and improving overall performance.

Be accurate and consistent
It is important to note that providing QA teams with an effective test management solution can aid definitely the overall quality assurance process.  Organizations can have mountains of information available to them, but quantity is not always the best route to take for metrics. Instead, quality assurance teams should focus on first ensuring that internal data is accurate. If financial records, for example, haven't been updated, running a report related to costs and revenue could yield results that ultimately lead to negative decisions. Verifying that these information sources have the most recent numbers recorded will be a major point in establishing current business trends.

Businesses should also make it a priority to consistently collect information according to a schedule. Queensland Government noted that the frequency of the data reports will largely depend on the types of statistics being monitored. For example, the revenue gained might be collected more often than information regarding how many users are actively leveraging a particular application. Stakeholders must decide how and when the data will be collected, and ensure that they stick to doing so on a regular basis.

Re-evaluate when metrics no longer yield improvement
While certain statistics may be beneficial for your needs right now, that doesn't mean that these same areas will be useful in the future. Martin Fowler contributor Patrick Kua noted that rather than using the same methods for the same problems, quality assurance teams need to question their goals and implement the changes needed to get there based on the data they collect. If these professionals do not re-evaluate what their true goals are, they likely will not see any innovations or improvements to the overall operations of app development.

Say, for example, that a QA test management team constantly sees the same bugs and is forced to fix them on a consistent basis. While the number of issues reported can be a significant indicator of how well a program is performing, it would be more prudent to look at the cause of the problems themselves and what users are experiencing. This type of information will be much more insightful than a plain-faced number and will allow developers to create strategies to prevent further complications in future projects.

"Organizations need to drop metrics that are no longer relevant, instead of holding on to all the metrics they are used to collecting," Kua wrote. "With an appropriate use of metrics, understanding what metrics to retire will be easy because those metrics have been explicitly linked to the goal and constant monitoring of trends during periods encourage a continuous review of the state of the end goal."

Always be working toward the next goal
Identifying trends based on user habits will be critical to establishing what kinds of goals developers want to achieve with their applications. For example, if users often seek out a certain feature or use one program more than others, this could help developers aim to create software that is more beneficial. Having benchmarks to strive toward will not only show the progress of an app, but also ensure that the business is continually being innovated. Once the objectives have been set, development professionals then have to determine the best way to get there, based on the data at hand and historical information.

"The analysis techniques are simply tools that can be applied to help understand the data. But the core process is a mental one," American Management Association stated. "Analysts need to look at the data, think about it and relate it to the problem they are trying to solve and the answers they are trying to obtain."

Data has become king for many businesses as it can help not only reveal emerging trends but also innovate processes. By using testing metrics best practices, app developers can continue to improve software quality and provision users with the tools they need to succeed.

Related Articles: