All software development testing, coding and operations know the value of key performance indicators, as metrics help everyone know if everything is on track and being done properly. The best test case management software will come equipped with metrics reporting capabilities. Making software without metrics in place is like running a time trial by yourself without a stopwatch. You could do it, but how would you know if you're doing well or not?
While just about everyone understands the importance and value of set, objective metrics to track progress, determining which specific KPIs to use can be difficult. This is especially the case with project-level metrics, as many different teams have different ways of determining how well a project is progressing. While teams have many options for quality assurance metrics at their disposal, here are the four most widely used project-level KPIs in use today.
1. Requirements coverage
This is a straightforward metric, establishing the end goal and what should be done at each major stage. If software testing and development is like a marathon, then 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 this in place, developers and testers may miss certain key requirements that are absolutely required in the final product.
This metric can be easily noted as a percentage. To determine it, divide the number of requirements covered by the total number of requirements, and then multiply that total by 100. So, if you initially establish 15 total requirements for a given project, you'd be 53 percent done by the time the first eight requirements were met.
2. Defect distribution
One of the biggest purported key benefits of agile QA management and DevOps testing methods is that flaws and errors in the code are discovered and fixed as early in the process as possible. That would mean that in an idealized scenario, there would likely be lots of errors after the first scrum or sprint, but much fewer in subsequent ones. But, how can teams determine if this is actually happening or not?
Enter defect distribution. This metric is designed to look into where in the total process defects are being found, and if they are decreasing in frequency over time as would be expected. It is calculated by dividing the total number of defects by function area, then multiplying that total by both the status and the phase. This KPI can help determine if defects are being caught at the right times or not during the project.
3. Defect open and close rate
This metric should make perfect sense to anyone who's ever worked in a help desk position before. Once a problem is spotted, how long does it take to address that issue? Naturally, the less time needed to come to a resolution the better.
Some teams may want to have the total number of spotted defects be low, under the assumption that having few issues crop up means it was done right in the first place. However, in an agile and DevOps test management scenario, the whole goal of the process is to have defects be spotted early and often. By ensuring that issues are quickly noted and addressed, teams can ensure that projects run quickly and without major problems in the final version.
To calculate the defect open and close rates, first add up the total number of defects found both before and after delivery. The number of defects found before delivery should then be divided by that total. Multiplying this final sum by 100 produces a handy percentage. Not only will this final number show how and where defects are spotted and resolved, it can also shed light on how effectively different teams are collaborating with one another.
4. Execution trends
This is definitely a test case execution and QA test metric. It's designed to look at who specifically within the project is conducting tests, and how effective these testing professionals are at spotting problems. While it's primarily designed to determine the effectiveness of testers, it can also be used to see if some team members aren't pulling their own weight.
The best way to figure this out is to determine who, on average is finding the most or fewest number of defects per test. For a more concrete formula, first divide functional area by iteration. Then, divide execution status by execution rate. Multiplying these two final figures together will give you a rough execution trend number to use.
It's also important to differentiate between project-level metrics and department-level and company-level ones. All of the above are important, but it's key to use the right metrics under the right scenarios to ensure everything really is running as smoothly as possible. Regardless of the total number of metrics used across the board, it's always a good idea to keep track of everything within an enterprise test management solution.