Setting Up Metrics for QA

Setting Up Metrics for QA
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How can you determine the success of your software product? By identifying Quality Assurance (QA) metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), Growth Acceleration Partners (GAP) can assess the effectiveness of your processes and strategies, ensuring they are optimal and efficient. This, in turn, facilitates informed decision-making.

It’s crucial to ensure the software you design meets user needs, satisfies their expectations, functions reliably and is sustainable in the long run. To test the effectiveness of your QA processes — and get insights into the product’s quality — you can use a combination of quantitative and qualitative metrics.

Recognizing the uniqueness of each project, GAP is equipped to assist you in selecting the metrics that best align with your specific business goals. Here are some examples of metrics we often use.

Product Quality Metrics

Product Quality Metrics are focused on evaluating the quality of the software product itself. They assess the attributes of the software, such as reliability, performance, security and maintainability.

Some measurements that can provide valuable information include the:

  • Number of defects identified in a component or system (defect density)
  • Frequency at which a component or system fails to perform its required function within a specified period (failure rate)
  • Average time between the installation of a component or system and its failure (mean time to failure — MTTF)

To determine the defect density, calculate the number of issues identified in a specific period (e.g., per release or per sprint). A decrease in this metric over time indicates an improvement in product quality. You can also categorize defects by severity (e.g., minor, major, critical), and track how issues are resolved by variances such as speed, accuracy and effectiveness. A decrease in defects (especially critical defects) over time is a positive sign.

Process Metrics

Process Metrics focus on evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of the software development and testing processes. They help assess how well the development and testing processes are functioning, and whether they adhere to predefined standards.

Examples of process metrics include the:

  • Degree to which the source code of a program has been tested (test coverage)
  • Percentage of defects found during a specific phase of the development life cycle (defect detection percentage)
  • Number of test cases developed over a specific period (test case productivity)
  • Rate at which requirements change during the development life cycle (requirement volatility)
  • Percentage of test cases that pass successfully (test pass rate)
  • Number of hotfixes or emergency releases required after a major release (release stability)

Project Metrics

Project Metrics are used to assess the overall progress, status and success of a software development project. They help stakeholders understand the project’s health, resource allocation, and adherence to schedules and budgets.

Some examples of what you can get information are the

  • Difference between the planned schedule and the actual schedule of a project (schedule variance)
  • Difference between the planned effort and the actual effort expended on a project (effort variance)
  • Difference between the planned cost and the actual cost of a project (cost variance)
  • Effectiveness of the development process in removing defects before the software is released (defect removal efficiency)

Of course, the metrics you use should align with your specific project goals, meet industry standards, and be relevant to the nature of your software product. Consistently analyzing metrics will help you make data-driven decisions for continuous improvements related to your software quality and QA processes.