Software Testing Metrics

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Software testing metrics refer to the numerical measures utilized to assess the progress, quality, productivity, and overall status of the software testing process.

The use of metrics allows testers to provide consistent and reliable reports and facilitate the monitoring of progress over time.

Test managers often need to present metrics at various meetings attended by multiple stakeholders, including technical staff and executive management. By utilizing metrics, test managers can effectively communicate the value of the software testing process and its impact on the project's success.

Table of Contents

  1. Test Activities Metrics
  2. Classification of Testing metrics
  3. Standard Test Metrics
  4. Test Metrics Life Cycle
  5. Video Tutorial

Test Activities Metrics

Metrics can also be integrated with the core activities of the fundamental test process. This allows metrics to be utilized throughout the testing process to monitor progress toward project objectives. These metrics encompass various stages of the testing process, such as:

  1. Test Planning and Control Metrics
  2. Test Analysis Metrics
  3. Test Design Metrics
  4. Test Implementation Metrics
  5. Test Execution Metrics
  6. Test Progress and Completion Metrics
  7. Test Closure Metrics

Metrics can be collected during and at the end of test activities to evaluate:

  • progress against planned schedules and budgets
  • the current quality of the test object
  • the adequacy of the test approach
  • The effectiveness of the test activities in achieving their objectives

Classification of Testing metrics

Testing metrics can be classified into several categories, including:

  1. Project metrics: Project metrics measure progress towards established project exit criteria, such as the percentage of test cases executed, passed, and failed. 
  2. Product metrics:  Product metrics measure product attributes, such as the extent to which it has been tested or the defect density. 
  3. Process metrics: Process metrics measure the capability of the testing or development process, such as the percentage of defects detected by testing. 
  4. People metrics: People metrics measure the capability of individuals or groups, such as implementing test cases within a given schedule. 

Any given metric may belong to two, three, or even four categories.

Standard Test Metrics

To ensure effective measurement and management of the software testing process, defining a limited set of useful metrics aligned with specific objectives for the project, process, and/or product is crucial. Standard test metrics include:

  • Percentage of planned work done: This metric measures the percentage of planned work completed in test case preparation or test environment preparation.
  • Test case execution: This metric measures the number of test cases run/not run, test cases passed/failed, and/or test conditions passed/failed.
  • Defect information: This metric includes defects density, defects found and fixed, failure rate, and confirmation test results.
  • Test coverage: This metric measures the coverage of requirements, user stories, acceptance criteria, risks, or code.
  • Task completion: This metric measures resource allocation, usage, and effort.
  • Cost of testing: This metric includes the cost compared to the benefit of finding the next defect or the cost compared to the benefit of running the next test.

In addition to these standard test metrics, project management techniques such as work breakdown structures may also be used to monitor the testing process. In Agile teams, testing progress is often monitored as part of a user story's progress on the burn-down chart. In contrast, in Lean management techniques, testing progress on a story-by-story basis is often monitored by having the user story card move through a column on the Kanban board. 

Test Metrics Life Cycle

The Test Metrics Life Cycle is a process that involves gathering, analyzing, and reporting on data to determine the success of a software project. Let's take a closer look at the various stages of this life cycle:

  1. Analysis: During this stage, the QA team identifies the metrics that will be used to measure the project's success, such as time, effort, and efficiency.
  2. Communication: Communication among the testing team is crucial to ensure everyone understands how to capture the metrics, the process involved, and what data needs to be extracted.
  3. Evaluation: In this stage, the data is calculated, and the metrics are prepared. This involves analyzing the data and making any necessary adjustments to ensure accuracy.
  4. Reporting: Once the metrics have been calculated and prepared, they are reported to stakeholders. The data is compared, and any issues or areas for improvement are identified. Measures to improve the testing process for the next iteration are discussed and implemented.

By following the Test Metrics Life Cycle, testing teams can ensure that the software project is progressing as planned and take corrective actions if necessary to ensure project success.