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Metrics and KPIs for Software Testing

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The words of Peter Drucker “What gets measured, gets managed” hold true in every realm of professional and personal life. In the realm of software projects, it is critical to success for quality, efficacy, and cost of the project and its processes to be measured – without measuring these factors no project will reach successful completion.

Metrics and KPIs for Software Testing

Given the critical nature of metrics and KPIs for software testing, it is important that a business partner with a renowned and expert software testing company to control its software projects. Controlling projects means speedily identifying any deviations from the original test plan, to ensure timely corrective action. Generating test metrics is an inextricable component while attempting to achieve top quality of the software being tested.

Differentiation between a Metric and a KPI

Simply put – metrics are standards of measurement. In the realm of software, “a metric is a quantitative measure of the degree to which a system, system component, or process possesses a given attribute”. Software metrics measure the quality of a project, providing insights into the efficacy of the software testing efforts. These metrics enable testers to diagnose particular problems within the process of software testing, which if ignored could lead to poor quality software.

A KPI or Key Performance Indicator is a type of metric aligned with the critical business goals. Within an Agile project, KPIs help to understand whether the processes being used are enabling faster testing, elevated quality of software, faster and frequent releases, and a consistently high ROI for the business. To understand whether a metric is a valid KPI within Agile Testing, the testing must have relevance for the objectives of the business. Any metric that matches this description, would be a valid KPI. The metrics used by Agile Testers must always have an applicative and practicable purpose, and they must avoid any futile or purposeless metrics (the ones that do not help to evaluate the testing process or uncover any issues with testing)


Automation is a critical component of the speeding up the testing process, since it is important that software testing does not pose an obstacle for Agile Testers in their endeavor to regularly release high quality software to the market. It is necessary for testing to match the pace of development of the software. Monitoring the progress of automation is necessary to understand the pace of testing for each build, and the more automation is achieved from the tests that can be automated, the quicker would be the pace of release.

Any business aims to release top quality software as frequently as possible. With this aim in mind, the KPI of defect resolution time is a measure of whether the testing teams are able to help a business achieve this aim. An experienced Agile Testing team would have the ability to fix bugs and errors in the shortest possible time, ensuring swift release of software.

Software Testing Teams

Another key feature of top quality software is that the application ‘behaves’ and ‘acts’ exactly in the way that the user would expect, and that it does what the user needs of it. To ensure high quality software, it is necessary that testers create tests that are able to verify the functionality of software. The KPI of coverage requirement helps to track what percentage of the requirements are being covered by a single test – this would serve as a pointer or guide for both the efficiency of the testing and the quality of the software.

Yet another method to evaluate whether the software testing efforts are working is the KPI of escaped defects. This means that a negligible number of defects would ‘escape’ into the production cycle, and by counting the number of defects per testing cycle, it would be easy to understand whether the Agile Testers are doing their job effectively. It would therefore, be necessary to effectively record and report this data back to the business.

With Agile Testing, velocity is another useful and specific measurement – measuring the amount of work the testing team is able to complete within a timeframe. Velocity is estimated by committing a certain amount of time by each team. To understand whether the velocity is achieved and the speed at which the team is able to put out working software, is by comparing the actual velocity with the time committed. Within SDLC, testing typically is the slowest part, and a higher velocity would mean progressing faster with software testing.

Do Metrics and KPIs actually improve the Testing Process?

Businesses that operate outside the realm of IT and Software would naturally have concerns over the efficacy of metrics and KPIs in the testing process, and hence would need the expertise of a knowledgeable software testing partner to allay their apprehensions. Such a partner would be able to deliver tangible benefits and results, by ensuring that software testing is never measured at an individual level, for example, counting test cases done by individual testers. In addition, an expert service partner will actually use the contemporary Agile Approach, as opposed to some who may simply have ported from the old Waterfall model, without making an evaluation of the benefits within the context of Agile. It is therefore, imperative to make an informed and right decision with regard to the software testing partner. Despite these hurdles, the fact remains that both metrics and KPIs serve to enhance the quality and delivery of software and serve as methods for continuous improvement. Of course, these are only parts of the entire gamut of software quality testing, and a business would benefit from working with a partner that can provide a holistic approach of quality and improvement within this realm.

In Conclusion:

For a business it would be wise to consider the objectives and values they can benefit from through the Agile Methodology, before measuring a load of team metrics and KPIs. Partner with a QA company that will execute these software testing metrics and KPIs to improve the overall effectiveness, accuracy, and speed of the software, resulting in the best quality possible. It would be advisable to remain cautious that measurements must never be viewed in isolation as they would present a distorted picture of the testing efforts. Connect with us to get a holistic approach, enabling the collation of useful test metrics and KPIs that would provide a collective and unified view of software quality.


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