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Top 10 QA Metrics: A Guide That Every Agents Will Need!

QA (Quality Assurance) is super important in software development. It’s always there, helping developers and testers. As websites and apps get more complicated, QA gets longer too. Complex sites and apps need lots of testing with many features and fixing lots of bugs before they’re ready for everyone to use.

But, QA needs planning and watching to work well. Using the right measurements is the best way to see if QA is doing its job. Decide what success looks like before starting and check how well you’re doing with each measurement after.

This article talks about some important measurements for QA. They help see if QA is working like it should.

What Are QA Metrics?

QA metrics are instruments utilized to assess the quality and effectiveness of software development, products, and testing processes. They measure various aspects of software quality and provide information on the effectiveness of development and testing activities.

What Are QA Metrics?

These measurements are vital for overseeing and controlling software quality throughout the entire process, including stages such as gathering requirements, designing, coding, testing, and deploying.

By monitoring these metrics, companies can identify areas requiring enhancement, make data-driven decisions, and ensure the software meets quality standards.

The Importance Of QA Testing Metrics

Quality assurance testing metrics are crucial for ensuring software products are good and reliable. They’re important because:

  • Evaluating Quality: These metrics provide numbers to measure software quality. Teams can check the quality of their product and find areas to improve by looking at defect numbers, test coverage, and pass/fail rates.
  • Finding Problems: Teams use metrics like defect numbers and location to find common problems and patterns in the software. This helps them focus testing on the parts of the software most likely to have problems.
  • Tracking Performance: Quality assurance metrics let teams see how testing is going over time. They can see if their testing is working well and improve it by examining metrics such as how long tests take and how much is done automatically.
  • Managing Risk: Metrics like test coverage and keeping track of what requirements are met help teams see how risky it is to release the software. Teams can lower risks and stop big problems from happening by making sure enough testing is done and everything that’s needed is done.
  • Making Decisions: These metrics give important information for making decisions during software development. Teams can use the data instead of personal opinions to decide what tests to do first, where to put resources, and when the software is ready to release.
  • Getting Better: By looking at quality assurance metrics, teams can see what needs to be better and make plans to improve testing.

2 Main Types Of QA Metrics

Before delving into the list, let’s pause to examine two primary categories of QA metrics: Quantitative, which are absolute numbers, and Qualitative, which are derived metrics.

2 Main Types Of QA Metrics

Quantitative QA Metrics

Quantitative metrics are straightforward—they are whole numbers that measure one aspect of the QA process. Here are some examples of qualitative metrics outlined here:

  • Average bugs per test
  • Time to Test
  • Escaped Bugs
  • Defects per requirement
  • Number of tests run over a certain duration
  • Test review rate
  • Defect capture rate
  • Test Cost
  • Cost per bug fix
  • Defects per software change

Qualitative QA Metrics

A qualitative QA metric is a measurement that assesses the quality of software based on subjective factors, like user experience and perception, rather than raw numbers.

Some qualitative metrics provided here include:

  • Test Coverage
  • Test Reliability
  • Cost of not testing
  • Test Case Effectiveness
  • Defect Leakage
  • Test Case Productivity
  • Test Completion Status
  • Test Review Efficiency
  • Test Execution Status
  • Defect Distribution over Time
  • Defect Resolution

Top 10 QA Metrics Worth Adopting

1. Escaped Bugs

The main purpose of Quality Assurance (QA) is to prevent as many bugs as possible from reaching production, ideally none at all. The goal is for customers to encounter minimal to no major bugs after an application or feature is live.

To gauge the effectiveness of your QA process, the number of bugs that escape detection and are reported by customers is a key metric. If customers aren’t reporting significant bugs and your team isn’t constantly rushing to fix issues, it indicates that your QA efforts are successful.

However, if major bugs consistently slip through and disrupt the user experience, it may be necessary to reconsider your testing strategies. Fortunately, when customers do report bugs, it allows for quick identification of problem areas without needing to review the entire system architecture.

It’s impossible to catch every potential bug before production, especially when facing tight release schedules. But you can establish an acceptable threshold for quickly fixable bugs that won’t significantly impact the customer experience.

For instance, if your team has a three-week deadline to release a new feature, aiming for a completely bug-free product might not be feasible. Instead, focus on identifying the feature’s main purpose and primary user paths, ensuring that bugs don’t disrupt these areas and that the new feature integrates smoothly with the existing user interface and experience.

Addressing these priority areas acknowledges that minor bugs might still surface in production but should be fine for the user experience.

When evaluating your QA process using this metric, pay attention to whether major bugs are slipping through. If they are, adjustments to tests may be necessary.

Ultimately, the goal should be to develop comprehensive end-to-end test suites that capture all potential bugs, but this requires time, careful planning, and learning from actual testing experiences. In the meantime, prioritize using the framework outlined above.

2. Defects per Requirement

Tracking the number of defects found in tests covering each requirement is highly beneficial. This QA metric can highlight if certain requirements pose higher risks, aiding product teams in determining whether to proceed with releasing those features.

Discovering numerous defects during testing of a specific requirement may indicate underlying issues with the requirement itself. While it’s plausible that the test cases might need restructuring, defects typically signal potential flaws in the requirement rather than in the test structure.

Defects per requirement

For instance, if tests for Requirement A yield 38 defects while those for Requirement B uncover only 7, it prompts testers to review if Requirement A’s tests need adjustments. It also suggests whether the requirement is ready for deployment in its current state, a decision best made with input from developers and product managers.

3. Test Reliability

This is an ideal test suite that exhibits the following characteristics:

  • There’s a strong correlation between the number of bugs and failed tests.
  • Each failed test identifies a genuine bug rather than being unreliable or inconsistent.
  • A test passes only when the feature being tested is entirely free of bugs.

The closer your test suite aligns with these benchmarks, the more dependable it is. Key considerations include:

  • Are test failures attributed to actual bugs or design flaws? If the latter, how many?
  • Are there instances of flaky tests? If so, how frequent are they and how many exist?
  • Tracking test reliability is essential for instilling confidence in the effectiveness of QA processes. This metric aids in continuously enhancing test cases, scenarios, and practices to ensure comprehensive testing of software.

4. Time to Test

This metric indicates the efficiency of a team or tester in developing and executing tests while maintaining software quality.

Naturally, this metric varies between manual and automated testing cycles, with the latter being notably faster to execute. Moreover, the choice of QA tools and frameworks significantly impacts testing time.

Merging these measurements may present difficulties, therefore it is recommended to utilize the following means:

  • The average time to generate tests is determined by dividing the overall time dedicated to creating tests by the total amount of tests produced.
  • The average time taken to complete tests is calculated by dividing the overall test run duration by the total number of tests performed.

Once initial numbers for this QA team performance metric are available, implementing best practices and upgrading tools can help improve both averages. It’s crucial to remember that reducing average times should not come at the expense of lowering quality standards.

5. Test Coverage

This metric aims to address the query, “How many tests are being conducted and which software areas do they encompass?”

Expressed as a percentage, test coverage outlines the extent to which the application is being examined by current tests.

Two simple formulas can be used to calculate this:

  • Test Execution: (Number of tests already run / Total tests to be run) x 100
  • Requirements Coverage: (Number of requirements covered by existing tests / Total number of requirements) x 100

The latter formula holds particular significance as it ensures that QA validates all (or a majority) of software features. For instance, merely running 500 tests does not inherently guarantee high product quality. Instead, tests must encompass critical user paths, core feature performance, and evident customer preferences.

6. Test Effort

Assessing test effort entails considering various other metrics that indicate the volume and duration of tests being conducted. These subsidiary metrics illustrate the number of tests executed and their duration. 

Typically computed as averages, these figures aid in determining whether an adequate number of tests are being conducted and if they are effectively identifying defects.

Test Effort

Key metrics include:

  • Number of tests run per duration: Calculated by dividing the number of tests executed by the total duration.
  • Test review rate: Determined by dividing the number of tests reviewed by the total duration.
  • Defect capture rate: The defect capture rate is calculated by dividing the total defects captured by the duration of test runs.
  • Average bugs per test: The average number of bugs found per test is determined by dividing the total number of bugs by the total number of tests performed.

7. Test Cost

Many QA teams operate under defined budgets, necessitating close monitoring of planned versus actual expenditures. The key figures involved are:

  • Total allocated cost for testing: This denotes the monetary sum authorized by management for QA endeavors within a specified timeframe (e.g., quarter, year).
  • Actual testing expenditure: This refers to the real monetary outlay incurred in conducting essential tests. This computation may encompass costs associated with testing per hour, per test case, or per requirement

8. Mean Time to Detect (MTTD)

MTTD, or the mean time to detect, indicates the average duration it takes for the organization to identify problems. This metric’s significance lies in its direct correlation to prompt issue resolution. Essentially, the quicker a problem is pinpointed, the swifter it can be addressed. 

By quantifying the time required for issue discovery, you embark on the initial stride toward enhancing this duration.Fixing issues in the early stages is known to be more financially efficient.

9. Mean Time to Repair

The next metric is Mean Time to Repair (MTTR), also recognized by its acronym MTTR. Placing it as the second entry follows a logical sequence from MTTD, as it serves as a continuation of the preceding metric.

What does MTTR entail? Quite straightforwardly, it represents the average duration taken by an organization to rectify issues causing system outages.

Calculating MTTR is a relatively simple process, comprising three steps:

  • Determine the total downtime within a specified timeframe.
  • Count the number of incidents occurring within the same timeframe.
  • Divide the total downtime by the number of incidents.

That encapsulates the process. Why is MTTR of such significance? The answer is nearly self-evident: during system downtimes, revenue generation halts. Therefore, monitoring this metric and striving to minimize it is imperative for ensuring seamless operations.

10. Defects per Software Change

Often, when a new feature is added or an existing one is modified, testing these alterations can uncover defects not present in previous tests. For instance, adding an extra button on a webpage may reveal misalignments or text issues with previously functioning buttons. Essentially, defects arise solely due to the introduction of a new change.

For example, if five changes were made and 25 bugs emerged during testing, it’s reasonable to attribute approximately five bugs to each change. However, it’s plausible that one change may have introduced more defects compared to others.

By observing this QA metric across various projects, informed predictions can be made regarding the types of bugs to anticipate with each change. With these insights, teams can effectively plan their time, allocate resources, and manage availability when initiating new testing cycles.

How To Choose The Most Suitable QA Metrics

Choosing the most appropriate Quality Assurance (QA) measurements requires taking into account different factors connected to your project, team, and organizational objectives. Below is a detailed outline to assist you in selecting the appropriate QA metrics.

How To Choose The Most Suitable QA Metrics?

  • Establish objectives: Determine your desired outcomes for QA tasks, such as enhancing product quality or ensuring customer satisfaction.
  • Identify Stakeholders: Comprehend the desires of bosses, developers, and users. Select measures that are significant to them.
  • Select metrics that align with your objectives: For instance, if you desire products that are more dependable, consider factors such as frequency of malfunctions or durability.
  • Consider Projects: Consider the size, difficulty, or uniqueness of your project.
  • Utilize a variety of metrics: Incorporate numerical data along with feedback from customers regarding their satisfaction and opinions.
  • Choose metrics: Select metrics that are within your control to address and improve upon. Ensure that they are easily understood, quantifiable, and aligned with your objectives.
  • Avoid using excessive metrics: While it’s important to analyze various factors, be mindful of overwhelming your team with too much information. Concentrate on several key aspects.
  • Continue monitoring and adjusting: Continuously assess the effectiveness of your metrics and make adjustments as necessary.
  • Consult with the QA team: Communicate with the individuals conducting the tests. They are aware of what is most effective for them.
  • Discuss Metrics: Ensure all individuals understand the metrics being utilized, their significance, and the method of measurement. Having clarity facilitates collaboration among all individuals.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, implementing the right QA metrics is crucial for ensuring the success of your projects and the satisfaction of your stakeholders. 

By following the guidance outlined in this article, QA agents can confidently select and utilize metrics that align with their goals, drive continuous improvement, and ultimately contribute to the delivery of high-quality products and services.

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Marketing Manager of Mageplaza. Summer is attracted by new things. She loves writing, travelling and photography. Perceives herself as a part-time gymmer and a full-time dream chaser.
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