A Guide to QA Metrics

Sep 23, 2022

Numerous websites and apps enter the markets daily, and they keep getting sophisticated as they come. As someone in the SDLC, you must stay on top of the game by keeping up with the latest and greatest ways to keep streamlined. Above all else, be vigilant when it comes to software quality assurance (QA metrics). Nothing sets you a thousand miles back than a bug or a defect in an application you’ve created and released into the market, only for consumers to start complaining about its functionality (or lack thereof).

To avoid such setbacks, you must leave nothing to chance during the testing stage. At this point, software testers go all out, employing extensive and equally complex tech to fix defects, and determine the quality of their products. The end goal is to ensure customer satisfaction because you can only say your work is successful when the customers believe in your product.

In this article, we’ll explore:

  • The QA metrics in software development
  • Their importance
  • The metrics you need to adapt

What Are QA Metrics?

To understand QA metrics, we must first define the two terms separately. Quality Assurance (QA) refers to the maintenance of an intended quality and standards level in the products or services from the beginning of production to the delivery of services. In layman’s language, QA means someone (or something) is tasked with ensuring quality in what we’re trying to do or create. Rigorous monitoring ensures the QA process is quantifiable and successful. How do we achieve this?

It’s at this point that we introduce metrics. QA metrics refer to the evidence (facts and data) that a team uses to quantify, prove, and measure performance. Further, QA metrics differ from one industry to another since each industry uses its unique performance and customer satisfaction benchmarks. It means they reflect performance differently. For example, in software development, QA metrics would be something like testing an app before releasing it to the public. On the other hand, in carpentry, it could translate to tracking costs based on wood type against warranty requests (product failure).

A team of female programmers working on QA metrics before project deployment.
QA team and bug fixing.

Why Are QA Metrics Important in Software Development?

Before delving deeper into the world of Software QA, let’s first understand the purpose. Why are these tools necessary in the first place?

1. Sorting Data

Using metrics is the most logical way to ensure software organization which translates to getting objective information. It also sorts ambiguities and misunderstandings, especially in complex projects.

2. Security

Using outdated software is one costly mistake that an organization may never recover from. It makes you an easy target for cyberattacks. How do you recover from leaked confidential data? There’s no way to regain clients’ confidence once that happens.

You can avoid such unfortunate scenarios by updating your software and conducting regular security assessments.

3. Tracking Progress

Metrics help you know if your project is within schedule and whether everything is working out. You can then control the project and be accountable for each step. The metrics help manage progress by showing the software’s product status, quality, and changes.

4. Productivity

Every developer knows too well that the customers want solutions fast. Your website or app must be efficient enough to process data in a split second. You can always determine the speed efficiency during the trial stage using metrics. That way, you can vouch for its productivity and solve any drawbacks immediately.

Also, errors and bugs will encroach on your software as time passes, reducing its efficiency and preciseness. For instance, if an organization’s workload increases or becomes more complex, you can’t risk using obsolete or aged software. You’ll have to go back to the QA metrics to update it for the new tasks. Should it fail to conform, the best solution is to scrap it off and create a new one that prioritizes the current needs.

5. Developing a Management Strategy

You can control, estimate, solve, and prioritize risks during a quality assessment. If undetected, fixing them at a later stage may be costly. As a management strategy, you must determine the technical parts and solve the errors.

6. Decision Making

You don’t want to make impulsive decisions on a product you’ve invested in. QA metrics influence the decisions objectively since there’s data to back them up. You’ll be able to track, prioritize, and identify issues within the project that determine its viability.

Key QA Metrics to Adopt

Now that we’ve understood what QA metrics are and why we need them in software development, the next part is to know the test automation metrics to adopt.

1. Agile Process Metrics

These metrics are necessary during the planning and decision-making that inform process improvement.

They include:

  • Leadtime: The time it takes from the ideas’ conception and execution to delivery. Always work towards reducing lead time.
  • Cycle time: The time it takes to make changes in your software and submit the changes to production.
  • Team velocity: The number of “units” the team can complete within an iteration. Only use it to plan iterations and not to evaluate the value for planning and evaluation since the metric is non-objective.
  • Open close rates: The production issues being reported and fixed within a specific period. Pay attention to the trend more than the particular numbers.

2. Production Analytics

These metrics measure the software’s performance within the production environment.

They include:

  • Mean time between failures (MTBF)
  • Mean time to repair (MTTR)

These metrics expose how frequently the system was used, and the times it failed.

3. Security Metrics

It’s mostly overlooked until later when a crisis strikes, which shouldn’t be the case. Security analysis should be built in the initial stages of software development. As with the first two metrics, this scope of security metrics is quite broad to cover in this article.

The two metrics that are beneficial for overall customer satisfaction are:

  • Endpoint incidences: The endpoints that have experienced bugs and virus infection within a specific period.
  • MTTR: In the security metrics context, MTTR is the period between a security breach and the deployment of a working remedy.

Learn More About QA Metrics

The need for testing before allowing software services into the market cannot be downplayed. These extensive tests go a long way to determine the software quality and the need to fix defects.

The caveat is that, while they can be amazingly effective, metrics can also cause a significant setback if not coded with caution. For example, it’s only through QA metrics that you can detect bugs. If you didn’t factor in that instruction during its conception, you’d have made defective software, and everyone using it will be at risk. Also, remember that customer satisfaction is the end goal. Contact us to learn more on how to optimize your QA practice today.