Performance Indicators and Testing

I recently came across an interesting Twitter-conversation. Two leading testgurus pondered how to organize testing-related performance indicators (KPI) for an organization, since the organization demanded for some.

First, a question arose in my mind. If an organization demands them, what actually is going on is that one or a couple of people in the organization demand them. I would be very interested in meeting them. Who are they?

People who wish for KPI-meters have quite often already an understanding of what they would want to measure and why. The easiest thing would be to ask them.

If there is nothing else to be done but to build a presentation about the subject, I would recommend something simple and concrete. For example, I could start by making a tally of things that consume most of my time. Hourly resolution would be quite decent for this end.

  • Prepare: I prime environments, produce data and document
  • Test: I hunt bugs using methods that work for this end
  • Explore: According to my discoveries, I explore and report defects
  • Braindeath: I sit at a meeting. They might need me in some of them, but often not really. I collect KPI-data from here and there and data mine it in Excel to a more spectacular form etc.

In one weekend the picture starts to form. In which area of work I spend most of my time and whre should I be spending it instead, so that my colleagues, managers and clients would get the most out of my testing?

If what I do is mostly prepare and tune, it can mean that the developers ought to put mre effort in testability. If I mostly explore and report bugs, it can mean that the software is not at a mature level. If I mostly sit at meetings and gather KPI-data, it can mean that the requirements of the organization are no longer in line with its real goals.

Gathering data can feel useless at first. But let’s imagine a scenario where you have to give basis for your findings for your boss? What would be better than plain facts as metrics?

I challenge you. What were you working on this week?

Software testing

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