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Gauging the Performance of Your QA Teams

QA management is about being a collaborative entity to create quality deliverables, rather than achieve an arbitrary quota for how many defects were detected.

· Agile Zone

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Quality assurance professionals have gotten the short end of the stick for years. They're often evaluated by how many bugs they've found, but these numbers can be skewed by the time available to actually test and report everything. QA management is about being a collaborative entity to create quality deliverables, rather than achieve an arbitrary quota for how many defects were detected. Luckily, there are more concrete ways to gauge the performance of your quality assurance teams.

Incident recurrence over time

The number of bugs per sprint may not show the full story, but the quantity of incidents over time can be quite telling. Optimistically, QA teams should be able to not only improve their testing capabilities and mitigate issues early on, but also respond quickly if any problems are detected after release. However, even this may not show the entire context of what a team experienced. Perhaps the client requested a drastic change, leaving little time to completely test and opening vulnerabilities, thereby creating a sharp upturn on your defects report.

You should really be evaluating your QA professionals on their ability to handle recurring issues. Perhaps you deliver 95 percent of committed stories and are aiming for zero production incidents. TechBeacon contributor Todd DeCapua noted that identifying the cause of any missed goals and implementing corrective initiatives will help improve QA efforts and prevent the same issue from happening in the future.

Testing progress

In addition to the number of defects spotted, QA teams can be evaluated on their actual tests. The number of completed tests, planned tests, test cases run and test cases passed are all indicative of where QA is in the project, TechTarget contributor Johanna Rothman stated. In these reports, you'll likely see plateaus because testers uncover new defects as quickly as developers can fix them. The relationship of these metrics is critical to see on one chart in order to fully understand how testers are operating and what progress they're making.

"[W]e were closing defects at the same rate as our tests were uncovering new defects," Rothman wrote. "If we had depicted only one of these measures, our graph would not have told the whole story."

Tools are key

Having the right QA tool on hand will be key to not only boosting testing capabilities but also giving a clearer oversight into testing progress and incident recurrence. Quality test management software not only provides a unified platform for teams to collaborate on, but it also ensures that everyone stays on the same page with real-time changes and notifications. QA teams can prioritize items, schedule tests, integrate with automation systems and generate reports to provide stakeholders with important data that will help measure their overall performance.

When it comes to QA, the number of bugs doesn't tell the entire story. In fact, there could be some vital pieces of context missing to help you further improve the team's efforts. By focusing on the rate of incidents over time and the testing progress itself, you'll be able to better gauge QA performance and provision accordingly.

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Published at DZone with permission of Francis Adanza. See the original article here.

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