Useful Automated Software Testing Metrics

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By Thom Garrett - IDT, LLC

“When you can measure what you are speaking about, and can express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind.” -- Lord Kelvin, a physicist.

As part of a successful automated testing program it is important that goals and strategies are defined and then implemented. During implementation progress against these goals and strategies set out to be accomplished at the onset of the program needs to be continuously tracked and measured. This article discusses various types of automated and general testing metrics that can be used to measure and track progress.

Based on the outcome of these various metrics the defects remaining to be fixed in a testing cycle can be assessed; schedules can be adjusted accordingly or goals can be reduced. For example, if a feature is still left with too many high priority defects a decision can be made that the ship date is moved or that the system is shipped or even goes live without that specific feature.

Success is measured based on the goal we set out to accomplish relative to the expectations of our stakeholders and customers.

Automated Testing Metrics

Metrics can aid in improving your organizations automated testing process and tracking its status. These metrics and techniques have successfully been used by our software test teams. As the quote at the beginning of this article implies, if you can measure something, then you have something you can quantify. If you can quantify something, then you can explain it in more detail and know something more about it. If you can explain it, then you have a better chance to attempt to improve upon it, and so on.

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