For organizations that want an objective measurement of how well teams are doing relative to each other, what are...
the most important software quality metrics to track?
There are two underlying assumptions in this question. One is that software quality metrics are objective in and of themselves, and the second is that metrics are an objective way of measuring a team's effectiveness. Neither of these assumptions is entirely correct.
Defect removal efficiency measures the development team's effectiveness at removing defects prior to a release. It is calculated by dividing the total number of defects resolved by the total number of defects found pre- and post-release. Defect detection percentage measures the test team's effectiveness at finding defects. It is determined by dividing the total number of defects found before and after the release by the number of defects found prior to the release.
Both of these software quality metrics, especially when reviewed together, provide objective measurements of the releases themselves. When the metrics of various releases are compared to each other -- assuming the metrics are calculated at the same length of time post-production -- they could be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the teams relative to each other. Another way of using these metrics to evaluate teams would be to compare the ratios for each team over a series of releases.
However, there are other factors that are critical in the evaluation of teams that these metrics, or most other software quality metrics, don't capture. Some of these factors include the complexity of the code, the severity of the defects found post-production, and the relative amounts of time scheduled for coding and testing the releases. For example, one team may have high ratios, but there may have been a critical defect leaked to production that caused a loss of customers. Perhaps a customer satisfaction metric would address these issues, but that would be subjective rather than objective.
In conclusion, post-production software quality metrics may be useful in evaluating teams, but they don't provide the total picture of a team's productivity and competency, especially when comparing teams against each other.
Better metrics for planning and tracking data center investments
Find the project metrics you need to track your Agile team's performance
Dig Deeper on Building Software Project Teams
Related Q&A from Gerie Owen
How much do you need to understand about the product and industry you're testing in? Expert Gerie Owen thinks the answer is probably more than you'd ...continue reading
It's tempting to think that the best testers are those with lots of technical experience. But, according to expert Gerie Owen, technology can only ...continue reading
Finally there are funds available for training, but where should software testers invest? Expert tester Gerie Owen offers her advice on getting the ...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.