In the previous article in this series, we moved from a discussion of process metrics to a discussion of how metrics can help you manage projects. I talked about the use of project metrics to understand the progress of testing on a project, and how to use those metrics to respond and guide the project to the best possible outcome. We looked at the way to use project metrics, and how to avoid the misuse of these metrics.
In this final article in the series, we’ll look at one more type of metric. In this article, we examine product metrics. Product metrics are often forgotten, but having good product metrics helps you understand the quality status of the system under test. This article will help you understand how to use product metrics properly. I’ll also offer some concluding thoughts on the proper use of metrics in testing, as I wind up this series of articles.
As I wrote above, product metrics help us understand the current quality status of the system under testing. Good testing allows us to measure the quality and the quality risk in a system, but we need proper product metrics to capture those measures. These product metrics provide the insights to guide where product improvements should occur, if the quality is not where it should be (e.g., given the current point on the schedule). As mentioned in the first article in this series, we can talk about metrics as relevant to effectiveness, efficiency, and elegance.
Effectiveness product metrics measure the extent to which the product is achieving desired levels of quality. Efficiency product metrics measure the extent to which a product achieves that desired level of quality results in an economical fashion. Elegance product metrics measure the extent to which a product effectively and efficiently achieves those results in a graceful, well-executed fashion.
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