Know the Quality Measures and Indicators Prescribed by Software Testing Experts
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Quality Measures and Indicators Prescribed by the Software Testing
Software development & testing experts rightly declare "We cannot control
what we cannot measure". Thus in order to successfully measure quality of any
software application, first of all we need to understand the key differences
between the elements of chain of three interconnected quality terms like;
measures, metrics & indicators.
A measure is to ascertain or appraise by comparing to a standard.
A metric is a quantitative measure of the degree to which a system,
component, or process possesses a given attribute.
An indicator is a device or variable, which can be set to a prescribed state,
based on the results of a process or the occurrence of a specified
A standard or unit of measurement covers:
# The extent, dimensions,
capacity of anything, especially as determined by a standard.
# An act or
process of measuring; a result of measurement.
It is a calculated or composite indicator based upon two or more measures.
An indicator usually compares a metric with a baseline or expected
A measure gives very little or no information in the absence of a trend to
follow or an expected value to compare against.
A metric is a comparison of two or more measures like defects per thousand
source lines of code.
Indicator help the decision-makers to make a quick comparison that can
provide a perspective as to the "health" of a particular aspect of the
Measure does not provide enough information to make meaningful
Software quality metrics is used to assess throughout the development cycle
whether the software quality requirements are being met or
Software quality indicators act as a set of tools to improve the management
capabilities of personnel responsible for monitoring software development
The software quality indicators address management concerns, take advantage
of data that is already being collected, are independent of the software
development methodology being used, are specific to phases in the development
cycle, and provide information on the status of a project.
Software Testing experts like ISTQB advanced certified Test Managers
prescribe following quality indicators for use during the software testing &
development life cycle.
1) Progress: Measures the amount of work accomplished by the developer in each
phase. This measure flows through the development life cycle with a number of
requirements defined and baselined, then the amount of preliminary and detailed
designed completed, then the amount of code completed, and various levels of
2) Stability: Assesses whether the products of each phase are sufficiently stable
to allow the next phase to proceed. This measures the number of changes to
requirements, design, and implementation.
3) Process compliance: Measures the developer's compliance with the development
procedures approved at the beginning of the project. Captures the number of
procedures identified for use on the project versus those complied with on the
4) Quality evaluation effort: Measures the percentage of the developer's
effort that is being spent on internal quality evaluation activities. Percent of
time developers are required to deal with quality evaluations and related
5) Test coverage: Measures the amount of the software system covered by the
developer's testing process. For module testing, this counts the number of basis
paths executed/covered, & for system testing it measures the percentage of
6) Defect detection efficiency: Measures how many of the defects detectable
in a phase were actually discovered during that phase. Starts at 100% and is
reduced as defects are uncovered at a later development
7) Defect removal rate: Measures the number of defects detected and resolved over a
period of time. Number of opened and closed system problem reports (SPR)
reported through the development phases.
8) Defect age profile: Measures the number of defects that have remained unresolved
for a long period of time. Monthly reporting of SPRs remaining open
for more than a month's time.
9) Defect density: Detects defect-prone components of the system. Provides
measure of SPRs / Computer Software Component (CSC) to determine which is the
most defect-prone CSC.
10) Complexity: Measures the complexity of the code. Collects basis path counts
(cyclomatic complexity) of code modules to determine how complex each module
Following table illustrates the software quality indicators used
during the development phase.
quality indicators discussed above have certain characteristics related to
quality measures. Accordingly software testing experts like Test Managers have
made few conclusions like.
1) Quality measures must be oriented
toward management goals. One need not have extensive familiarity with technical
details of the project.
2) Quality measures should reveal problems as
they develop and suggest corrective actions that could be taken.
Quality measures must be easy to use. They must not be excessively time
consuming, nor depend heavily on extensive software training or experience.
Measures that are clearly specified, easy to calculate, and straightforward to
interpret are needed.
4) Quality measures must be adequately
5) We must not
use quality measurement just for the purpose of quality assurance & software
testing managers & engineers must come out of the narrow notions they happen
to have about the constituents of the
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