In our last post we listed the need for some way of measuring Process Improvement without going into too much detail about how. What we were referencing was Quality Assurance Metrics.
We define a metric similar to the way Wikipedia does in that it is the degree to which software possesses some desired characteristic. This feeds directly into the comments from our last post about needing to have something to measure in order to know if Process Improvement has occurred.
More specifically, we can define a Measurement as something that has a single dimension: Height; Weight; Count of defects; Count of Requirements and many others.
A Metric is derived from two or more Measurements and is often expressed as a ratio or a percentage. For example, we might count the number of defects but we might also count the number at each Severity level and then express that as a percentage of the total. This gives us a lot more information as the following example shows:
If we have 100 defects and 20 of them are of the highest severity then we can state that 20% or one fifth are of the highest severity. We can watch that percentage over the duration of the project and track its movement up and down. We can also compare our percentage of highest severity defects to other projects directly using the percentage and see if our percentage is out of line with other projects. Note that this removes the bias that might occur with different project sizes. If someone has a much smaller project, they would expect commensurately fewer defects in total but might experience a similar percentage of high severity ones.
In general metrics normalize the results to allow comparisons.
As Peter Drucker said “you can’t manage what you can’t measure,”
Give us a call to see what Metrics you need!