TOP 10 Essential Metrics
Automation Best practices Agile
11 mins read
July 14, 2022

Top 12 essential metrics for QA process measuring

In the world of development, there is an undying rule that you can't improve what you can't measure. And of course, this rule applies to quality assurance.

Tania Zhydkova

In the world of development, there is an undying rule that you can’t improve what you can’t measure. And of course, this rule applies to quality assurance.

​​The arrays of produced software are growing exponentially, which means that the amount of test coverage required to guarantee quality is increasing to the same extent. Which also leads to that kind of causal relationship — more lines of code, more defects. So, in addition, to prepare the QA team for test automation and optimisation, you also need to think about implementing an effective bug reporting tool.

However, even with an effective web-based test case management tool in place, it is necessary to understand what progress metrics in software testing need to be applied in order to get a clearer picture of the efficient efforts of quality assurance. In this article, we will analyse what test metrics and measurements are considered essential, which of them are premier in the agile methodology, and which KPI is necessary to track the performance of the team.

How to understand what ​​Quality Assurance metrics to use

The correct understanding of KPI metrics in software testing can eliminate “the future is uncertain, and the end is always near”. 

What does this quote of the Doors mean for the product? It means that the better you know what to measure, the better chance your product will end up in your clients’ hands but not in a trash can of angry investors.

Before you start evaluating your own testing process, you need to determine what specific types of metrics in software testing you might need for this. 

The correct solution here is to make sure you have the answers to the following questions:


How long will it take to test?


How much will it cost to test?


Is it reasonable to use low-cost tests?


What is the severity of the bugs?


What is the status of each bug — closed, reopened, postponed?


How many bugs have to be discovered in perspective?


How much of the software is tested?


Can tests be run on specified time frames and is it possible to fit more in the same time period? 


Will it require more test efforts?

Once the questions are answered you can go further and choose QA testing metrics that can meet your requirements. However, you should remember that metrics are not universal — different businesses need different metrics and measurement in software testing. So, we recommend you learn more about aqua ALM reporting features and explore Report wizard.

So, there are some tools that you can use to identify such metrics. We recommend you learn more about aqua ALM and its reporting features and explore Report wizard.

aqua ALM report with examples of metrics & available report formats

The Report wizard’s functionality can help you identify which criteria are important for your business. It is possible to display different scenarios of your reporting, compare different data types in the same report or create two separate reports and compare which one meets your needs.


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QA effectiveness metrics

Absolute Numbers:

Absolute metrics are a great way to get a general idea of how the current testing processes are built. And their presence is recommended for all types of development.

Test Execution and Bug Fixing

Test metrics in software testing showing the correlation between completed tasks from the total number of functions allow the whole team to understand which errors in which modules disrupt the product and should be addressed primarily:

Test Design

Test design coverage evaluates the correlation between test cases and the number of requirements, while test design performance evaluates the number of test cases generated per day. It is done to find out gaps in functionality on the end-user side:

Test Coverage

Test coverage evaluates test effort and gives the idea of what percentage of the application has been already tested.

User Acceptance Testing

This metric is supposed to discover missed issues that might occur due to gaps in the testing strategy:  

Product Exploitation and Support

This metric is used for strategy improvements to boost testing performance. It also evaluates testing effectiveness by showing the number of undiscovered issues that need to be addressed before production deployment: 

Test Economics Metrics

The cost of testing consists of infrastructure, tools and workforce. This metric evaluates how much needs to be spent to finish the project and how much is actually spent:

Test Execution Status

This metric is better to be represented in a chart to display the total executions organised as passed, failed, blocked, incomplete, and unexecuted.

Defects Created vs. Defects Resolved Chart

This metric is supposed to control defect removal processes and understand testing effectiveness metrics.

Overall Metrics

Overall testing metrics measure the effectiveness of your test strategy in general identifying needed improvements:  

Test Reliability

It’s always nice to have someone to rely on, especially if you’re a QA engineer who wants to trust your testing one hundred percent. The main criteria can be considered the issuance of non-false results to be convinced behind each unsuccessful test. There is a real problem, the test is successful only in a REALLY bug-free feature, and there is no large gap between errors and tests, in other words, true correlation.

Distribution of defects

The number of discovered defects can mean two things — either the testers work very well, or the testers work poorly. 

Jokes aside, the Distribution of defects is a great testing measurement for a software department.

“Exemplary coverage and bug distributions. Scenario 1 describes a situation where coverage ratio is meaningless for future code quality measured by the amount of bugs. Scenario 2 shows a situation where coverage is meaningful.” © Artur Andrzejak

The number of bugs found in certain product areas can tell developers where to go. If the total number of defects found is evenly distributed on one platform, then this is more likely a general problem in development. However, developers should optimise specific environments if such a distribution is uneven.

Metrics for testing process measuring that you shouldn’t track

You probably think if there are any metrics that I should avoid while testing. Are these test automation metrics, or maybe average time spent for testing, or maybe something else?

The answer here is easy there are no metrics you shouldn’t track. But there are such called vanity metrics that you certainly should avoid and exclude from your progress picture.

The vanity metrics can be hidden even in absolute numbers, such a number of executed tests or discovered bugs. The number of downloads of your app can also be a vanity metric. 

So, this metric doesn’t bring any solid insight or contain any information you can use for improvements. 

If you look at some metrics and you think, “wow, awesome”, but either than this, it doesn’t make any sense; you can be sure it is a vanity one.

Any metrics can give you some great insight, but not all of them can fit your QA strategy. If you are a QA lead or a senior developer, most likely, you already know that you will pick just a set of specific metrics to track your progress. And as the product changes, these metrics can be changed for the suitable ones.


The proper use of the metric for software quality is possible to get the desired results from testing. Their presence in modern development processes such as agile helps managers accurately define smaller goals for each sprint. Using benchmarks and KPIs as a navigator, testers understand what result they should get and what numbers they should focus on. In case of deviation from these test efficiency metrics, we can talk about a change in trends. Such deviation can indicate a critical mistake that could jeopardise the success of the project. In this way, managers can pre-check and refocus their team without waiting for the end and thus prevent additional development costs. 

Given all the above, we can unequivocally say that quality metrics in software testing in the development process can improve its quality and prevent unnecessary risks.

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What are quality assurance metrics?

Quality assurance metrics are indicators used to see whether the QA team is keeping up. You can track both how well the team is meeting their targets and how those targets stack up to industry standards.

How do you measure QA performance?

You measure QA performance by QA metrics, such as Defect Detection Ratio, Test Coverage, and Rework Effort Ratio.

What are the types of QA metrics?

QA metrics can roughly be split into test design, test execution, defect detection, and overall outcome types. 

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