Software Testing Metrics: Definition, Types & Example

Software Testing metrics are quantitative steps taken to evaluate the software testing process's quality, performance, and progress. This helps us to accumulate reliable data about the software testing process and enhance its efficiency. This will allow developers to make proactive and precise decisions for upcoming testing procedures.

What is a metric in software testing metrics?

A Metric is a degree to which a system or its components retains a given attribute. Testers don't define a metric just for the sake of documentation. It serves greater purposes in software testing. For example, developers can apply a metric to assume the time it takes to develop software. It can also be assigned to determine the numbers of new features and modifications, etc., added to the software.

Importance of Software Testing Metrics

As mentioned, test metrics are crucial to measuring the quality and performance of the software. With proper software testing metrics, developers can−

  • Determine what types of improvements are required to deliver a defect-free, quality software
  • Make sound decisions about the subsequent testing phases, such as scheduling upcoming projects as well as estimating the overall cost of those projects
  • Evaluate the current technology or process and check whether it needs further modifications

Types of software testing metrics

There are three types of software testing metrics−

  • Process Metrics: Process metrics define the characteristics and execution of a project. These characteristics are essential to the improvement and maintenance of the process in the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle).
  • Product Metrics: Product metrics define the size, design, performance, quality, and complexity of a product. By using these characteristics, developers can enhance their software development quality.
  • Project Metrics: Project Metrics determine the overall quality of a project. It is used to calculate costs, productivity, defects and estimate the resource and deliverables of a project.

It is incredibly vital to identify the correct testing metrics for the process. Few factors to consider−

  • Choose your target audiences wisely before preparing the metrics
  • Define the goal behind designing the metrics
  • Prepare metrics by considering the specific requirements of the project
  • Evaluate the financial gain behind each metrics
  • Pair the metrics with the project lifestyle phase that delivers optimum output

Software testing can be further divided into manual and automated testing.

In manual testing, the test is performed by QA analysts in a step-by-step process. Meanwhile, in automated testing, tests are executed with the help of test automation frameworks, tools, and software.

Both manual and automated testing has its strength and weakness.

Manual testing is a slow process, but it allows testers to handles complex scenarios.

The most significant advantage of automated testing is that it enables testers to run more testing in less time, covering a substantial level of permutations, which is nearly impossible to calculate manually.

Types of Manual Test Metrics

Manual Test Metrics are of two types−

Base Metrics

Base metrics are data collected by analysts during test case development and execution. These metrics are submitted to test leads and project managers by preparing a project status report. It is quantified by using calculated metrics −

  • Number of test cases
  • Number of test cases executed

Calculated Metrics

Calculated metrics are derived using data from base metrics. The test lead gathers these data and converts them to more meaningful information for tracking the progress of projects at the module level, tester level, etc.

It comprises a significant part of SDLC and empowers developers to make vital improvements in software.

Most used Metrics

Below are the types of metrics, popularly used by developers and testers

  • Defect metrics: This metric allows developers to understand the various quality aspects of software, including functionality, performance, installation stability, usability, compatibility, etc.
  • Defects finding rate: It is used to identify the pattern of defects during a specific timeframe
  • Defect severity: It enables the developer to understand how the defect is going to impact the quality of the software.
  • Defect cause: It is used to understand the root cause of the defect.
  • Test Coverage: It defines how many test cases are assigned to the program. This metric ensures the testing is conducted to its full completion. It further aids in checking the code flow and test functionalities.
  • Defect fixing time: It determines the amount of time it takes to resolve a defect
  • Test case efficiency: It tells the efficiency rate of test cases in finding defects
  • Schedule adherence: Its primary motive is to figure out the time difference between the planned schedule and the actual time of executing a schedule.

Test Metrics Life Cycle

The life cycle of test metrics consists of four stages−

  • Analysis: In this stage, developers identify the required metrics and define them.
  • Communicate: Once metrics are identified, developers have to explain their importance to stakeholders and the testing team.
  • Evaluation: This stage includes quantifying and verifying the data. Then testers have to use the data to calculate the value of the metric.
  • Report: Once the evaluation process is finished, the development team needs to create a report including a detailed summary of the conclusion. Then the report is distributed among stakeholders and relevant representatives. The stakeholders then give their feedback after reading the information carefully.


Different metrics comes with their defined analysis pattern. Therefore, it's crucial to select the right metrics as per the software requirement. Using software testing metrics is a productive and efficient way to track and fix defects early.

Updated on: 13-May-2021

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