S11-503: Deception Dangers of the Numbers Game

Track: Management Perspectives for Testers

Many of us have crafted numbers and proudly reported them as valuable insight on product quality. The drive to quantify and justify our projects through metrics is pervasive. Many stakeholders crave metrics in the hopes of simplifying their decision making process. Many testers are quick to respond with extensive graphs and charts. However, there is a serious problem in attempting to articulate the state of the testing solely through metrics. How do you identify the correct metrics? How do you ensure those metrics are sufficient, accurate and conclusive? This session will review the importance of moving beyond the numbers game, placing less emphasis on providing the metrics and more emphasis on the contextual conversation metrics should be generating.

Key points of the presentation include:

  • Review the deception dangers inherit with metrics and best practices in measuring product quality
  • Discuss the subjectivity of quality and value and how this difference in perspectives can result in debate between stakeholders and testers;
  • Examine the need to transition from defining the right metrics to providing metrics that illustrate a story and generate conversation with stakeholders
  • Discuss the importance of educating stakeholders to question the numbers and engage in discussion to better understand what is known and unknown about the product

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Session Speaker:

Lynn McKeeLynn McKee – Consultant, Quality Perspectives
Lynn McKee is an independent consultant with 15 years experience in the IT industry and a passion for helping organizations, teams and individuals deliver valuable software. Lynn provides consulting on software quality, testing and building high performing teams. An advocate of the context-driven perspective, her focus is on ensuring testing teams are enabled with effective, adaptive and scalable approaches aligned with the organization’s quality needs. Lynn is an active member of numerous software testing associations, speaks at conferences, writes articles and contributes to blogs and forums. Lynn is a co-founder of the Weekend Testers Americas and the Calgary Perspectives on Software Testing Workshop.