4.7. Extracting Metrics from the Bug Tracking Database

The bug reports just described are useful in and of themselves, but the bug tracking database can be a source of even more information. Bug data forms the basis of various quality control charts in a number of industries (though the term bug is usually replaced by defect in other fields), and software and hardware are no exception. Using this bug tracking database, you can generate bug analysis charts that allow you to see patterns your bug data. These charts are also excellent for communicating with management because they highlight and illustrate test results that are difficult to explain with raw data.

The following sections introduce some powerful and easy-to-generate charts. These charts will allow you to communicate testing status related to bugs in terms of trends. By communicating in terms of trends, you can summarize key facts. This allows you to get your points across quickly and visually. It also promotes management of the project by key indicators, rather than whatever crisis happens to be going on at the time. These defect charts make up a key part of what I refer to as the test dashboard, which I'll discuss again in the Chapter 5, "Managing Test Cases: The Test Tracking Spreadsheet," and Chapter 9, "The Triumph of Politics: Organizational Challenges for Test Managers."

I create these charts typically by exporting data from a bug tracking database into a spreadsheet. I set up the example spreadsheets for these ...

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