Bhushan Gupta, Gupta Consulting, LLC.
Data mining is exciting as it provides answers to questions that are essential to make business decisions. The testing activity generates a wealth of data ranging from product quality to testing productivity for improving testing operations. With some extra effort, it is possible to excite the software development groups to seek better development practices.
This paper describes how the data collected by a test group at Hewlett-Packard provides decision support to the program management team, insight into test productivity and improvement opportunities for the software development teams. The data mining goes beyond the normal collection of defect patterns during product development and includes test execution productivity, defects found per hundred test cases, defect aging patterns and code volatility. The data has provided insight into performance of the test teams, a comparison of effectiveness between manual and automation testing and supported the natural rhythmic observations of product development. An organization may choose to limit the use of test data to only provide release decisions but in reality, the data has rich information to guide improvements to the overall software development lifecycle.