Getting a report card

A lot of people struggle with figuring out ways to get better at software testing. An additional challenge is to figure out some way to measure progress. There are a lot of bad metrics out there for measuring tester effectiveness. However, in a recent post on the software-testing list, Cem Kaner had the following insight that I thought was too good not to share:
Figure out what types of tasks you are responsible for. Figure out the attributes of those tasks. For example, what makes a good bug report? What makes a good risk analysis? What makes a good test plan? Develop your lists with colleagues who you respect.

Have a colleague you trust and respect review samples of your work against your criteria. (Do the same for her.) That review is your report card.

This doesn’t provide a tidy number. But if you’re trying for continuous quality improvement, this probably gives you more and better information.