Defect Management Process

It is important that the defect information, which is a natural by-product of the defect management process, be analyzed and communicated to both project management and senior management.  This could take the form of defect rates, defect trends, types of defects, failure costs, etc.  From a tactical perspective, defect arrival rate (rate at which new defects are being discovered) is a very useful metric that provides insight into a project's likelihood of making its target date objectives.  Defect removal efficiency is also considered to be one of the most useful metrics, however it can not be calculated until the system is installed.  Defect removal efficiency is the ratio of defects found prior to product operation divided by the total number of defects found in the application.

Information collected during the defect management process has a number of purposes:

To report on the status of individual defects.

To provide tactical information and metrics to help project management make more informed decisions -- e.g., redesign of error prone modules, the need for more testing, etc.

To provide strategic information and metrics to senior management -- defect trends, problem systems, etc.

To provide insight into areas where the process could be improved to either prevent defects or minimize their impact.

To provide insight into the likelihood that target dates and cost estimates will be achieved.

Management reporting is a necessary and critically important aspect of the defect management process, but it is also important to avoid overkill and ensure that the reports that are produced have a purpose and advance the defect management process.

The basis for management reporting should be the information collected on individual defects by the project teams.  Thus the information collected during the defect management process and the classification of individual defects needs to be considered by each organization.