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Agile Delivery Metric of the Week: Escaped Defects

Plandek, October 13, 2021

What are Escaped Defects?

Escaped Defects is a core Agile delivery metric. As the name suggests, it tracks the number of defects for a release that were identified after the release date (i.e. by customers using the product). As such, Escaped Defects counts the number of defects that evaded the QA and testing process during software development.

As the central objective of Agile software delivery is ‘..the early and continuous delivery of valuable software..’, Escaped Defects is a core Agile quality metric and represents a core objective of effective Agile DevOps.

Experienced Agile teams will closely track Escaped Defects and look to understand why the development and testing process has allowed escaped defects to occur.

Furthermore, as Agile teams become more data-driven, it is important to consider Escaped Defects relative to other key Agile delivery metrics such as Story Points Delivered and Cycle Time. It is not uncommon for quality to suffer as velocity increases, given the fact that every action has a reaction.

Escaped Defects Chart

Example Escaped Defects chart – Plandek Delivery and Engineering Quality dashboard

The chart above illustrates how an end-to-end delivery metrics dashboard like Plandek can help track Escaped Defects relative to other key Agile delivery metrics. The chart shows the relationship between Escaped Defects and Story Points Delivered, a key velocity metric.

Analysis of Escaped Defects: Breakdown and Filtering Options

Delivery metric dashboards like Plandek enable you to analyse delivery, engineering and DevOps metrics in a number of different ways.

For example, you can analyse the type of Escaped Defect by source. The chart below shows Escaped Defects tracked by priority – from P1 (Priority 1) to P4. And this can be viewed by programme.

Escaped Defects Chart 2

Example Escaped Defects drill-down chart – Plandek Delivery and Engineering Quality dashboard

Related metrics

Escaped Defects is one of many Agile delivery metrics. As such it is often used as part of a ‘balanced scorecard’ of agile delivery and DevOps metrics surfaced in real time.

Other Agile quality metrics include:

  • Bug Hotspots
  • Bug Backlog
  • New v Resolved Bugs
  • Bug Resolution Time

Examples of these are shown below in this typical Plandek Delivery and Engineering Quality dashboard.

Escaped Defects Chart 3

Example Plandek Delivery and Engineering Quality dashboard

Key use cases

Escaped Defects is a key delivery metric tracked to ensure that software quality is maintained.

Tracking Escaped Defects is particularly important for:

  • all customer-centric organisations
  • organisations new to Agile software delivery looking to increase their Agile DevOps maturity
  • organisations looking to increase velocity and reduce time-to-market without impacting quality
  • organisations undergoing engineering team change – e.g. moving resources offshore.

About Plandek

Plandek works by mining data from toolsets used by delivery teams (such as Jira, Git, CI/CD tools and Slack), to provide end-to-end delivery metrics/analytics to optimise software delivery predictability, risk management and process improvement.

Plandek is a global leader in this fast-growing field, recognised by Gartner as a top nine global vendor in their DevOps Value Stream Management Market Guide (published in Sept 2020).

Plandek is based in London and works with clients globally to apply predictive data analytics and machine learning to deliver software more effectively.

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