QA Staffing Withstands Test of Time

August, 2012

In IT organizations, quality assurance is a well-established function that has changed little over the past six years or, for that matter, over the past two decades. Establishing QA is a small, but vitally important requirement in every process-oriented environment.

Our study, IT Quality Assurance and Testing Staffing Ratios, finds the ratio of QA and Testing Staff to IT staff is currently an average 1.9%, which is unchanged from 2011. Over the past six years, the ratio has remained mostly steady at that level, as shown in Figure 1. The exception is in 2008, when the ratio dipped substantially to 1.4% and then rebounded to 2.2% in a movement that could be recession-related. The variations in the ratio otherwise appear largely insignificant.

QAStaff Fig1 - QA Staffing Withstands Test of Time

IT quality assurance has been around since the beginning of IT, yet even today organizations often underestimate the vital role it plays. A capable IT quality assurance group will improve IT processes, ensuring the effectiveness of projects, especially in application development and maintenance. Quality assurance staff can uncover inconsistencies early in the development cycle, reduce errors, and prevent rework, easily paying its way. But there is also a tendency in some organizations for QA to become overstaffed.

Staffing ratios vary by organization size. The full study helps managers determine the appropriate staffing level for this function by providing three benchmarks by organization size: QA staff as a percentage of the IT staff, QA staff as a percentage of the application group, and developers per QA staff member. The study concludes with recommendations for improving the effectiveness of the quality assurance function within the IT organization.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, IT Quality Assurance and Testing Staffing Ratios. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).

Do you also need staffing ratios for other IT job functions? Consider this collection of all of our staffing ratio reports, which bundles them all into a single report at a significant discount: IT Staffing Ratios–Special Report Bundle.