Monday, January 25, 2016

Survey Results for the Tester to Developer Ratio - January 2016

For the past month, I have been collecting surveys to see which tester to developer ratios are in use in various organizations. In addition, I asked some other questions about management attitudes toward dealing with testing workloads. I'll publish those results a little later.

This was a small survey of 22 companies worldwide, 19 of which were able to provide accurate information about their tester to developer ratio.

This survey is part of ongoing research I have been conducting since 2000.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to date.

Before I get into the findings, I want to refer to two articles I have written on this topic. These articles explain why I feel that the data show there is no single ratio that works better than others. Getting the right workload balance is a matter of tuning processes and scope, which includes optimizing testing to get the most efficiency with the resources you have.

You can read these articles at:

The recent findings are:
  • The range of ratios are much tighter. The range was 1 tester to 1 developer on the richer end of the scale, to 1 tester to 7 developers on the leaner end. I feel that some of this is due to the small sample size.
  • The majority of responses (16) indicated just three ratios: 1 tester to 1 developer on the low side to 1 tester to 3 developers on the high side.
  • The most common ratio was 1 tester to 2 developers
  • The average was also 1 tester to 2 developers 
  • People reported poor, workable and good test effectiveness at all ratios. The variation was wide. There were no noticeable indications that a particular ratio of testers to developers worked any better than another, simply due to the ratio.

This survey showed much richer ratios than any other survey I’ve taken. This could be due to the impact of agile methods. Most of these companies (13) reported they do not anticipate hiring more testers in 2016. I plan to continue this survey to get a more significant sample size.

If you have not contributed to this survey yet, you can still add your responses at:

All responses are anonymous.