There is a lot more to the software testing processes than just quality assurance, quality control, and verification of the software application. Even though identification and pinpointing the bugs in the system is the fundamental objective of bug management tools, this is only half the battle. The other critical stages in the bug management process include logging the identified bugs in the central database, keeping a track of them, adequate assignment and allocation of human and financial resources to the bug, organizing them, and most importantly, resolving the bugs as soon as possible. It is of the utmost importance that all the bugs and issues that have been discovered and reported have to be logged into the database correctly and in sufficient detail as supporting documents such as snapshot/ videos so that the developers are able to reproduce the problem accurately. The key driving factor behind a proficient bug management system is the communication and collective efforts of the teams; through a clear, two-way communication channel, the management should ascertain that the description and the categorization of the bugs are precise. For the successful implementation of the bug management model in an agile environment, it is critical for every fix and resolves stage to have a verification process.
Bug Tracking and Management Lifecycle
Any kind of deviation from the specified requirements for the software application, or a variation from the expected behavior that can potentially cause problems, can be classified as a bug. Bug tracking and management, on the other hand, is the process of capturing any persisting issues and problems in the system during the testing process and reporting them back to the team through a central repository. An effective bug management tool triages and prioritizes the bugs and issues so that human and financial resources can be assigned to them accordingly. After the bugs are assigned to be resolved, they are continuously monitored by the managers to keep a check on their progress and verified again once it is fixed to make sure that there are no further problems.
Considering that any kind of problem found in the system where the application is not behaving according to the design and specifications is reported as a bug, it can occur at any stage or phase of the development lifecycle. Depending on the nature of the bugs, they can be identified and reported during the development or the testing stage. Owing to this, it is necessary for the managers and team members to embed the bug management tool from the very initial phases of software development.
Contrary to popular opinion, one of the most challenging aspects of the bug management system is the organization and evaluation of bugs, especially as the size of the projects is increasing and the scope is becoming more complex than ever. With the progression of time, the number and density of the defects and issues grow and multiply if they are left unchecked, which causes them to become unmanageable. This is why a bug management and monitoring system is required to reduce the invested time and efforts of the team without making a compromise on the quality.
What Can Be Done to Catch Bugs Early and Mitigate Them?
It is often stated that any security or performance issues or any kind of bugs in the system should be detected and corrected in the early stages of the software development cycle, not only for quality assurance but also to save time and money. However, the real question is how much of a cost difference does the embedding of bug management tools from the early stages actually make? According to a Systems Sciences Institute at IBM, the cost of resolving issues is 6 times more at the implementation stage as compared to the design stage. The same report by IBM also highlights that the cost of fixing bugs at the testing stage of the lifecycle is 10 times more than if the bug was caught and addressed in the design stage. Therefore, the key insight from the report is that as the software product progresses towards the end of its development lifecycle, the bugs are not only harder to detect, but they become even more challenging to resolve.
With an effective bug management software, the teams have access to many valuable features, but most importantly, the central repository which logs in details and facts about bugs and is shared by all team members. This seemingly simplistic aspect of bug management is critical for the software development projects as it builds collaboration and bridges the communication gaps between development and testing teams. All team members can track and monitor the status and progress of issues in real-time which in turn saves a lot of time. Given that all issues and bugs are properly classified and categorized into sections, the managers and team members have better visibility and can trace each bug to the right unit or particular feature. Through this aspect of the bug management system, development and testing teams can work together to identify specific areas that are riddled with defects so that the testing efforts can be targeted towards them specifically. Defects and patterns regarding the bugs in the system can also be generated so that the most defect prone areas can be highlighted and teams can collaborate to prevent bugs from happening altogether. The advanced search and the filter option allows the team members to quickly search and find the relevant issues which are associated with each module or component. The bug tracking and management system also serve as a communication channel for the organization and a common language is established. This enables all teams to work together towards a shared goal as opposed to the traditional approach of working in silos. The integrated approach and tactic of the bug management system ensure that the development of the software application is in tandem with the implementation and testing stages as well.
The investment of time and money in such applications pays off in terms of catching and managing a high percentage of bugs throughout the application lifecycle, resulting in high-quality software, faster.