Any organization which maintains medium to large scale projects requires an effective defect management system to keep track of all issues, problems, and related recommendations in the software application. A good defect tracking software which allows the development and quality process to be mapped well in the system is invaluable, and can essentially make or break a project. On the other hand, the lack of these tools and software generates a higher defect escape rate, creates bottlenecks in the system, and does not fully reveal the state of the software. Consequently, these challenges which arise in the absence of a defect tracking system can be an albatross around the neck of the project.
Basic Features of the Defect Tracking System
For a majority of the defect tracking and management system, supporting the triage of the incoming issues and bugs is inherent; it includes, detecting the bug, allocating the severity and priority of the defect, and finally assigning the issue to the right developer. A particularly beneficial feature of the defect tracking software is that it is generally a standard practice for the project teams to create and define filters for the defects through this tool. This enables them to create a targeted list of the bugs, for instance, a list of issues which have been assigned to a particular developer, or the list of open crashing defects. In addition to this, this software also has an in-built report generation feature which can be viewed in real-time. Not only do these reports comprise comprehensive details and valuable insights about the defects, but they also offer further visual assistance through graphical presentations like pie-charts, etc. The visual aid presentation feature particularly comes in handy for producing quality metrics for the software application, however, when they are combined with code coverage results, they become indispensable as they can direct the testing efforts more efficiently in the future. Better visibility of the entire project and improved traceability of the issues to their origin are two additional advantageous features of this system.
Trends in Defect Tracking and Management System
In the context of trends, the primary function of the defect tracking system was to the traditional spreadsheets that were previously used by project teams. During the past few years, defect tracking tools have gained significant traction in the software development industry and are being widely implemented by information technology companies. Defect tracking and management are predominantly used by companies throughout the software development lifecycle to track the progress of bugs and map them onto the quality assurance process. This software largely aims to bridge the gap between the companies – or more specifically the development team – and the end-users as it creates a platform for them to communicate directly. With the help of this tool, the customers are able to report their problems at any point, directly to the person who can fix them. Apart from identifying issues and defects in the early stages of the software development lifecycle for cost and time efficiency, defect tracking is also largely used by companies to meticulously monitor the bugs and issues and to obtain quality metrics. This system also maintains a database or a central repository that comprises all necessary facts and details of the reported bugs and defects. Access to this central database is shared by all relevant team members and can be used in real-time which subsequently saves a lot of time. It includes pertinent information like the severity and priority of the bug, the name of the team member who reported the issue, the origin of the defect, the name of the developer who has been assigned to resolve the issue, and lastly, the unexpected behavior of the program. In an agile driven organization where continuous delivery has become the norm and the release cycle has shortened dramatically, using a sophisticated and proficient defect tracking software is no longer optional. Using spreadsheets and word files instead of these tools is not only time-consuming and tedious, but it is also highly error-prone and inefficient, to say the least.
The Extent to Which Defect Tracking Contributes to Improving Quality
Defects and bugs go hand in hand with the software application development so they are a necessary evil, but the painful process of tracking, managing, and organizing them can be eased through the defect tracking system. With these tools at their disposal, the teams are able to consolidate and streamline their quality assurance processes. They are specifically designed to bring the defects and bugs in the application to the attention of the developer or tester in a systematic way. It provides a lot of information and data about the environment of the problem so that it is easier for the teams to isolate, categorize, backtrace, prioritize, and resolve them. The primary contribution of defect tracking tools comes in the form of features that helps the project managers to unify their teams and streamline business processes through effective collaboration efforts (which is a major part of the defect resolving process). As opposed to the narrow-sighted tools which are embedded in the traditional systems, defect tracking tools are also able to integrate with the other tools or software being utilized by the organization. It offers a complete suite of project management features which essentially paves the way for seamless planning and management of tasks.
Simply put, defect tracking software is a user-friendly interface with a customizable dashboard used for improved communication and an easier flow of information. With the use of this tool, the overall productivity and efficiency of the system are automatically enhanced as it helps the project teams to pace, monitor, and triage their defect-related work. What basically makes this software stand out is that it takes not only the priority and severity of the bugs into account, but it also considers the workload capacity and bandwidth of the team members before assigning issues to them.