Unfortunately, bugs are unsolicited parts of every software release cycle. While identifying bugs in itself is frustrating for testers, it also costs companies as they freely move to the production and hamper the functioning of the software.
Well! There is no denying that testers leave no stone unturned to ensure that the software or application is free from bugs, however, they still get lucky to turn up post release of the application.
So how do these bugs manage to make it to production?
Here are the 9 reasons why bugs appear in the software applications:
- Less or No Time to Test, intentionally or accidentally! : Sometimes lesser or no time to test often gives bugs a freedom to live in the application. Many times, test engineers due to unavailability of enough time or to meet the deadline, intentionally or accidently skip the testing of certain functions or modules which gives the chances of errors and bugs in the software.
- Less or No time to Develop or Resolve : No matter how organized the development team is, sometimes due to time crunches, they miss developing some important functionality which results in errors in the application. Also, lack of time may sometimes restrict them to resolve the already known issues which throw more defects in the application and this way the overall bugs in the application keep on increasing.
- Incorrect Data or Test Case : Bugs or defects may also crop up post release if the data, logic or test case used while testing the software was incorrect. Since the incorrect data or test scenario itself are irrelevant, the results derived may not be correct. Consequently, bugs will be manifested in the application.
- Unawareness about Functions & Ambiguous Testing Scope : At times, due to unawareness about the application functionalities or testing scope among testers, the application functions remains untested or are tested incorrectly due to ambiguous scope. This prevents testers from triggering or identifying bugs in the first place. Thus, the bugs keep appearing in the application on a continuous basis.
- No Appropriate Bug Logging Resources & Process : A bug resolution is not possible with a proper logging process. If a team lacks appropriate resources and tools to log the defects found while testing, the bugs may slip away during the production and can make their way to the market release. Also, if a tester misses following the process of providing essential details like an error from the log file, steps to reproduce, etc. it would increase the defects and certainly the defect lifecycle in the application.
- Failure to Prioritize : Even when the testing team fails to prioritize the defects, it is difficult for the development team to understand the urgency to solve it and this way the number of bugs in the application lifecycle keeps on increasing. The need to understand the severity and priority of the bugs is essential to cope up with the entire bug management cycle.
- Lack of Communication for Reporting Bugs : Lack of communication from the testing team also result in bugs in the software application. Well, there are fewer chances of testers not communicating about the defect, but in case the tester is working with a senior programmer or is new to the team, even if he finds a possible bug, he may not be comfortable about communicating the same. The problem might also occur if there is a lack of open communication or appropriate communication channels between tester and developer.
- Failure to identify : Many times it happens that bugs get simply missed out of plain sight. This may usually cover visual errors such as wrong descriptions, typos, UI misspellings, incorrect icons, incorrect linking etc. which remain there for a long time and prompt facepalms and “D’oh!” expressions among testers when found. Well, these bugs are usually missed because testers are busy looking at the application functioning. While they do not hurt, they can really cost to the reputation of the company.
- Difficulty Solving Already Identified Bug : There are instances where the development or product management team is unable to solve the already identified and reported bug. In this case, the defect might get carried forward to the production and further to the release which can hamper the application lifecycle. There are also scenarios where the production team let go the application with known bugs to meet release cycles on time.
Apart from all these, many times testing teams are not able to maintain appropriate statuses for defects. Even after they reset or close the bug status, the defect still shows as ready for the test. Also, many testers or testing teams don’t have a dedicated point of contact to communicate defects to all the stakeholders.
In these cases, timely tracking and resolving each and every bug becomes important to avoid further damage to the working of the application.
Here are 9 ways to solve bugs and their tracking problems:
- Use Bug Tracking Tools : With the advancement in technology and testing tools, there are plenty of bug tracking tools like Mantis, Jira, and FogBugz available in the market. With these bug tracking tools, testers can report bugs to the developers and track their status on a common repository. This reduces chances of future errors and helps resolve bugs as and when they are detected and reported by the testers.
- Automate Testing : Implementing test automation can help testers complete the testing process on time and meet the agile or continuous delivery cycles which otherwise is not possible via manual testing. Thus, it is advisable to invest in test automation tools like Selenium, Test Complete, TestingWhiz, etc. to speed up the testing and avoid chances of errors in the application which always happen with manual testing.
- Establish Controlled & Unbiased Test Environment : A controlled test environment will help testers ascertain what is deployed in the build and what changes are made in the software along with its implication which will help in its faster resolution. Also, an unbiased behavior of the testers during the testing process will help identify right bugs and errors in the software at the right time and further avoid an increase in errors in the software.
- Be Transparent & Open : Being transparent about defects and concerns in the software testing process will help testers uncover the real problems. Also, discussing problems openly with the team will give enough time to find the solution which probably will reduce the chances of errors. It may also happen that the product manager may postpone the release to avoid any further damage to the application.
- Test Under Different & Real Scenarios & Data : Whenever possible, it is advisable to use different scenarios and data while testing the application. This will help testers identify the behavior of the application under different combinations and conditions which will eventually help resolve problems specific to a particular data or logic. It will also help avoid future defects and pay attention to scenarios commonly used by the end-users.
- Use Standard Defect Tracking Processes : It is also advisable to use common and standardized defect tracking processes to avoid discrepancy in reporting bugs. If a bug reporting template or a process used by one tester is different from another tester, the developer might end up taking extra hours figuring out the data. Standardization in reporting bugs across the team will reduce the entire exercise of comprehending the scenarios and bug implication leaving more time for developers to focus on resolving them.
- Choose The Best Communication Channel : While reporting bugs, the mode and channel of communication matters a lot. A bug simply communicated via phone might get missed by the developer, on the contrary, a bug reported via email or chat might get more attention and place in the bug resolution spreadsheets of the developer or product owner.
- Check the Application & Backlog from time-to-time : Regardless of whether a company or a tester follows agile cycles or not, keeping a check on the application from time to time will help identify errors early in the process and resolve them as and when they are found. Also, keeping a track of the backlog and working on the issues at regular intervals will reduce the chances of errors being carried forward in the bugs with every release.
- Setup Priority & Severity : Defect priority defines how crucial and urgent it is to fix a specific bug or issue. Hence, every tester should clearly set-up and distinguish bug as per its severity in the application and define its priority accordingly to resolve. This will ensure no bug remains unresolved and affects the working of the application in the long run.
Bug causes identification and resolution is a crucial process for any software application lifecycle and thus, taking some extra time to thoroughly document and report bugs up front will help save a lot of time of testers as well as developers. It would also help ensure that all the bugs are resolved more quickly.
Further, reporting bugs or issues within an application is all about effective communication. Being a tester, you should be well-aware about the fact that every bug is different, and thus you need to tackle them accordingly.
So what’s your take on this? If you want to share your experiences with bug identification and resolution, feel free to write in the comments section below.
About the author: This guest article is written by Nirav Sanghavi. He is a General Manager of Technology & Solutions at TestingWhiz (www.testing-whiz.com), a company providing test automation solutions to enterprises globally. He is a Java geek who loves to code, develop, test and manage everything around Java. He is a follower of agile practices and is involved in application architectural planning, automation strategies, product development strategies and managing client & stakeholder expectations by working closely with a team of software development, QA and software testing.