Bringing up the topic of software bugs, we can’t avoid starting with a wonderful anecdote, which is undoubtedly the story of catching the first bug. The term “bug” came into use in 1947, when computer scientist Grace Hopper reported a glitch in the Mark II computer. It turned out at the time that the trouble was caused by… a moth, trapped in the device’s relay. Since then, the term has been popularized, and so far it is used to describe any software breakdown.
Mistakes are unavoidable
Each software development differs from the others and often can be very complex. However, there is one thing that unites all these processes, and that is the presence of errors. It is normal for bugs to appear and, in truth, it is rather impossible to remove all of them. Whether the development process runs smoothly depends not on the fact that errors occur, but on how the development team handles their management. Agile web and mobile app developers should have the methods and skills to handle bugs in line with the speed of development.
Bugs have to be paid for
Although bugs are primarily associated with annoying functionality problems, it is important to realize that most often bugs also go hand in hand with much higher development costs, and the longer it takes to discover bugs, the higher the costs go. IBM reports that bugs discovered after product deployment are up to 5 times more expensive than bugs discovered during design!
What does it mean to be Agile?
When talking about error management strategies, it is often referred to as being “Agile“. This is the way of describing the ability to make decisions that result in effective error finding and error handling. There are several proven Agile practices that effectively accelerate error handling. Basically, there are two known and defined methods for managing bugs in Agile software that are considered the most successful.
Determine the scale of the problem
The first Agile method is to determine a bug in terms of how critical it is to the operation of the entire software and what consequences it carries. It allows prioritizing bug fixes, which may be different for each software. For example, a bug that reflects negatively on the communicator may not be as much of a problem for an e-Commerce store. Although the terms naming the scale of the bug problem may be different depending on the team’s preferences, the following levels of bugs are generally agreed upon:
Otherwise, known as a showstopper. This is the most critical type of error, which prevents the operation of the entire system, and threatens data security. This type of error is so serious that it can often prevent further testing of the software.
This is an error that noticeably and negatively affects the operation of basic software functionality, which has no alternative methods of bypassing.
It is characterized by similar features as a level two bug, with the difference that the affected functionalities have their alternative workarounds.
This is a bug that negatively affects the functionality of the software, but it does not prevent the program from fulfilling its primary task.
These are all other errors.
It is important to remember that the priority of repair is worth setting based on the risk of error. What does this mean? Sometimes even a critical error may not be a priority if it occurs very rarely. On the other hand, an error that does not disrupt all functionality, but occurs every time, may be worth putting high on the list of bugs to fix.
A good method for prioritizing bug resolution is to have a meeting between the business representative and the developer and the QA tester. This makes it possible to deal with problems in the product backlog, without having to create a separate one. By bringing the three, different points of view together and analyzing the risk of bugs together, it is possible to determine the best order of software debugging for the business.
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The second method of error management is… to avoid them. In this case, you usually act by releasing short development cycles (DevContinuous Delivery) that allow you to respond quickly to bugs. When implementing DevContinuous Delivery, it’s a good idea to carry out a process known as Continuous Integration, which means checking code during a typical check-in, that then gets verified automatically. It is also standard with this strategy to release a prototype or MVP (Minimum Viable Product), through which the target users of the product have the opportunity to provide their feelings about using the system. Based on the feedback, developers can immediately make adjustments to the software and watch it evolve through user interaction. This solution certainly saves a lot of developers’ time and Product Owners’ money.
Managing structured errors is simpler
An excellent practice when managing errors is to describe them properly. In this way, it is possible to seamlessly follow the process of discovering and dealing with an error and, moreover, to understand its impact on the software. Developing a bug documentation template to organize knowledge of possible risks is worthwhile. Maintaining such a database is, of course, possible in ordinary Microsoft Exel, but it is worth knowing that there are also tools that make bug tracking easier. A bug-tracking tool can help with defect logging, reporting, attribution, and tracking in a software development project. Examples include:
- BugHerd – one of the most user-friendly bug-tracking tools,
- Userback – which allows users to report bugs,
- Marker.io – a visual bug reporting tool for agencies and development teams,
- Smartsheet – a spreadsheet-style bug-tracking program for companies managing multiple projects,
- Zoho BugTracker – a bug-tracking tool that allows you to prioritize and prioritize issues.
Don’t be afraid of bugs
Going through bugs is a normal software development process that you don’t have to be afraid of, having knowledge of agile strategies for managing them. What can really threaten software is the unawareness of existing bugs and lack of control over them. The key to avoiding the unpleasant consequences that bugs can bring is a well-integrated team that is able to ensure effective collaboration. At Applover, our team of developers, thanks to their diverse experience, is not afraid to work with even the most demanding software. With a team behind you that efficiently manages bugs, you’ll avoid additional costs and excessive time to market.