Do You Know Where Your Software Bugs Are?

Do You Know Where Your Software Bugs Are?
March 04 14:00 2011 Print This Article

If you work on one of those QA or Dev teams that have weekends off (rare, I know) bug-tracking can be exceedingly difficult. With two days away from the office, it’s especially easy for the low priority bugs to get lost in the mix. Despite some remarkable advances in bug-tracking software, many companies still lose track of their software bugs. Does this sound familiar?

Of course, that’s just one of the many problems with bug-tracking software. Here’s a nice 3-point summary of the situation from the UserMetrix blog, in an post aptly titled: The Problems With Bug Tracking:

Triaging becomes increasingly difficult. With bug tracking alone, it is a bit of a black art to determine the severity of an issue or the importance of a new feature. Particularly when extremely vocal users are involved – of course their problem is of utmost importance to them, but is it representative of a large body of users suffering in silence? Without collecting data and making some measurements, how can you really be sure that you have correctly triaged an issue?

How can you encourage people to send feedback? Let’s imagine you are one of the users of your product. You are hammering the software like crazy – desperately trying to meet a deadline. Then –- bam. The application implodes. Right at the same time, your boss rolls in – “Hey Milton, are you done yet?” Arrrggggghhh! The people who built that particular application are not Milton’s favorite people at this point in time. In fact, Milton blames them for missing his deadline. Never mind that Milton has just spent the last two weeks browsing reddit. Do you really think Milton is in the right frame of mind to help you out by sending in a bug report? Are you really going to get the information you need out of Milton to make your software better?

Cruft collection. After a while you end up with a list of bugs and feature requests that have been sitting around for years. The sort of stuff you would really love to fix or add, but never really have the time, or maybe it is just too difficult to implement right now. Whatever the reason, there always seems to be more important things that need doing right now, and the cruft you collect becomes increasingly irrelevant and obscures the real issues facing your users today.

So if you have the weekend off, enjoy it, but don’t forget about your low priority bugs when you get back on Monday. If you don’t have the weekend off, then get back to work :)


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Nataliia Vasylyna
Nataliia Vasylyna

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