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Bugs in software development: How to identify and prevent.

Have you ever wondered what the cost of a bug is? Can this thing, minor at first glance, really cause that severe damage, as many programmers and testers claim? Is there any way to entirely prevent bugs in the software development process? Let’s dig in the matter step by step.

What are bugs and where do

they come from?

As you most probably know, a bug is an error or a failure making the system not work as expected, that can be caused by multiple reasons, the most important being:

  • Sophisticated software
  • Missed or misunderstood requirements
  • Shortage of time to release

As for the coding errors, their number is continuously decreasing with the advent of modern software development tools, so today they can’t be called one of the noteworthy bug reasons.

Looks quite simple and logical.

OK, – one may say, that’s life, we’re all humans, the reasons above are understandable and bugs – expected. So what’s the panic around the bugs detection and prevention then?

Why is timely bug detection

that important?

According to Tricentis, the worldwide economy lost $1.1T, equivalent to over 315 years working time (think of this number!) due to the software failures in 2016, while 4.4B customers were affected.

On the scale of a single company this can mean:

– huge programmers, project managers productivity decrease;

– respectively, a significant money loss for the product/service provider and the client;

– unhappy clients;

– hard reputation hit for the software development services provider

And this last fact can quickly ruin a business if left unattended.

Who would be ready to pay for a product, full of errors, causing numerous problems at the client’s side? Word of mouth spreads too fast, especially with available high-speed internet, but the digital footprints are almost impossible to erase from the world wide web. Nowadays, when a negative review can destroy a company, product owners and the professionals involved in its creation have to be especially attentive to its quality. The number one task here is to identify as many bugs as possible and prevent the apparition of new ones on the development stage, the earlier, the better.

Three hints on bugs identification

and prevention.

1. Be extremely attentive to the requirements.

Project Manager takes the first blow, making his best to understand what exactly does the client expect from the final product and its main development stages. Here’s where the teamwork comes to the fore. Mutual understanding between the Project Manager and the developers’ team, and collaboration inside the team plays a key role in shaping the final product in the form in which the buyer will like it.

2. Perform constant code reviews.

No matter how sure you are of your creation, it’s strongly recommended the code to be reviewed both by its creator and someone else for objectivity. You’re welcome to use the following checklist for the matter:

1. Keep the code formatting. Your code has to be readable and without blockers.

2. The code should follow the defined architecture.

3. Be sure your code meets the following non functional requirements:
– Maintainable (readable, testable, debuggable and configurable)
– Reusable
– Reliable
– Extensible
– Secure
– Performant
– Scalable
– Easy-to-use (from the client’s point of view)

4. Apply coding best practices, like configuration values usage, write comments for the reasons you’re doing something, use framework features when possible.

5. Implement object-oriented analysis and design (OOAD) principles.

3. Test, Test, Test.

The two main testing models, commonly used by modern software developers, Agile and Waterfall, are fundamentally different, though applied almost equally. Let’s check their specifics.

1. Structure.

Unstructured testing with minimal planning (Agile)

vs.

Determined structure and detailed description (Waterfall).

2. Projects to apply for:

Small projects (Agile)

vs.

All sorts of projects (Waterfall).

3. The right moment to apply.

Every time new feature or logic is released, so that the errors can be fixed anytime (Agile)

vs.

After the development phase completion, as any changes implemented before the end make the project start from the very beginning (Waterfall)

4. Documentation.

Minimum documentation (Agile)

vs.

Voluminous documentation for each step (Waterfall)

5. Features delivery.

Features are shipped to the customer at the end of each iteration (Agile)

vs.

The customer has to wait till the end of the entire development process (Waterfall)

6. Teamwork.

Constant close communication between the developers and testers while requirements analysis and task planning (Agile)

vs.

Separate work for the teams, while developers are excluded from the product analysis process, working as simple executors (Waterfall)

While Agile testing is an ongoing process, starting at the moment the project begins and involving close and development teams interaction in order to achieve the highest possible product quality, the Waterfall testing type is a much more formalised and, respectively, slow and expensive way to test the product, though finding its use in large projects.

Check below the 5 phases of the agile testing life cycle, that is repeated for each iteration:

The agile lifecycle above demonstrates this testing model’s advantages, like:

  • Time and money saving
  • Reduced documentation
  • Flexibility and adaptability
  • Periodic feedback from the end user
  • Better bugs and issues determination, due to the daily meetings.

So the best about Agile testing is that it decreases the bugs cost (potentially huge as we already know) due to the early defects detection.

To Sum Up:

In the days of inevitable online presence for each business, that wants to exist for its potential customers, the price companies pay for its employees’ code issues, and bugs is way too high to neglect the bug prevention and detection measures software testing can offer. In terms of the development and testing process optimisation, the Agile method has proven itself like the most efficient one from those currently existing on the market. Still, whatever testing model you apply for your product, your costs, explicit and implicit, will be much lower than if you neglect software testing.


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