Defect Management in Software Testing | What it is, Pros & Cons
In the realm of software development, the pursuit of perfection is a never-ending journey. With millions of lines of code and countless interactions, it’s not surprising that bugs can sneak into even the most meticulously created software. This is where defect management comes into play.
It’s a crucial process that ensures that these imperfections are not only identified but also effectively managed. In this blog, we will discuss what it is, its advantages, the potential downsides, and more.
Table Of Contents
- 1 What is a Defect?
- 2 What is Defect Management?
- 3 What is Defect Management Process?
- 4 Why is Defect Management Process important?
- 5 Objective of Defect Management Process (DMP)
- 6 Why Should You Consider Defect Management?
- 7 Defect Management Life Cycle
- 8 Phases of Defect Management
- 9 How to Manage Your Defects Effectively?
- 10 Advantages of Defect Management Process
- 11 Disadvantages of Defect Management Process
- 12 Important Defect Metrics
- 13 Conclusion
- 14 Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Defect?
A defect refers to a flaw or a deviation from the expected behavior in a software application. These defects are also commonly referred to as bugs or issues.
Defects can occur for multiple reasons, such as errors in the code, incorrect logic, incomplete implementation, or unexpected interactions between different parts of the software.
What is Defect Management?
Defect management is a process used in software development and quality assurance to identify, report, prioritize, track, and resolve defects in a software application. It helps maintain and improve the overall quality of a software product.
Defect management is an iterative process that continues throughout the development lifecycle to make sure that the software is of high quality and meets the user’s requirements.
Test automation tools play a vital role in defect management by helping to identify and report bugs efficiently. Top test automation tools like Testsigma integrate seamlessly with bug-tracking tools like Jira, Trello, etc. This integration allows for the automatic creation of bug reports, saving time and reducing the chance of human error in creating bug reports.
What is Defect Management Process?
Defect management is a systematic process that helps in finding and fixing bugs.
The software defect management process involves the following steps,
- Defect identification
- Defect logging
- Defect triage
- Defect assignment
- Defect resolution
- Defect verification
- Defect closure
- Defect reporting
Why is Defect Management Process important?
The defect management process (DMP) is integral to software testing. It’s all about finding and fixing bugs, not just for the testing team but for everyone involved in the software development.
It’s impossible to create software completely free of errors, but you can reduce the number of bugs by fixing them. The defect management process focuses mainly on preventing defects, finding them and fixing them early, and minimizing their impact.
Take a look at the image below. That is what happens when you don’t fix the bugs in the early development stages.
Objective of Defect Management Process (DMP)
The defect management process aims to systematically identify, document, prioritize, track, and resolve defects that arise during the software development lifecycle. The primary goals of DMP include,
- The main aim of the software defect management process is to detect bugs in the early stages of SDLC.
- Implementing the Defect Management Process improves the overall software development and implementation process.
- The Defect Management Process minimizes the adverse effects of defects on software.
- DMP helps identify hidden or latent defects.
- It also focuses on resolving defects.
- Also, it allows you to provide information on the status and progress reports regarding the defect.
- It helps identify the root cause of the issue and determine how best to address it.
- It provides input for information pertaining to the release of the defect.
Why Should You Consider Defect Management?
Defect management is a crucial aspect of software development and quality assurance. You should consider defect management because it offers several benefits, including:
- Identifying and rectifying bugs improves the overall quality of the software. This leads to a better user experience and higher customer satisfaction.
- Unresolved defects can lead to system failures, security breaches, or other critical issues. Having an effective defect management process in place helps mitigate these risks by identifying and addressing problems early in the development process.
- A well-structured defect management process provides valuable feedback for continuous improvement. It allows teams to analyze the cause of the issue and helps prevent similar issues from occurring in the future.
- It helps eliminate false positives caused by anomalies in the test environment, issues with test code or data, or test process flaws.
- Removing duplicate entries that can occur when a bug creates results that seem like separate, unrelated problems.
- It helps ensure that people will still report defects promptly, even if some items are taken off the list.
Defect Management Life Cycle
Software defects occur when the output doesn’t meet the specified business requirements. When the testing team identifies a discrepancy between the actual and expected test results, it’s referred to as a defect. For software teams to manage projects effectively, it’s crucial to understand development, release processes, and defect handling.
Imagine if the testing and development teams communicate defects verbally. That would only complicate things, as it consists of various defect statuses (For example, fixed and functioning, fixed but not working, rejected, postponed, etc.).
To control and handle defects, you need an appropriate defect life cycle. Defect Life Cycle ensures that the process is uniform and standardized. A defect attains different states in the life cycle. After a defect has been found, it goes through various stages during its lifetime, and it is commonly known as the Defect Life Cycle.
Now, let’s discuss the defect management workflow.
Defect Life Cycle
The Defect Life Cycle is a set of defined stages through which a bug passes from identification to closure. It is also known as the bug life cycle. It provides a structured approach to managing and tracking defects in software development and testing processes.
Read more about bug life cycle here: https://testsigma.com/blog/bug-life-cycle/
This image will explain how the entire development team works in bug fixing.
Phases of Defect Management
Defect management is an iterative process. It’s important to continuously refine the process to ensure that defects are caught early, fixed promptly and that the software quality improves over time. Here are the typical phases of defect management:
The initial phase of the defect management process is defect prevention. During this stage, the implementation of established procedures, methodologies, and standard practices helps minimize the risk of defects. It is highly advisable to address defects during this early stage since it is more cost effective and has a smaller impact.
In the later phases, the process of identifying and rectifying bugs becomes more costly, and the consequences of defects can become more severe.
This stage includes the below steps,
- Identify critical risk – Here, you will pinpoint the risks associated with defects that could significantly harm the system if left unaddressed or emerge in later stages. These flaws may affect the system’s performance, structure, operation, and timely delivery.
- Estimate expected impact – During this stage, you will calculate the estimated cost or organizational impact when a critical risk is found in the system.
- Minimize expected impact – Now, you need to work on reducing the impact of the identified critical risk. If sweeping elimination isn’t feasible, we’ll work to diminish the likelihood and impact of its occurrence.
The second phase in the defect management process is the deliverable baseline. The term deliverable refers to the system, documentation, or product being developed.
We can consider a deliverable as a baseline once it reaches its predetermined milestone. During this stage, the deliverable progresses from one step to another, and any existing defects also advance to the next stage or milestone.
In simple terms, once a deliverable is established as a baseline, any other changes are controlled.
The next stage in the defect management process is defect discovery. A bug is considered as discovered only when the developer approves it as a valid one. Fixing such bugs in the early stages is the best way to handle them as it is cost-effective way. When left unnoticed, the bug-fixing process and costs related to it will become higher in the later stages.
The defect discovery stage involves the below steps,
- Identify a defect – Find a defect before it becomes a serious issue.
- Report a defect – Once a bug is identified, it has to be reported to the development for a fix.
- Acknowledge Defect – Now, the development will identify if it is a valid defect and proceed to fix it.
The next stage in the DMP is defect resolution. This stage involves fixing the bugs. It starts with reporting the identified bugs to the development team. Now, the development team will prioritize and work on fixing the bugs and report the status to the test manager, stating the bug is resolved.
The defect resolution phase involves the below stages:
- Prioritize the risk – Once the bugs are reported to the development team, they work on prioritizing the bugs as high, medium, and low. The bugs will also be prioritized based on the defect severity.
- Fix the defect – Now, developers will start working on fixing the bugs based on the priority. First, they work on high-priority bugs, then proceed with the other ones.
- Report the Resolution – When the bugs are resolved by the developers, they will have to report it to the testing team, stating that the issue is fixed.
All the above-mentioned stages involve organizing and fixing issues. Now, let’s focus on addressing the low-priority issues, as they also impact the system in the process improvement phase. From the perspective of process enhancement, all the identified issues are considered equal, and they need to be fixed.
Everyone in the project should identify the root cause of the issue in order to enhance the process. While it’s important to prioritize and address bugs during the defect resolution process, this doesn’t mean that low-priority issues are insignificant or have a minimal impact on the system.
All identified flaws are critical issues in terms of process enhancement. With this in mind, you can modify the baseline document, review process, and validation process to catch defects earlier in the defect management process when they are less costly to fix.
According to statistics, the cost of bug fixing increases as the software moves through different stages of development.
Management reporting is the final step in defect management. Its main aim is to ensure that all the bugs identified and fixed throughout the defect management process are documented.
To put it simply, assessing and reporting defect information aids in organizational and risk management, as well as process improvement and project management. The data gathered by project teams on specific defects forms the foundation of management reporting. Also, it is vital for every organization to analyze the information collected during the defect management process and how defects are categorized.
How to Manage Your Defects Effectively?
Managing defects is crucial in the software development process. Whether a bug is small or big, it’s essential to record, handle, and resolve each one to create reliable applications. Therefore, selecting the right defect management platform is of utmost importance. Several test automation platforms like Testsigma offer features that help you integrate with the defect tracking tools easily. Read here – all about Defect Tracking.
Testsigma, a cloud-based test automation platform, allows you to run automated testing of mobile, web, and desktop apps and APIs in a single platform. It supports more than 3000+ real devices/tablets and 1000+ browser/OS combos for cross-browser testing, portability testing, responsive testing, GUI testing, and more.
It offers several features that help accelerate your testing process. Testsigma fits into your DevOps and CI/CD pipeline so you can continuously test your applications.
Testsigma integrates with third-party applications, including bug tracking tools like JIRA, Trello, Asana, etc. It also smoothly integrates with product management, CI/CD, and collaboration tools, making it a perfect test automation tool for continuous integration and deployment of your applications.
It offers detailed test reports along with details about which test cases failed and why details.
Also, testers can create custom test reports, import them in different formats, and share them with the developers for bug fixing.
It provides you with detailed test logs where you can effectively track the tests and work on fixes.
Advantages of Defect Management Process
Defect management is vital in the software development process. It not only ensures that defects are addressed in a timely and efficient manner but also contributes to overall project success and customer satisfaction. Now, let’s see what other benefits defect management offers,
- Defect-tracking tools are crucial in tracking and reporting the status of the bugs. There are several defect tracking tools available to the market, such as Jira, Hive, Trello, Asana, and more. These tools help monitor bugs.
- A systematic approach to defect management ensures that issues are addressed promptly.
- It helps you to verify whether all the identified or tracked issues have been resolved. In simple terms, it ensures that the tracked issues are rectified.
- Also, this process offers valuable defect metrics and automation tools. These metrics are beneficial for reporting and continuous development efforts.
- Defect management is integral to Agile and DevOps methodologies. It helps in maintaining a fast-paced development cycle by quickly addressing and resolving issues.
- The process of managing defects encourages a culture of continuous improvement.
- Defects and their resolutions are documented. This provides a valuable knowledge base for future projects.
- It facilitates effective communication between development, testing, and other stakeholders. This ensures that all parties are aware of the status of defects and the progress in resolving them.
- High quality products will lead to increased customer satisfaction. Customers are more likely to trust and continue using software that works reliably and consistently.
- Identifying bugs early in the development process helps in reducing the overall cost of fixing them. This is because it’s less expensive to fix a bug in the early stages of development compared to later stages or after the software has been deployed.
Let’s see how the cost of bug fixes might differ when the bug is discovered in different stages of development. Although this image depicts only the cost of the bugs when found in different stages, a missed bug might secretly cost the company more money.
Disadvantages of Defect Management Process
Like any other process, defect management also has its limitations. Here are some of its common disadvantages,
- If the defect management process is not managed properly, it can lead to a significant increase in costs over time, ultimately leading to an increased project budget.
- If bugs are not addressed effectively in the initial stages, they may lead to serious issues when they reach the production stage, leading to increased fixing costs.
- When defect management is not carried out correctly, it can lead to drawbacks such as customer dissatisfaction, negative reviews, loss of revenue, and damage to the brand’s reputation.
- Managing defects can be a time-consuming process, especially if there are a large number of defects to track, prioritize, and resolve. This can potentially slow down the development and release process.
- In a large project with many defects, there is a risk that critical defects might be overlooked due to the volume of reported issues.
- Fixing defects involves regression testing to ensure that the changes don’t introduce new issues. This can be a time-consuming process, especially in complex software systems. Automated regression testing can help speed up the process.
Important Defect Metrics
Consider a scenario where you reported 52 bugs, but only 34 were actual defects. This means 18 reported defects were incorrect due to testing errors. To gauge test execution quality, consider using relevant metrics such as,
- Defect rejection ratio
- Defect leakage ratio
When DRR and DLR are low (5~10%), it indicates higher test execution quality. In this case, DRR is 34.61%, and DLR is 52.94%. This suggests that the test execution quality might not be as high as desired.
Defect management is an indispensable process in software development, ensuring that defects are identified, addressed, and documented in a systematic manner. It ensures that bugs don’t sneak through the cracks.
By leveraging test automation tools, teams can streamline the defect management process, leading to more efficient bug identification and resolution. This ultimately results in higher-quality software products and faster release cycles.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the goal of defect management?
The goal of defect management is to systematically identify, report, track, and ultimately resolve bugs in a product. This process is crucial in software development to ensure the quality and reliability of the final product.