Automating Software Defect Management

Improving Software Quality with the Art of Effective Defect Management

Key Takeaways

  • Effective defect management is essential for maintaining high-quality software, as software bugs are inevitable but manageable.

  • The defect management process involves systematic identification, prioritization, and resolution of issues, including discovery, resolution, and verification.

  • Defect management tools like Jira, Trello, Bugzilla, TestRail, GitHub Issues, and Asana can significantly streamline the process.

  • Launchable’s Intelligent Test Failure Diagnostics transforms error logs into insights to help teams narrow down the root cause of software bugs and solve problems.

Crafting flawless software is an impossible task — as much as you want to strive for perfection, there will always be bugs in the system somewhere. Software bugs are an unfortunate, inevitable part of software development that can have a massive impact on the quality of your software.

Thankfully, using effective defect management allows organizations to reign these issues in and maintain a high-quality codebase. While implementing a solid defect management process may sound daunting, it can massively improve software quality and the developer experience.

Defect Management

Handling the bugs in your system shouldn’t be a fast and loose operation, especially for sprawling enterprise applications. Defect Management is the systematic and iterative approach to identifying, prioritizing, and addressing issues within your software by taking a strict policy for each and every issue that appears. This includes deep-diving into finding the root cause of the issues, planning how to resolve them, verifying the fix works, and keeping up-to-date records throughout the process.

Defect Management Process

Implementing a defect management process helps your teams handle issues all across the defect life cycle, from start to finish. While some organizations may differ, the typical defect management process looks something similar to this:

  • Discovery and Categorization - When a bug is found, a detailed report gets made. They need to include information such as how to replicate the issue, what happens, and what tests fail. It will also be assigned a category or be prioritized based on the severity of the defect. Then, the defect is assigned to be reviewed and investigated so it can be fixed.

  • Resolution - Now that it’s in the hands of a developer, it’s time to be solved. In this step, the defect is actively worked on to find a solution. It may be recategorized if the issue proves to be more complex than anticipated, or it may sail through with a fix.

  • Verification and Retesting - Once a fix has been provided, the software needs to be tested with this new fix to ensure it’s truly resolved. After it’s been retested, the issue can be closed (if resolved) or sent back to the team if it hasn’t been fixed.

Typically, most organizations will break these down into further steps and refine their process from start to finish, with each of these three steps being just a high-level overview of the entire process.

Refining Your Defect Management

As you can already tell, the entire defect management process is fairly lengthy and requires due diligence from your teams to find and resolve defects on time. It’s a complicated web of steps, prioritization, and retesting to ensure everything works as intended, which means you can easily get lost on your way through, with issues like:

  • Test Failures Galore - No software is perfect, and bugs rarely appear perfectly, one at a time. Your teams are going to be under a lot of pressure when tests start failing left and right — which makes handling and prioritizing issues even more stressful for your team as they wade through the muck.

  • Constant Recurring Issues - Of course, there are always going to be duplicate issues that end up in your defect management process. Your team will need to emphasize making sure that duplicate issues get removed from the overall pool of defects to be resolved, whether by the use of more stringent reports or tools that can analyze issues for them.

  • Inefficiencies in Your Triage Process - We’ve already illustrated how brain-melting the triage process can be, but it doesn’t have to be. When you drill down to the bare essentials of what your process needs to be to get the job done, you can free up time and resources for your teams to work more efficiently.

  • Brain Overload - Needing to sift through pages of error logs and bug reports can end up being a massive cognitive load for your devs. Narrowing down proper procedures for logging defects and using tools that can help digest them will save your team from a major migraine and speed up your entire defect management process.

Defect Management Tools

Bugs have been around just as long as software has been, and thankfully, our tools to catch, track, and resolve these have evolved alongside tech. Using proper defect management tools can make a dramatic impact on not just your defect management process but also boost the developer experience by making their jobs easier. Let’s check out some of the most popular defect management tools:

  • Jira - One of the most popular tools for project management within software development, Jira is an excellent choice (and most likely already being used by your company). It allows you to create reports, prioritize and assign, and keep everyone in the loop as they’re resolved.

  • Trello - More of a kanban team? Trello’s been in the game for a long time, offering a simple Kanban board solution with robust automation tools behind it. Its simplicity and flexibility make it an excellent tool for any team.

  • Bugzilla - Designed entirely around defect management, Bugzilla is a long-standing part of the industry. It offers excellent tracking options and categorization features, and as a free, open-source solution, it’s hard to say no.

  • TestRail - As your software grows, so do your tests. TestRail offers an excellent test case management tool that helps you keep track of your test suites in one centralized location. Plus, it helps plan and execute your tests and gives you insights into their performance.

  • GitHub Issues - Another familiar face that you’re probably already using, GitHub Issues is already baked into the rest of the GitHub platform. You can create, track, and link them to repos, and it all stays ingrained with your Git data so you can stay in the loop.

  • Asana - Similar to Trello, Asana offers a kanban board chock full of features that can help with defect management. You can break up larger tasks into smaller projects with their Kanban boards and set up custom workflows to track issues as they flow down the pipeline.

Defect Management Automation with Launchable

Automation is king and for a good reason. It can massively improve the time it takes to run tests and dramatically improve how you go through the entire defect triage process. And with Launchable’s Intelligent Test Failure Diagnostics, you can add intelligent automation to your entire pipeline.

Transform error logs into insights. Launchable helps your team narrow down the root cause of software bugs and helps drum up solutions. It spots duplicate issues and can eliminate them, speeding up your overall defect triage process.

Your test results all end up in one centralized location, allowing your teams to spot issues as they come in and track repeat offenders. And as tests are recorded, Launchable updates each one to keep your team in the loop with detailed test case results.

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