An effective defect management process is essential for ensuring the safety and security of your software. It involves three key phases: Discovery and Categorization, Resolving Defects, and Verification and Retesting.
This process helps in identifying, fixing, and verifying bugs, and tracking metrics like defect density and aging to continuously improve software quality.
To enhance your defect management process, consider continuous improvement, documentation, communication with stakeholders, and post-mortem analysis.
Launchable enables automated, data-driven Intelligent Test Failure Diagnostics that streamline defect management by analyzing test results, providing detailed reports, and offering predictive test selection to maximize efficiency in bug detection and resolution.
Just like the Justice League, keeping a vigilant eye on the safety and security of your software is critical. But since most developers don’t have super speed (or infinite prep time), keeping track of all the bugs within your software isn’t as easy.
However, a well-defined defect management process can help bring you as close as possible to superhuman powers, and it doesn’t even need any scientific accidents.
It’s never wise to march into battle without a plan, and you can’t develop software without a plan. While you probably have plenty of documentation and direction for how your software should progress, you may not have a plan for when things go wrong.
A detailed, efficient defect management process can make all the difference in how your teams approach and resolve software defects. Typically, there are three phases that should make up your defect management process: Discovery and categorization, resolving defects, and finally, Verification and Retesting.
Each of these has its own individual steps you should consider for your defect management process. You may find that some of those steps work for your teams, or they might not. Either way, we’re going to lay out a blueprint for maximum efficiency within a defect management process.
Discovery and Categorization
This phase is about catching and identifying bugs within the software development process. It’s usually comprised of three steps:
There’s always bound to be bugs in your software. Whether a dev finds it during development, a test fails during QA, or one of your end-users sends a report. Generally, bugs are usually found during manual and automated testing but can also appear during development if caught early enough.
Once a bug has been found, it’s got to be recorded for the future. Typically, these bug reports should have as much detail as possible, including information like:
A description of the defect.
Any steps needed to reproduce the issue.
What the expected behavior is and what actually happens.
Any environmental details (such as OS, browser version, etc.)
Any relevant screenshots or files to help.
With a thorough bug report, teams can narrow defects faster and prevent duplicate entries or losing sight of high-priority issues.
All bugs are unique in how they can impact the software and the teams working on it. Categorizing how severe a bug is and how it should be prioritized is crucial to ensuring the quality of your software isn’t impacted by bugs. This step can be a part of your bug report or categorized after the fact.
You’ll want to assign each defect a severity and a priority level:
Severity can come in many forms (like minor, major, and critical). It should be based on how impactful the defect is.
Priority is often ranked low to high and should be based on how urgent the need is for the defect to be fixed. This can vary based on things like time, severity, and even complexity.
After bugs have been found and logged, it’s time to start squashing them. During this phase, teams will work to identify and fix critical issues.
The most essential part of the defect management process is defect triage. This is a time to hold regular meetings across your dev, QA, and DevOps teams, as well as other stakeholders and product managers, to create a plan of action. This means they’ll work to identify what bugs need to be worked on based on their severity and priority and the timeframe allocated to these fixes.
After defect triage has sorted out what needs to be fixed first, devs are assigned defects to find solutions. Depending on the issue's complexity, they should be assigned to a single dev or a team. You’ll also want to ensure they have all the information they need to understand and resolve the issue, which is why detailed bug reports are so essential.
After being assigned, it’s time to squash those bugs. Devs should be spending their time working on the issues, analyzing the root causes, and making the changes to resolve them. This can also include individual tests for this specific bug to ensure the fix works as intended and doesn’t introduce any new issues to the codebase.
Once bugs have been resolved, your teams will still need to verify that everything is working as intended and to help improve for future iterations.
After devs have worked on the issue, your QA teams will need to verify it’s resolved. They should use the same tests that found the defect and analyze it to ensure that no new issues have popped up in their place.
If everything has gone according to plan, the bug has been completely resolved and can be closed by this point. The bug report should be updated to show it’s been resolved and any notes on how it was fixed. If the bug re-appears in future releases, this report should be reopened and go through the whole cycle if necessary.
Data is incredibly important, and testing offers a ton of it to be digested. Your teams will want to create defect reports and track metrics to monitor the defect management process. Some metrics may include:
Defect Density - The number of defects per line of code (generally in the thousands).
Defect Aging - How long it took to resolve a bug after detection.
Open vs. Closed Defects - Tracking how many defects have been resolved versus how many still need to be fixed.
Defect Trends Over Time - Tracking the total number of defects found and resolved over time.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. You will want to ensure that your defect management process runs as smoothly as possible, which means it will need some helping hands from other aspects of your organization.
Just like with regular software development, you’ll want to look inward and review your internal processes to see if they can be improved. Ideally, you’ll want to work with your teams to see what’s working and what isn’t, like setting up more efficient processes for testing or streamlining code reviews.
The devil is always in the details. Maintaining a record of all the defects your teams have come across during development can be an incredible resource for the future. By keeping important details like status, resolution, and impact, you can use it as a resource for training, references, and auditing.
Of course, you’ll want to keep the relevant people informed of how your defect management process is going. Establishing communication between important stakeholders and your teams is essential so they know how progress is being made and any potential roadblocks during development.
Finally, it’s always a smart idea to take some time to reflect and analyze between releases. Whether you take a deep look with hard data or just use it as a time to formally process how bug triage went, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of what happened, and how to improve in the future. Just remember to adapt these methods to how your teams operate and aim to make it work for everyone across your teams.
Squashing bugs doesn’t need to be left to exterminators. With Launchable, you can streamline your entire defect management process, getting valuable insight and saving your organization time, thanks to our Intelligent Test Failure Diagnostics.
Sift through the noise. Just because a test failed doesn’t mean it’s game over. Launchable analyzes your test results and error logs, giving you a detailed summary of what failed and why. After that, it collects and stores it with similar issues so you can reference it later.
Get a clear view of your defect management. Every test you run gets a detailed report laying out the results and history of similar issues. We also offer a ton of detailed information for your test cases, including links to PRs and builds so that you can spot issues a mile away.
Test smarter, not more often. Maximizing your testing efforts is crucial, but not every test needs to be run every time. With Launchable’s Predictive Test Selection, we analyze your code and git data to show you what test should be run each time. Instead of running every test, Launchable uses machine learning to spot what parts of your code have been affected and tells you what the most relevant tests are, so each one counts.