Defect Tracking Essentials
Defect tracking is probably the most important thing in every software development project. Maybe it is even the most important issue in the entire software development industry. That is because of the specific features of software industry. Software development projects are usually extremely complex. They become more intricate year after year because of the technical progress. More complex applications require more complex codes. It means that the code of any software product may contain lots of bugs. Sometimes there are thousands of them. That makes defect tracking and reporting the most important issue for software developers.
But what do we know about defect tracking process and defect tracking software? This article will help us answer this question.
Actually, defect tracking is a particular process in software testing. Testing is an important part of all software development projects. It is necessary because every product should be tested before it is delivered to the customer or the final user. In modern software development industry there are two main approaches to testing.
The first approach is a part of traditional Waterfall methodology. It is based on the sequential principles. The main idea of this approach is to test the product after all work on it is finished. It is naturally that such approach to testing has lots of disadvantages. They are related to the inability to fix the bugs and other defects that occurred at the initial stages of work. That is because of the fact that the developers have to rewrite the whole code of the final product to fix them. But such work may be considered a new project that requires additional time and budget. That is why the traditional methodology of software development is considered inefficient in issues related to defect correction.
The second approach to product testing is a part of all Agile methodologies. It is based on the principle of iterative tests. The testing in such projects is conducted constantly. Before starting the new stage of project’s performance, the intermediary product is tested, and all bugs are fixed.
Bug tracking in the process of software testing can be conducted in two different ways. The first way is based on strong user involvement in the process of testing. If such approach is used, the user is provided by an ability to report on all bugs in the product. However, this type of testing and defect reporting has its disadvantages. Low professional qualification of users is one of them. It means that the user may not notice all defects in the final product and report on them properly.
The second type of defect tracking is based on team testing. When the team of software developers tests the final product, it will likely find all bugs and defects in it. But it is not enough only to detect defects. They should be documented and fixed after that.
In the early days of software development defect documentation was made on defect tracking sheets. Usually they contained tables with all data on certain defects. The developers looked through them and tried to find a way to fix the bugs.
That is what the process of bug tracking looked like before the first defect tracking system project was run. Defect tracking systems made the work of software developers much simpler. Year after year they improve and gain new functionality.
Initially defect tracking systems were invented to simplify the process of bug reporting. Most of them have successfully met this requirement. With defect tracking and reporting systems you have no need to create tables and fill them yourself. Now this process is fully automated. The only thing you should write in the defect reports is the way of defect correction.
But the functionality of modern defect tracking systems is wider than you may think. Of course, the main function of every defect tracking system is documentation of bugs. However, modern defect trackers can also detect bugs without the help of a human. They are already not just defect reporters, but also automated testers. That makes them extremely popular means of software project management.
All defect tracking tools are subdivided into two large categories.
The first category includes free defect trackers. Usually they are web-based and every software developer or team of developers may use them whenever they want. Free defect tracking tools are a perfect solution for young software development teams. Their functionality is pretty good; however, it is still lower than the functionality of paid defect trackers.
The second category of defect tracking tools is represented by paid defect trackers. Most of them are also web-based, so you can simply find them on the Internet. However, to use them you should spend some money. The prices of paid defect tracking tools are different, but usually they are quite affordable for large software development companies. The functionality of such defect trackers is wider than the functionality of free applications. Usually they can be called project management tools.
As we can see, defect tracking in software development is not a simple issue. The entire software creating industry works constantly to make this process more efficient. Today we can say that it is now much simpler than it was a few years ago. However, software development projects become more complex year after year. It means that soon we will need to invent new approaches to defect tracking.