Bugs are the last thing any developer, tester, QA specialist, or company wants to deal with. They are like an unwanted house guest that just pops up at your front door, uninvited.
Luckily, there’s a solution.
Issue tracking is a process that development teams can leverage to monitor software challenges— from when they are captured to when they are handled. Particularly when using an issue tracker tool, the team will have a platform that records any reported software malfunctions, allowing developers to set priorities, fix them and discuss progress.
Below we dive deeper into software bug-tracking best practices that you must adhere to if you are looking to streamline the development process and make your developers love their job even more.
Let’s delve into the specifics.
Start With A Comprehensive Bug-Tracking Plan
Likely, most developers and quality assurance experts will not name bug tracking as one of their favorite phases of software development. The whole process is complex and tedious, reasons why developing a comprehensive bug-tracking plan is vital.
You see, conventionally, a developer dealing with one bug would get away with writing crucial information on software defects on sticky notes.
But not anymore!
Modern-day applications tend to have multiple issues, considering most boast sophisticated features and are required to integrate with a vast number of third-party applications.
That’s why you must have a robust issue-tracking tool to help you keep a close eye on the defect(s). It allows you to store information for each reported bug, including a detailed description of the flaw, the time and date it was found, how damaging it can be, and the footprints to follow in case you need to find it again.
As a result, the team will have an easy time following up on the issue until it is resolved.
However, note that tools with the most features do not necessarily mean they are perfect. Some bug trackers may be too complex for not-so-tech-savvy individuals, and a few bugs might slip through the cracks, get lost in the application, and remain unresolved.
When choosing one, make sure it provides the functionalities you need, can integrate with existing software, and is ideal for the size of your team.
Prioritize and Categorize Bugs
According to an eWeek article, three-quarters of the mobile applications shipped out contain up to ten bugs, while 20% have anywhere from eleven to fifty!
With a high probability that an application might contain more than a few issues, prioritizing and categorizing them is one of the most critical issues in tracking best practices. It is a way to know which bugs need your immediate and undivided attention, separating them from those that can wait – especially when there is a lack of resources and time is of the essence.
But how exactly do you classify them?
Bugs can be classified into four groups, namely:
- Critical: these are software defects that need immediate attention. They are damaging and affect the application’s functionality, causing it to be inoperable.
- High: These bugs can cause unwanted disruptions but do not adversely affect the software. You must also handle them quickly, but only after the developers fix the critical issues.
- Normal: these are issues that do not inconvenience the application or end users, and developers can handle them if they deem fit.
- Low: These bugs barely impact the software or user experience and can be handled later.
Once classification is complete, prioritize them according to severity and priority. Other developers will work on them in regard to their frequency. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all, and the prioritization criterion you choose will depend on your system’s functionality and how the bug affects it.
Classifying and prioritizing bugs can be challenging. However, it comes with various perks, including the following:
- You gain an in-depth understanding of the issue’s severity and how it will likely affect the system and user experience. That way, you can improve or alter the product and fix the problem before it wreaks havoc on the entire system.
- You can easily pinpoint the issues that adversely affect the system’s functionality and immediately debug them for a quick resolution.
Establish Effective Communication Channels
As software applications become more complicated and companies adopt the agile software development approach, handling bugs is no longer left to the testers but the entire development team. For this reason, establishing effective communication channels is a software issue-tracking practice that should be adopted to ensure successful development and releases.
For starters, team members that write bug reports should include comprehensive information about the issue. Then, they can use screen captures or any other live examples to provide sufficient context so that developers immediately get on with fixing the bug and not waste considerable time reproducing it.
Additionally, the team can use annotation tools to write comments with the appropriate Eclipse task tags, facilitating effective collaboration. Feedback and review tools also come in handy, as they allow everyone to contribute and collect feedback that developers can leverage to improve the quality of the products.
Continuously Monitor and Improve The Bug-Tracking Process
Continuous monitoring means automating the bug-tracking process to ensure the team can pinpoint defects or any compliance issues in real time. It’s an essential process that allows the team to gain a holistic view of the entire software development process. In addition, since the team identifies system vulnerabilities in a shorter time, it guarantees faster response times.
Furthermore, this could be the difference between dealing with a minor system glitch and a total shutdown of business operations.
Apart from monitoring without ceasing, it’s crucial to have the continuous improvement of issue tracking as a priority, and this cannot be overemphasized.
For starters, you need to come up with your company’s software development KPIs and focus on them. Also, you need to constantly measure the efficiency of the process and make gradual improvements over time.
Additionally, make sure that the bug-tracking process is centered on ensuring a great user experience. With that in mind, developers easily understand what bugs should take priority to establish consumer satisfaction and which can wait.
Bugs can easily cause a business meltdown. It is by encouraging the development team to remain keen on the best practices for bug tracking that we can minimize downtime and financial losses, hasten time-to-market, and ensure an impeccable user experience.
And while we practice excellent communication and collaboration, having the right tools is paramount.
aqua is an AI-powered issue-tracking tool that makes information collection easier, faster, and more accurate. It’s an automated and fully customizable application that allows developers and quality assurance experts to run comprehensive software testing and bug monitoring, contributing to the project’s overall success.
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