Agile teams need agile strategies for bug management. It's all about making your bugs visible and prioritizing them. Check out how to deal with bugs in an agile way.
According to many seasoned software developers, bug-free software doesn’t exist. As annoying and frustrating as bugs can be, they are an integral part of software development, which is why it’s so crucial to know how to manage them effectively.
Strategies for managing bugs and feature requests must keep up with the rapid evolution of development methodologies and knowledge of testing practices. Simply put, agile mobile app developers and web app developers need agile strategies for managing bugs and feature requests, which is exactly what this article is all about.
On a small scale, we perceive bugs as annoyances that slow down software development and leave users with a negative impression of the product. But when we zoom out, the real cost of bugs becomes obvious. According to a report issued by the Austrian software testing firm Tricentis, software failures cost the worldwide economy over $1 trillion annually, which is about as much as the GDP of South Korea.
What’s more, the report found out that software failures have caused more than 315 years of lost time and have affected approximately 4.4 billion customers. Software failures also have a massive negative impact on the reputation of companies. The companies surveyed by Tricentis lost an average of $2.3 billion of shareholder value just on the first day after announcing a software failure. No wonder that so many companies keep quiet about bugs.
If we zoom back in, we can see that bugs become more expensive to fix the longer it takes to uncover them. According to IBM, bugs found after product release are 4 to 5 times costlier than bugs uncovered during the design phase, and as much as 100 times costlier than those identified in the maintenance phase.
When companies get stuck with outdated strategies for managing bugs and feature requests, they risk releasing buggy software and paying the steep price for it. The good news is that teams can now enjoy greater flexibility than ever when adding features, making changes, and checking for bugs thanks to Agile’s incremental approach to software development.
If you’re familiar with the traditional waterfall approach to software development, you know that scope on waterfall projects is rigidly managed and not flexible at all. On the other hand, agile software development is all about change and achieving customer satisfaction with frequent iteration.
Instead of fitting outdated strategies for managing bugs and feature requests into an Agile model of development, it’s recommended to start with an Agile strategy from the get-go.
“Keeping a database of bugs is the hallmark of a good software team,” believes Joel Spolsky, CEO of Stack Overflow. While it’s entirely possible to track bugs using Microsoft Excel, the benefits of using a bug tracking and issue tracking system are too great to ignore.
Many Agile teams live inside Pivotal Tracker, an Agile project management tool with support for real-time collaboration around a shared, prioritized backlog.
Pivotal Tracker integrates with leading issue tracking solutions, including:
A good bug tracking and issue tracking system ensures that known bugs are fixed by allowing companies to keep a record of detected bugs, brings the whole team together by providing better communication through chat interfaces, allows end users to report bugs and make feature requests directly on their applications, and, above all else, makes it easy to prioritize bugs and assign issues.
When Agile teams allow the backlog of reported bugs to grow organically, it can spiral out of control and become completely unmanageable. That’s why it’s paramount to prioritize bugs, and do it the right way.
Typically, bugs are prioritized according to their priority (P), which is based on business needs, and severity (S), which indicates the degree of negative impact on the quality of software. Bugs with the highest priority and the highest severity are critical and must be resolved first, while bugs with the lowest priority and the lowest severity don’t need immediate attention.
Agile isn’t just about speed. It’s about speed and quality. To deliver quality software faster, teams need the right strategies for managing bugs and feature requests, such as those outlined in this article. Modern bug tracking and issue tracking systems play an important role as well, bringing visibility and making it easy to prioritize bugs and assign issues.
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