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Let’s discuss why you need a bug tracking system in software development. A bug tracking system is a software application or program that is used to track bugs in software development, such as bugs found in a project’s code. The system stores information about the bug, its status and progress. The status could be something such as new, testing, confirmed or resolved.
A bug tracking system allows for easier communication between different stakeholders of the project and helps to provide transparency into development process flow and ultimately provides better customer service on the release of the code.
In this article, we will explore why you need one in your software development cycle and how it can help increase efficiency in your company by providing transparency into what’s going on within the software development process and ultimately providing better customer service on the release of the code.
Agile software development is a process that can be accomplished generally in four stages:
- Planning phase – where you set goals, milestones and build out your product backlog of features.
- Development phase – where your team implements the features in the product backlog as agreed upon during your planning phase
- Testing phase – testing that given requirements pass the expected results
- Release phase– Where you ship and deliver value to customers
This article explores how bug tracking systems are essential for developers to document bugs, iterate with patches and report bugs to stakeholders in the development cycle of agile software development.
In agile software development, your product backlog is a list of all the items you plan to implement and it contains smaller sub tasks. For instance, a feature like ‘Log in screen’ may have 3-5 subtasks. The sub-tasks could be:
- Create new account form
- Create forgot password form
- Create login screen UI
You need to break down all the features into smaller tasks because if you try and do everything at once, you can’t guarantee that your product will be successful before deployment to a live production.
Now that you know how your product backlog works and what it contains smaller tasks, you need to know how the release planning works so that you can make sure features are ready for release.
At the release planning stage, features that are ready for release need to be broken down into smaller tasks so that you can track their progress. You also need to add any bugs that you find along the way in your bug tracking system. There are many free and paid bug tracking systems available today. An example would be TestRail.
Now that you have identified and created a bug tracking system and have broken down your product backlog into multiple smaller tasks, it’s time to create one more task and that would be fixing any bugs that have been reported.
The bug tracking system will help you not only by helping you track bugs but also by giving suggestions on how to fix bugs.
At the end of your development cycle, you will be asked to present results to your stakeholders and highlight the progress that you made. This is a good time to share with them what bugs have been reported and what you have been working on fixing those bugs.
Why You Need A Bug Tracking System In Software Development
1) Having all bugs in a single place
A bug tracking system will keep all your bugs in one place. When you have multiple bugs reported against several features, keeping track of all the bugs can be difficult. But if you just have them in a single place, you can easily access them and keep track of them.
2) Collaboration with Stakeholders
When a bug is created, it doesn’t only stay as an open pile of work for the development team to work on but it also has to be communicated to Product owners so that they can prioritize them according to their value. Once we have pushed out a release we need to communicate the status back up the chain again so that everyone is aware that there’s something new out there.
3) Accessibility of Stakeholders
Many bugs are reported by non-technical people, like product managers and business analysts. These people are not aware of the entire product lifecycle or what the developers are working on. Even with this in mind, these stakeholders would still be able to access the bug tracking system and communicate with their developer counterparts before the release.
4) Value Added from Integrating with other tools
With a bug tracking system, you can also access other tools that you may need to track your projects along with your development team. For instance, as we’re building our software applications we need to work on it using Visual Studio Test Tools (VST). There are several tools that we already have, like JIRA and Crucible, that help us manage the software projects. A collaboration between these tools it can make our team even more efficient in their work.
5) Having Access to a Desirable Rewards System
The bug tracking system can also reward its users with badges and points to encourage them to keep on using the tool, as well as incentivize them as they work on improving the quality of their output. These points could also be used to provide rewards at specific milestones in time or in return for user feedback.
A bug tracking system can help you in the planning and development of your software applications. It helps you to reduce the complexity of communication with other stakeholders, it’s easy to collaborate with other teams using precise bug trackers, bug tracking systems can help you to reach out to non-technical stakeholders, and lastly, bug tracking systems can give your team members more rewards and incentives for their hard work.
In the end, bugs are inevitable no matter how hard we try but that’s where our developers need to work closely with product owners so that they can predict bugs early on in the product lifecycle.
You might be interested in 12 great tips for improving the QA process.