September 26, 2016
What Will Software Defect Tracking Look Like in 5 Years?
You are a test manager and deal with software defect tracking process on daily basis. You might be familiar with several defect tracking software that facilitate the defect management process. Have you ever wondered ‘what will software defect tracking look like in 5 years?’
Software defect tracking process plays a vital role in bug free development of the software product. Defect tracking process is used by the quality assurance personnel to report, track and manage the issues found in the software. Defect tracking tools provide several features that helps to effectively manage the bugs in a hassle free manner.
There is still a lot of room for improvement in the software defect tracking tools. Let us have a look at the details of where is defect tracking tools heading and what software defect tracking will look like in 5 years.
What is Software Defect Tracking?
Software defect tracking is the process of managing the defect lifecycle. When a defect is found, it is reported to developer. The developer sees the bug details and fixes it. Then, the developer informs the quality assurance person to verify the fix. If the bug is fixed, tester closes the bug. You might have noticed that a defect is not only reported but needs to be visited several times, by different people before it can be closed down. This software defect tracking process is facilitated by the use of defect tracking tools.
Why Defect Tracking Software is Important
In the Software Development Life Cycle, SDLC, software product is tested for defects and issues before it is handed over to the customer. Many defects are identified in the software testing process. The number of defects increases when the project is complex or large. Test manager or project manager needs to carefully track the reported bugs and make sure that no bug remains unfixed. Defect management process can become a cumbersome process if simple spreadsheets are used.
A defect management tool enables you to ease your defect management process. There are several defect tracking software available which provide powerful features to effectively manage defect life cycle, such as:
- Store and relay the information of bugs in a hassle free manner.
- Provides organized and efficient way of defect management.
- Defect tracking tool provides a centralized overview of the bugs with current information.
- Maintains the history of bugs.
- Entire team can report and view progress of bugs at one place.
- Generate email notifications to the concerned person when an activity takes place on a bug.
- Enables the team to specify the priority, severity, estimated time and assignment details of defect.
- Easy navigation through bugs as users can filter bugs on the basis of assignment, priority, iteration etc.
- Enables the manager to see open bugs in the project. It gives him clarity about the overall progress of the project, work completed successfully and the remaining work.
Where is Software Defect Tracking Heading in the next 5 years?
Keeping the limitations of current defect tracking tools and the unmet needs of quality assurance team, we can conclude that the software defect tracking is heading towards new, improved and more powerful features.
Search and Filter
In the next five years, we will see a powerful search and filter features in the defect tracking software. At present, several defect tracking tools provide the facility of assigning bug to an iteration version, assigned to person, assigned by, priority level and a bug status. You can also attach customized tags to your bug reports in some tools. This information builds up the filter facility of the defect tracking tool. Although it facilitates the tester, but testers are still looking forward towards a more powerful yet simple search feature. The anticipated search feature would be able to search the ‘string’ in the bug title and bug description. There is a need to define intelligent search algorithms like google search.
Recognize Duplicate Bug Report
One of the major challenge testers face today is reporting of duplicate bugs. It happens numerous times that a tester reports a bug providing detailed information, but the bug is marked as ‘Duplicate’. This might discourage a tester. Also, it adds to the effort of testing team and developers. If duplicate bugs are reported frequently in a project, it results in frustration for the team members. The limitation with current defect tracking tools in software testing is the inability to recognize a duplicate bug report. This is a very challenging feature to devise. A simple comparison of description of current bugs with all the previously reported bugs would not serve the purpose. First, it would be very inefficient approach. Second, there can be difference in the ‘words and phrases’ used to describe the same bug. Defect tracking tools need more powerful and intelligent algorithms to be able to flag warning when a duplicated bug is reported. In that scenario, the tester would be able to either keep the duplicated bug or reject it. Tester would also desire the ability to merge the description of bugs.
Link Requirement with Defect Report
Defect tracking system is heading towards a tighter coupling of requirements with defects. At present, many defect tracking tools in software testing can be integrated with the project management and team management tools. In the future, we are looking forward to a complete requirements and defect tracking suite instead of a standalone software. The anticipated suite would enable the user to enter the requirements and user stories during the requirements phase. In the testing phase, testing team would be able to raise bugs associated with those requirements. It would develop a single view where users can see the requirements and its implementation status. It would also be a step forward towards the recognition of duplicate bug report as the defect tracking tool can use ‘requirements’ as a basis of comparison.
Suggestions to Add Details
Sometimes developers complain that a reported bug does not contain enough information. This is because every person in the testing team does not have the same knowledge base and experience. Some members may be novice, while others are experienced. Similarly, there is a difference in the details and description of the reported bug. Experienced testers know what information is required and useful to developers. On the other hand, novice tester may rely on writing a superficial description without much clue to the root cause. It would be remarkable if the defect tracking tools can provide cues to the inexperienced reported what information they can provide and how they can collect it.
Record the Bug
You might be familiar that several test management tools provide testers have ability to record a test scenario and play it. If a test scenario fails, it facilitates the user to generate a bug report using the description provided in the test case. We anticipate a similar feature in the defect tracking software in the next 5 years. Currently, testers add text description of the bug and attach videos or screenshots with it. In future, we want a feature that could allow the testers to reproduce and record a bug; defect tracking software would be intelligent enough to note down the steps followed and add a screenshot of each step. It might also save the recording of the defect, so the developers would have the choice to either see the video or follow the text description.
Better Tool Support
Defect tracking software of today are independent of the application being tested. It happens a lot that the tester desires for a user interface tracker within the application. In the future, we might see a defect tracking tool with the ability to connect itself with the application or software being tested. Such an integration would not only develop the ability to automatically record the steps of a bug, it would be able to collect more details and error log information about the bug. A better tool support would not only ease the life of a tester, rather it would also facilitate the developer and help them to identify the root cause of the defect quickly.
It is a popular practice in software industry to consist of a virtual team to build up the software product. The member of virtual team belongs to different geographical areas speaking different languages. However, the defect tracking software support only one language – English. We are looking forward towards internationalization of defect tracking software. In the future, defect tracking tools would be able to support multiple languages.
Rate the Defect to Appreciate Tester
Human beings deserve appreciation when they have done a good job to stay motivated. It is observed that testers often lose interest in their repetitive testing tasks and feel demotivated. This can be curtailed if we introduce the idea of rewarding reporters/testers in the defect tracking software. This means that developers and managers can appreciate the tester upon finding some critical or difficult to find defect, by rating a bug on a scale of 5 or as ’5-star’. This would keep the testing team motivated and every tester would strive to report more 5-star bugs. On the other hand, it might develop an approach where a tester ignores to report easy to find defects. Hence, it would be challenging for the defect tracking tools to devise a feature which could help in appreciating the efforts of tester, and at the same time encourages testers to stick to the basic testing principles too.
Maintain Reputation of Tester
We expect that the future defect tracking tools will introduce and maintain the reputation of testers. It is human nature that we give more attention to a person who is experienced and well reputed, in comparison to a newbie. Same is the case with developers when they look at the reported defects. In the next 5 years, we look forward towards defect tracking tools which can integrate the reputation and profile of testers. This is possible if the defect tracking software keep a track of role for each user. Also, a rating scale would be needed to appreciate a good job of tester. These ratings would be used to build up the tester’s profile and reputation.
Useful Insights of Performance
It is important to track the effort and time invested in every project. As a test manager, you are responsible to make sure that you deliver a bug free product. At the same time, you also want to increase your productivity. To track and increase the productivity of your team, you would like to have some useful reports on team’s performance. We are expecting the future defect tracking tools to be able to generate reports on team’s performance containing some useful insights. These insights can contain information including the number of defects reported, number of critical bugs reported, number of duplicated bugs reported, number of bugs rejected. This report can be used to understand the overall team performance and the performance of individuals.
Let’s take a recap of what we have discussed so far. We have seen that software defect tracking is an inevitable part of software testing process to assure bug free delivery of the product. Several defect tracking tools are available with numerous features to increase the productivity of entire team and saves them from making any unnecessary effort.
Software defect tracking is heading towards more advanced and powerful features developed using intelligent and smart algorithms. These include google like search, ability to recognize a duplicate bug is reported and capability to link requirement with defect report. Future defect tracking software will provide a better tool support with the ability to automatically create a bug report.We are also looking forward towards the feature which can appreciate the tester’s efforts and maintain their reputation. Lastly, software defect tracking would be able to generate reports on individual and team’s performance.
What are your thoughts on the future of software defect tracking? Do let us know in the comment section below.