Finding bugs during the testing phase of software is paramount to making sure customers receive a product that works as it is intended to.

Having bugs in software is not uncommon. It is, however, extremely important to do rigorous testing to find them ahead of the release of the software or product to the public.

Overview: What is a bug?

A bug can be defined as a problem that is in software that causes it to behave in an unexpected and undesirable manner. Humorously, the term originally derives from when a moth caused issues by flying into the vacuum tubes of one of the earliest computers.

5 drawbacks of bugs

There are some clear drawbacks to bugs that should not be overlooked:

1. Costly

Addressing bug issues can be expensive. The further along in development the software or product is, the more costly the fix. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the organization to find bugs and eliminate them as early as possible.

2. Errors

Bugs can cause all kinds of errors in how software behaves, which can range from minor to catastrophic.

3. Potential damage to hardware

Some bugs can be problematic enough to cause damage to hardware.

4. They can have a ripple effect

Some bugs may appear to be small, but they can have a ripple effect that creates other bugs.

5. Customer trust

Bugs that are not addressed before software hits the market can have a severe effect on the customer’s trust in your organization.

Why are bugs important to understand?

Understanding bugs is important for the following reasons:

Setting clear requirements

Having an understanding of where bugs can come from will lead you to set clear requirements to prevent them. This means having adequate testing, walkthroughs, and reviews.

Incorrect standards in coding

Knowing that bugs can be caused by standards in coding that are incorrect may help you ensure that the coding used in your software meets the appropriate standards.

Realistic deadlines

Understanding that bugs can often result from setting unrealistic deadlines will help you make sure that what is being asked for is realistic given the timeline.

An industry example of a bug

A manufacturing plant has decided to automate some of its processes. Some of the machinery that it wishes to automate, however, was developed specifically for this plant. That means there is no specific software on the market that can be used for automation. It will need to be developed. Developers are hired to create the software. Out of concern that any bugs in the software could damage the machinery, the head of the plant makes sure that the software is rigorously tested at every stage of development.

10 best practices when thinking about bugs

In order to avoid bugs in your software, here are some key practices:

1. Make your code testable

Having testable code puts an emphasis on quality at the very beginning of the development process.

2. Keep your code simple

Complicated coding is more likely to encounter bugs. Make sure your code does what it is supposed to do and nothing beyond that. Strive for small code commits.

3. Splitting up code

Make things as simple as possible by breaking your code up into simple modules.

4. Code comments

Keep code comments simple, clear, and concise.

5. Do not ignore warnings

Compiler warnings can serve to indicate the issues that may potentially lead to bugs in your code.

6. Test code regularly

Be sure to test your code at every stage of development.

7. Taking your time

Make sure not to rush through the code. Allow for the necessary amount of time. If a deadline is unrealistic, let that be known.

8. Implementing standards

Proper standards in coding can streamline development and avoid bugs.

9. Use existing code

If you have access to code that has already been tested and will achieve the results you want, use it, if possible to avoid creating it from scratch.

10. Partner up

Have a colleague with similar expertise go through your code line by line to make sure that they see no issues with it.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about bugs

How is the impact of a bug measured?

The impact of a bug is measured by its severity and priority. Severity refers to the impact a bug can have on business. Priority is a measure of the impact the bug will have on business execution.

What is a bug life cycle?

A bug life cycle is simply a bug’s journey from the point of its creation to when it is detected, fixed, and closed.

What needs to be done when a bug is detected?

Whenever a bug is found, it is necessary to return to the start of the Software Development Life Cycle.

Bugs in your business

Bugs in your software can cause a lot of havoc in your business. Therefore, it is necessary to eradicate them as soon as they are detected. Even small bugs can have a ripple effect that can create major problems. Catching them early is paramount to cost savings for your organization.
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