Defect tracking is the process of using inspection, testing, or obtaining customer feedback for the purposes of finding defects in a product. This information is used to correct the problems in future versions. Defect tracking is an important part of software system development because all software products have bugs and it can help to improve quality and reduce project costs. Evaluating, prioritizing, and managing these defects can be difficult so there are database systems that can be used to simplify the defect tracking process.
Defect tracking is sometimes thought of as a pointless cost that delays schedules. However, it is critical part of software development and quality assurance initiatives. When properly implemented, defect tracking can reduce project costs, improve project schedule, increase productivity, boost operational reliability, and improve customer satisfaction. In contrast, a poorly managed defect tracking process may have the opposite effect.
While errors can be introduced early in the development process (in specifications and requirements), a majority of them occur in the design phase. The costs associated with fixing software defects can be high, especially in cases where developers are required to revisit software that they haven’t seen for an extended period or modify software created by someone else. In addition to this, the increase in cost can be exponential the further the project is in the development life cycle.
Implementing a Defect Tracking Process
In order for defect tracking to be effective, there must be a systematic process in place. This process should begin with the logging of defects, followed by an investigation, then finally implementing the structure to solve them.
Integrate Software Development and Defect Tracking
The earlier a defect is found, the better. However, in most organizations, testing is done just before implementation and is often under a time crunch for delivery. For early defect detection and resolution, tracking and software development efforts should begin at the same time. Integrating defect tracking into the phases of the software development life cycle requires a set of well-defined rules. During the development life cycle, defect tracking should focus on the following:
Requirements Phase: In this phase defect tracking focuses on validating that defined requirements meet user functionality needs and expectations.
Design/Analysis Phase: In this phase efforts are focused on identifying and documenting that software design meets the requirements.
Programming Phase: During programming, defect tracking should focus on ensuring that programs are fulfilling the functionality defined by the requirements and design.
Maintenance/Enhancement Phases: While in the maintenance and enhancement phases, user issues should be tracked continuously and previous releases should be monitored to ensure that they remain stable when enhancements are added.