I’m amazed that some people still think of their Bug Databases as “Garbage In – Garbage Out” systems where to STORE bugs as they become available.
When I review the subject objectively, I think these people are both Right and Wrong at the same time.
Since I am a positive person I will start by explaining why they are RIGHT
If you treat your bugs like garbage then that is all they’ll ever be.
If you don’t take the time to define a defect life-cycle that fits your specific needs, if you don’t think ahead about the information you want to capture from each issue when it is reported and handled, and if you don’t do something with the data that “sits waiting” at your fingertips; then don’t expect it to be worth anything at all.
As my father thought me: “nothing good in life is free, if you want to get value you need to work for it”.
Now, let’s review why these people are also WRONG
A well defined and managed Bug Database can be one of the most important assets of a Development Organization.
1. If you use it to manage not only bugs but tasks, enhancements, and all other action items of your team (someone said Agile?); it ensures that everyone is working on the most important things for the project all the time.
2. By keeping track of the rates for bug detection and resolution you are able to understand whether your project is on-track or slipping out of control for its expected release dates.
3. If you think ahead of time about the information you will want to analyze during your project retrospective you’ll be able to collect the data in real-time.
4. If you keep track of your escaping defects and perform root cause analyzes of the reasons they were released (remember to stay clear of witch hunts!), they become an Internal Engine pushing forward your On-Going Improvement Efforts.
5. When you use your Defect Database in conjunction with your CRM (customer relationship management) system – and most importantly when you bring in the issues and enhancements reported from the field – you are able to leverage this information in order to plan, design, develop and deliver the features that will help you to advance your product in the eyes of your customers.
And the list goes on and on… so I will stop in here.
I think it is time we realize that we (testers) are in the business of Process and Product Intelligence. Our bugs are an essential part of the data we use in order to reach concussions and do our jobs better.
Treat your bugs like garbage and that’s all they will ever be, it’s up to you.
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