Software teams are under pressure to deliver higher-quality software faster, but as high-profile failures and lackluster app ratings indicate, it’s easier said than done. With the tremendous growth of agile development, finding bugs earlier in the development cycle has become an imperative, but not all organizations are succeeding equally well.

“Developers realize they need better tools to investigate problems, but we need to make sure we’re not creating problems in the first place,” said Gil Zilberfeld, product manager of unit testing solution provider Typemock.

Software teams are using all kinds of tools, including bug and defect trackers, SCM tools, testing suites, and ALM suites, and yet software quality has not improved generally, according to William Nichols, a senior member of the technical staff at the Software Engineering Institute.

“The data don’t suggest that the software being produced is any better than it was a decade or 20 years ago, whether you measure it by lines of code or function points and defects,” he said. “We’re seeing one to seven defects per 1,000 lines of code. We’re making the same mistakes, and the same mistakes cause the same problems.”

One problem is focusing too much on the speed of software delivery rather than software quality. Nichols said this is a symptom of unrealistic management expectations. Tieren Zhou, founder and CEO of testing and ALM solution provider TechExcel, considered it a matter of attention: what’s sexy versus what matters.

“Bug fixing is less interesting than building features,” said Zhou. “In the interest of acquiring new customers, you may be losing old customers who are not happy with your products.”

While software failures are often blamed on coding and inadequate testing, there are many other reasons why software quality isn’t what it should be as evidenced by defects that are being injected at various points within the software life cycle.
#!Bug and defect tracking goes agile
Bug and defect tracking is becoming less of a siloed practice as organizations embrace agile practices. Because agile teams are cross-functional and collaborative, tools are evolving to better align with their needs.

“We’re moving from isolation to transparency,” said Paula Rome, senior project manager at Seapine, a provider of testing and ALM solutions. “It makes no sense to have critical decision-making information trapped in systems.”

About Lisa Morgan

Lisa Morgan is an analyst at Strategic Rainmakers.