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Defect Reporting


Software applications are created with utmost care, after continuous testing at every stage of the software development process. Software engineers spend hours and days in developing a software, so that it has perfect features, performance and spectacular effectiveness. Their aim is to ensure that the end product is error and bug free, and that it fulfils all the demands and requirements of client or the end user. The defects in the software applications are detected and resolved through various testing methods, techniques and tools. Moreover, these defects usually occur due to mistakes or errors made by the programmer during the development phase of the software.

Defects are code based and can affect the expected results of the application. Also, any serious error or bug can harm the reputation of the developer as well as the organisation it is developed for. Hence, to make sure all defects are properly monitored and tackled during the software development process, software engineers prepare a defect report, which provides the detailed information of the defects and errors found during the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).

Defining Defect Reports:

Defects reports are tremendously essential to software testing. They communicate issues and errors found in the software to the developers and other stakeholders, to ensure transparency and clear communication between them. When initially discovered, one can confuse defects with an undocumented requirements change, a user error, or a misunderstanding. However, it is important that the defect is quickly identified and brought to the developers’ attention. Once these defects are uncovered, testers generate a formal defect report. The purpose of this report is to state the problem as clearly as possible, so that developers can replicate the defect easily and fix it effortlessly. Therefore, a defect report should:

  • Be well written.
  • Should have sufficient and high quality information to reproduce and fix defects in the software.
  • The report should also enable stakeholders to make wise decisions about the defects that need to be fixed.

Importance of Defect Reports:

Reporting defects is important for several reasons. It documents an irregularity discovered during testing and includes all the information needed to reproduce the problem, including the author, release/build number, open/close dates, problem area, problem description, test environment, defect type, how it was detected, who detected it, priority, severity, status, and more. In short, defect reports contain details of actions in the software application that don’t provide expected results. Other reasons that make defect reporting important are:

  • For Developers: Information regarding the issues and defects is provided to the developers through these defect reports, which further helps them in understanding what they need to do to reproduce the problem. It also makes them aware of what needs to be done to fix defects in the software.
  • For Testers: If a developer or another tester needs to have more information about a bug, a tester can give it to them and provide experienced assistance. Moreover, when the defect is being fixed, testers will know what was triggering the problem before and can be sure to avoid repeating it in the future.
  • For Other Testers: With the assistance of defect reports, other testers are also able to handle and fix similar problems and defects if they arise again in the future. Moreover, if another tester faces similar problems, they can get information on how the defect was tested initially.

Things to Include While Creating Defect Report:

The information provided in the defect reports is helpful to all stakeholders as well as other tester who might face a similar problem in the future. Therefore, to ensure that the defect report is perfect and conveys all the necessary information, it is essential to include some important details in it, which can make the process of understanding the defect report easy. The elements that should be included in a defect report are:

  1. Testing Condition: There should be a summary of the condition in which the testing was executed. For example, if the tester is testing a web app, then the report should include information on the type of browser used by the tester.
  2. Steps Taken to Resolve Issues: The report should include a clear breakdown of exactly what was done to detect and resolve the issues. Furthermore, information regarding the used methods, techniques and tools should be included, along with what the outcome of each step was, and whether that outcome was expected or not.
  3. Steps Indicating Successful Defect Duplication: An indication should be provided whether or not the tester was able to reproduce the issue, along with the details of how many times did the issue reoccurred during the whole testing process.
  4. Any additional details: Any other information that can improve the quality of the report should be included, such as charts, screenshots and more.

Reporting Defects Effectively:

Finding and fixing bugs is a challenging task that consumes a lot of time and efforts. Testers and developers at times spend days tracking an error, which affects the end result of the project. Similarly, reporting defects is also a time consuming process, which requires intense and continuous testing as well as monitoring of defects and errors. Therefore, to assure that the defects are reported effectively, so that time and effort is not unnecessarily wasted in trying to understand and reproduce the defect, it is important for testers to follow a set guideline while preparing defect report. These guidelines are:

  • Be Specific: The defect description should be on point. Moreover, the exact action should be specified in the report. This validates that the people reading the report are able to understand it easily, while getting accurate information about the whole process.
  • Provide Information in Detail: It is extremely important for the testers and developers to provide detailed information regarding the defects found in the software, as tiniest bit of information can sometimes carry a lot of importance and can help testers in detecting a similar defect.
  • Be Objective: Do not make subjective statements and provide as many facts as possible, without including random information.
  • Steps to Reproduce the Defects: Software defects are very sensitive and they occur when there is a condition in a software product which does not meet a software requirement or end-user expectations. While filing the defect one should add the proper steps to reproduce the defect and should not rush the process.
  • Defect Tagging: Add the references to the specifications or other related defect number while adding the defect.
  • Review the Report: Before submitting the report to the developers or the stakeholder, one should always review the defect report for any errors and discrepancies. This validates the quality as well as the information of the report.

Conclusion:

Defect reports are among the most important deliverables to come out of testing. They have a direct impact on the quality of the product, so a tester should take excessive care and some time to create a defect report. The defect report is the most effective manner of communicating, tracking and explaining defects to the manager and development team. The more logical, organized, and detailed the report, the more likely a developer can reproduce it without assistance or without having to request more information. Defect reports contain details of actions in the software application, which is a vital information for application development management and staff and is used to fix areas of the application that don't work properly. Therefore, to ensure superior software quality, performance, functionality and effectiveness, it is essential for the testing team to create a detailed and informative defect report.