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Bugs, defects and issues

This article explains the terminologies like bugs, defects and issues.

In the previous chapter, you learned about the difference between QA and software testing. This chapter will help you learn some other confusing terms in software testing domain.

Bugs, defects and issues

All these three terms means the same. It all represents a problem in software.

Background of Bug

In 1946, a huge electromechanical computer stopped functioning suddenly. Operators traced that a bug was trapped in it's relay unit causing the problem. They fixed the problem by removing the bug. Software "bug tracking" and "bug fixing" was evolved from this!

Below is the picture of the first real bug reported:

For several years, the term "bug" and "defect" were widely used in software develop process to indicate problems in software. However, software engineers started questioning the terms "bugs" and "defects" because in many cases they argue that certain "bug" is not a bug, but it is a "feature" or "it is how customer originally asked for it". To avoid conflicts between testing and development team, several companies are now using a different term - "software issue".

Even though both "issue" and "bug" indicate some kind of problems in software, developers feel the term "issue" is less offensive than "bug" ! This is because, the bug directly indicate a problem in the code he wrote, while "issue" is a term which indicates any kind of general problems in the software including wrong requirement, bad design etc.

Whatever problems the QA or testing team find, they will call it as an "issue". An issue may or may not be a bug. A tester may call a feature as a "issue" because that is not what the customer wants, even though it is a nice feature. Or, the software is not delivered to QA team on the date planned, it can be reported as an "issue".

The tester reports issues and his role ends there. It is the job of the product manager to decide whether to solve the issue and how to solve it. Depending on the nature of the issue, the product manager assigns it to the appropriate team to resolve. Product manager may even decide to "waive the issue" if he feels that it is not a problem. If the issue is a bug, then it will be assigned to the developers and they will fix the code. When the bug is fixed, the testing team will re test the software and verify it. If the issues is fixed, then the status of the issue will be changed to "closed".

An issue can be resolved in different ways, depending on it's nature. If it is a software bug, it goes to the developer to correct the code and program. If it is due to wrong requirement, it goes to the customer or marketing to correct the requirement. If the issue was caused by bad configuration in the testing computer, it will be assigned to the appropriate hardware representative to correct the configuration problem.

Software developers like the term "issue" rather than "bug" because the term "issue" does not really indicate that there is a problem in their code ! The term "issue" is becoming the standard in software testing process to indicate problems in software.

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