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Understanding Bug Life Cycle in Software Testing

By Tom Collins, Community Contributor -

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Software bugs are an inevitable aspect of the development process. Irrespective of the experience of the developers, it’s hard to code the software on its first attempt perfectly. That’s why the role of a tester becomes essential, as they can identify bugs in the software and resolve them to ensure the application functions properly.

  • Bugs, errors, and anomalies must be recorded, identified, and resolved before product launches to deliver a quality user experience. 
  • The entire process of finding and resolving a defect or bug by following a series of steps is called the bug life cycle.
  • Understanding the bug or defect life cycle is important to ensure you develop a robust software product.

So, without further ado, let’s get down with the learning.

What is the Bug Life Cycle?

The bug life cycle in testing refers to a cycle of defects in which it goes through different states throughout its life.  The life cycle begins with a new defect discovered by a tester while testing the application. It continues until the tester discovers a specific solution and closes the bug, so it does not reoccur.

The overall bug tracking life cycle involves multiple bug stages that enable the testers to track, debug, and improve the quality of the software.

10 Stages of a Bug Identification Workflow

The diagram below depicts a bug throughout its lifecycle. Let’s go through ten stages of the workflow:

1. New: This is the first stage in the life cycle of a bug. As a result, when a tester discovers a bug while testing applications, it falls into the ‘New’ category, and the bug is validated and tested in the subsequent stages of its life cycle.

2. Assigned: The bug is identified, approved by the testing lead, posted by the tester, and then assigned to the development team to work on. Finally, the testing team’s leader or QA manager assigns the bug to the developer.

3. Active/Open: During this phase, the developer analyzes the bug and devises a solution. Suppose the developer doesn’t believe the bug requires any fixing. In that case, they can assign the bug to one of the four remaining stages: Duplicate, Deferred, Rejected, or Not a Bug.

4. Fixed: After the developer analyzes the bug and makes the code changes to fix it, they can mark the bug as fixed and forward it to the testing team for further processing.

5. Retest: The tester retests the changed code, and the developer verifies with the testing team whether the specific bug has been fixed per the specified requirements.

6. Closed: This is the final stage of the bug life cycle. The tester retests it after the bug has been fixed. The tester changes the status from ‘Verified’ to ‘Closed’ if they believe no further code is required and the bug has been successfully resolved. The closed stage shows that the bug is free of defects.

7. Rejected: The bug is generally rejected if the developer believes the bug is inaccurate. The bug’s status then changes to ‘Rejected.’

8. Duplicate: The developer marks the status as ‘Duplicate’ if the same bug occurs again or if the concept of the bug matches the concept of another same bug.

9. Deferred: When a bug is marked as deferred, it is of lower priority and can be fixed in the next release. The deferred stage comprises several bug-related events, such as low priority, less time to fix, or a bug that cannot cause a major issue with the software product.

10. Not a bug: The status of a specific bug is marked as ‘Not a Bug’ when the application product has little or no changes. The bug does not affect the program’s functionality, which limits its performance.

While going through the testing process to find out the bugs, the testers perform multiple tests like usability, security, performance, accessibility, interface, and functionality.

But the tests are incomplete without the compatibility test or the cross-browser testing. This is done to check how the website will look and respond with multiple browser-OS combinations.

Importance of cross-browser testing in bug identification

Cross-browser testing can help you pinpoint browser-specific compatibility bugs so you can debug them quickly. 

  • The testing process is about shipping software releases that are as browser-agnostic as possible for delivering a uniform user experience on a diverse range of browsers/devices.
  • Browser compatibility ensures you’re not alienating a significant part of your target audience because your website doesn’t work on their browser OS.

Improve your cross-browser testing using a cloud-based testing infrastructure like BrowserStack Live to run your tests securely on multiple device-browser-OS ranging from Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, and so on. 

BrowseStack Live

The testing ecosystem will be cost-effective compared to setting up a physical device lab, which can help you improve your bug life cycle results.

Try BrowserStack Live

Bug Life Cycle: Detailed Explanation

The bug life cycle operates in the same manner described in the preceding stages. The developer first identifies the bug, then moves to the tester for testing, and the tester marks the stages based on the priority of the bug that needs to be fixed.

Finally, they fix the bug, develop error-free software, and deliver it to the customer. But following the bug life cycle to improve the quality of the software has its upsides and downsides.

Here are some advantages of a bug life cycle

  • It enables you to produce a high-quality, dependable product.
  • It lowers development costs because each process step is marked and well-documented, allowing you to use fewer resources to find the problem.
  • It promotes better communication among members of the development and testing teams, increasing understanding and empathy.
  • It enables you to detect issues earlier, significantly lowering the cost of finding a bug.
  • It enables better services and raises customer satisfaction.

Disadvantages of the bug life cycle:

  • Because all issues are marked and tracked in real-time, and the development environment is dynamic, there is no single way to control the entire process.
  • Other life cycle variations enable you to better track issues and increase work throughout, making this procedure obsolete.

What is a Bug Status?

During the entire bug life cycle, the status of the bugs can change multiple times depending upon the situation. Bug or defect status refers to the current state of a defect in the bug life cycle. The goal of defect status is to convey a bug’s current state or progress so that it can be tracked and understood better.

During the BLC, testers create an effective bug report containing the bug’s status and other relevant information enabling the developers to understand what is wrong.

How to Create a Bug Report?

A bug report is a document containing the problem the testers discovered so the development team can fix it. When writing a bug report, you must keep it simple and to the point because a good bug report is detailed and repeatable. 

Also, ensure you reproduce the bug yourself before filing a bug report to ensure it exists. The last thing your development team needs is to spend time looking for bug fixes that were only a one-time occurrence.

How to Report and Track a Bug?

Reporting and tracking a bug depends upon the tool you use. Using a professional tool, you can record, report, and monitor bugs during the software testing process. 

A bug-tracking tool ensures that all the bugs are detected and fixed. You can use BrowserStack integrations with Slack, Jira, GitHub, and Trello to create a robust testing ecosystem and improve the results of your bug-tracking lifecycle. BrowserStack also offers a debugging toolkit, making verifying, fixing, and debugging errors easy.

Capture Bugs on BrowserStack

Here is the range of debugging options on BrowserStack:

  • Live: Pre-installed developer tools for desktop browsers and chrome developer tools on real mobile devices.
  • Automate: Video recording, network logs, screenshots, text logs, selenium logs, and a few others.
  • App Live: Real-time device logs from the console or logcat
  • App Automate: Video recording, network logs, Appium logs, text logs, screenshots, app profiling, and others.

Sign up on BrowserStack 

Understanding Bug Life Cycle in Software Testing

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Automation Testing Manual Testing

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