As software developers, Caffeine Interactive has compiled a list from our customers of FAQs about software bugs that can help you understand why bugs are a normal part of development, are found in everyday apps, and are prioritized for fixes.
Bugs & Issues with the code
Issues with the code can manifest itself in many different ways such as a broken feature, missing link, poor on-screen formatting, or diminished performance to name a few. Read the FAQs related to bugs and issues with the code below.
1. What is a Software Bug?
2. Does more complex software mean more bugs?
More complex software often does mean more bugs because there are more ‘moving parts’. These moving parts include third-party integrations, cross-referencing screens, database structure, and expanded functionality.
3. Do bugs mean your developer is bad?
No, bugs do not mean you have a bad developer. Sometimes mistakes are made, we are all human.
4. Is it normal to have bugs when the timeline to complete the project is tight?
A shortened timeline can contribute to bugs because ‘haste makes waste’ as momma used to say. If the developer is rushed to produce something for a client, there may be insufficient time for details and testing.
5. Is it easy to fix bugs from a previous developer?
If the software code is documented clearly, fixing bugs created by other developers is much easier.
6. Should my software be developed on a staging server?
Yes, all software development should happen on a staging server where it is out of the public eye and where you can test and offer feedback. Once you are happy with the software product on the staging server it can be deployed to a production server that is independent.
7. How do you decide in what order to fix bugs?
Each bug will need to be assessed for usability, workarounds, impact on the workflow, and effort before it can be categorized as a critical bug, or something more trivial. A couple of examples: If a bug is a ‘showstopper’, meaning the software is totally unusable, then it would be considered critical and prioritized higher. If a bug impacts 1% of users and a workaround is available then it would be classified as trivial and marked lower in priority.
8. Do automated tests help prevent bugs?
The short answer is “yes”. Automated tests help prevent bugs from making their way into your production environment. Automated tests are basic tests that are run each time a change to the code is deployed and are meant to catch bugs.
9. What is QA (Quality Assurance)?
QA is a term used to describe the process and procedures of testing software to catch bugs. The website or app is tested using different devices and browsers to ensure that all is working properly.
10. What is UAT (User Acceptance Testing)?
User acceptance testing (UAT) is the last phase of the software testing process. During UAT, actual software users test the software to make sure it can handle required tasks in real-world scenarios, according to specifications.
11. What is UAT Sign-Off?
When all bugs are resolved, the customer formally accepts the software application as developed. The sign-off shows that the application meets user requirements and is deployable.
12. How will bugs be handled that are found after UAT Sign-Off?
Any bugs found after deployment to a production server should be assessed for priority and planned for fixes in controlled releases.
13. Are bugs normal?
Yes, bugs are a normal and an expected part of software development. Developers try to rectify bugs before the code is deployed to your production environment so that your end-users do not encounter then.
Requirements Related Concerns
Requirements are the set of rules and processes that define how your app will function. Without requirements, you have a middle school science project. Read the potential issues related to poor requirements below.
1. Can clear requirements help avoid bugs?
Yes. Requirements, which are a set of rules and processes that define how your app functions and is displayed, are fundamental to the success of your app. Without clear requirements, the developer may decide how a feature should work for you (and that is setting you up for failed expectations). While these unintended features or gaps are not considered to be bugs (broken code), explicitly defining detailed requirements in the beginning ensures a clear blueprint for the developers to follow and avoids gaps and unexpected behaviors of the system.
2. What if I’m not sure of my requirements?
If you leave the requirements up to the developer, you are sure to have disappointment since the developer will make choices you won’t agree with. Our Business Analysts and Product Managers conduct multiple, in-depth interviews to ensure that your business needs are translated into clear requirements that are actionable by developers. For complex websites and applications, we also suggest developing a prototype first. Your availability and detailed thinking during this upfront planning stage is critical to creating successful requirements and a smoothly-operating system. If you are still unsure of your business needs, it is best to solidify your company’s goals so that requirements can be relied upon before starting the development stage of your project.
3. Will a prototype help avoid bugs?
A prototype is a series of screen images that are linked by hotspots. This allows you to “touch and feel” the flow of your system before any code is written and can catch problems before they happen. This representation of your final app project can help immensely with refining your requirements. With clear requirements comes solid code writing and fewer forgotten features or misunderstandings regarding how the system should work.
4. If I change my requirements after development has started will that cause bugs?
Sometimes a change in requirements is trivial (change a button to point to a different URL) and sometimes it is significant (add a button to now perform calculations and output a PDF). The more significant the change, the more risk of introducing new bugs.
Enhancements & Improvements
Feedback is essential to understanding where spots of frustration occur in your app. Back up your feedback with beta testers or customers and you can more easily prioritize enhancements and improvements. Read the below examples that may feel like bugs, but are a natural part of growing an app to meet the needs of your users.
1. I see a workflow that feels different from another screen, is this a bug?
Inconsistency in workflows from one screen to another isn’t necessarily a bug but could be classified as an improvement. We call this an improvement because the user of the software will have fewer workflows to memorize or understand. Prototyping your system is an excellent way to catch inconsistencies before they become a problem.
2. I want to standardize form inputs. Is this a bug?
Standards are helpful to be established during the requirements phase of development. If form inputs aren’t standardized across forms and weren’t established during requirements this would be considered an improvement.
3. I see the behavior of a filter that I don’t like, is this a bug?
Does the filter work and return the results you are looking for? If not it is a bug. If the filter returns the correct results but you want to change how it functions this would be an enhancement.
4. I noticed something I want to add to a screen, is this a bug?
Adding new fields or content to a screen is typically not a bug (unless it was included in the initial requirements) and is considered an improvement.
5. Are improvements and enhancements normal?
Yes, all software can be improved, especially after you receive end-user feedback. We can help you to group your improvements and enhancements into defined releases and follow a standard QA process to keep bugs from cropping up in your production app.
All great software development starts with a deep dive into the app requirements. Spend your time upfront and define your requirements with as much detail as possible. Consider creating a prototype if your app is more than a simple website (added bonus is to use the prototype for seeking investors). The bottom line is “Know your requirements” so that your expectations are aligned with what the developer provides.
How do you define successful software development? Is it only through the number of bugs you find? Consider the functionality that exists in your app and consider the impact of your app on its intended industry and audience. You’d be surprised to see how positively impactful an app can be even with a few bugs…not unlike your iPhone.
When bugs are found, help the developer with understanding the impact on your end-users and establish a priority for the bug fixes. After a priority is established, help to group bugs for new releases of your app.
We hope that by reading some of the FAQs about software bugs already asked by folks that have gone through app development from conception to launch, you have learned a bit and now know what to expect. Do you have a question we didn’t address? If so please ask us or read our other FAQs found here.