Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Prioritizing Bugs - How do Testers Decide?

How do Testers Decide to Prioritizing Bugs

Nowadays, testers have to test all aspects of a software application within a stipulated amount of time. The time constraint makes it essential for the professionals to understand the importance of each bug, and prioritize it for resolution. That is why; testers often find it challenging to prioritize the bugs based on their importance, and required turnaround time.

It is a common practice among QA professionals to prioritize all bugs according to four distinct levels, i.e., critical, high, medium and low. The critical bugs prevent the testers to from continuing testing beyond a particular point. So the maximum turnaround time for such bugs is 24 hours.  The high priority bugs affect the normal functionality of the software at the users end, and must be fixed before its release.

The medium priority bugs affect the performance and user experience of the applications, and can be fixed after its release. The low priority bugs do not have a huge impact on the application’s performance, and can be postponed due to time constraints. However, the testers must keep in mind some common best practices while prioritizing bugs.

Common Best Practices Testers Follow while Prioritizing Bugs for Resolution
Label Security Bugs as Critical

The bugs affecting user data will have a direct impact on the application’s popularity and profitability. There are also chances that the security issues will increase the business’s legal liability. So the testers must prioritize the security risks related to user data, and ensure that such bugs are fixed immediately.

Focus on Frequency of Occurrence
Some defects in the software occur sporadically, whereas others occur more frequently. The bugs occurring more frequently often results in software failure and affect the user experience negatively. The QA professionals can easily identify the bugs that occur frequently based on the bug report and problem tickets. These defects must be fixed in the next build to enhance the application’s performance and user experience.  

Look for Bugs disrupting Business Activities
Certain software applications are designed with features to help businesses accomplish specific objectives like process improvement. So the bugs disrupting the business process or activities must be resolved immediately. The testers must refer to the key performance indicators (KPIs) to identify the bugs that affect specific features or functionality of the application, and hence prevent the business from accomplishing certain tasks or objectives smoothly.    

Identify the Bugs affecting User Experience
Nowadays the popularity and profitability of a software application is directly linked to its user experience. So any bugs affecting the application’s user experience will have a negative impact on revenues. Often bugs found in the software’s user interface (UI) affect the user experience negatively. The QA professionals must refer to the KPIs to identify such bugs, and mark them as high-priority items for resolution.

Prioritize Bugs Impacting the Traffic or Revenue
Often the major key points of a project are impacted by specific bugs. For instance, some bugs can affect the website’s performance, user signup, click-through rates, and similar important metrics negatively. So these bugs will have an adverse impact on the revenue generated by the web application. The testers must get the bugs resolved in the same release to prevent the website from losing more traffic and revenue. 

Isolate the Defects
It is always important for the testers to prioritize the bugs according to the severity of their impacts. They can easily determine the severity of the impact by isolating individual bugs. The bugs affecting the software’s key feature and functionality must be fixed urgently. On the other hand, the bugs affecting the rarely used features can be fixed during the next build. So the testers need to analyze the impact of each bug individually to categorize them properly.

The QA professionals must remember that bug prioritization is a subjective decision. The best practices and guidelines for bug prioritization will differ from one project to another. So they must identify the severity of each defect to prioritize the bugs effectively for resolution.

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