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How to reduce the cost of software bugs?

Without proper evaluation and guidelines for cost-effective software development, the product can cause significant loss of money and trust of users in the company. To minimize the bugs, you need to find and fix them early in the software development cycle, follow the right work approach, and prioritize security. Therefore, in the article, we’ll explore the best practices and tips for the reduction of software bugs.

The high cost of software bugs can seriously hurt your business, especially if you just start your path on the market. However, there is always a way out. You can proactively mitigate the overall impact of emerging software development risks and future errors. Want to know how? Take advantage of the recommendations for several measures that we will observe in this article.

Content

  1. What are Software Bugs?
  2. Earlier testing matters 
  3. Manual and automated testing: the comparison
  4. Cost Of A Software Bug: Choosing Agile model
  5. Applying Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Testing (CT)
  6. Prioritizing security
  7. Outsourcing reliable team
  8. FAQ: What’s the True Cost of a Software Bug?

What are Software Bugs?

First, let’s look at the definition of the problem. Software bugs are defects or errors in a computer program or system. They can cause a wide range of concerns depending on the type of product and the specific error. 

For example, because of some software bugs, programs may freeze and interrupt their work. Others can lead to unpredictable system behavior. Sometimes a software error can even cause the program to stop completely.

The causes of software bugs can be of different origins. This is most often due to human error in the design of the hardware or somewhere in the chain of software tools used to create applications, firmware, or operating systems. To be more precise, below we’ve gathered major types of software bugs. Check them out.  

Main types of Software Bugs

About 90% of a programmer’s time is spent on debugging a program, and only 10% on developing and writing it. So the best way to facilitate inevitable debugging is to prevent errors even at the stage of development. A well-written program contains fewer bugs and makes them much easier to find. When debugging a program, the engineers deal with: 

  • Functional errors
  • Performance defects
  • Usability defects
  • Compatibility defects
  • Security defects
  • Syntax errors
  • Logic errors
  • Unit-level bugs
  • System-level integration bugs
  • Code Duplication
  • Data Type Mismatch

Still, we should bear in mind bugs can never be completely avoided. However, you can mitigate them before a full-scale software deployment takes place. Read on to know how.

Earlier testing matters

To ensure the high quality of the final product with minimum existing bugs, it is critical to incorporate testing into the software development lifecycle (SDLC). Of particular importance is the introduction of testing precisely at the early stages of work on a project, since this approach can significantly reduce the cost of eliminating detected errors.

The Institute for Systems Science at IBM reported that it costs six times more to fix a bug discovered during implementation than a bug found during the design stage. In addition, according to IBM, the cost of fixing bugs discovered during the testing phase can be up to 15 times the cost of fixing bugs found during design. 

Cost of Software bugs
Image source: pexels

Manual and automated testing: the comparison

How to choose the best option of testing? When to invest in automation and when it is more profitable to carry out manual checks?

We’ve created a comparison table of both approaches to get a clear difference. Based on it, you can choose the one suitable for your project.

Feature Manual software testing Automated software testing
DefinitionHuman tester and software do test cases.Using automation tools to execute test cases.
Initial investment The initial investment is not high. However, the return on investment (ROI) is lower compared to long-term automation testing.Although the initial investment is higher, ROI is better in the long run.
Further investment Human resources.Requires investment in testing tools as well as automation engineers. 
Cost-effectivenessLow in price and time-effective for low-volume regression.Cost-effective for high-volume regression.
Execution speedSlower, more labor-intensive. Faster, testing is automatic.
Reliability Results are less reliable due to human factors.Error-free results due to lack of human factors.
Performance testing Not possible manually.Performance tests such as load testing, stress testing, spike testing, etc., must be carried out by an automation tool.
Parallel execution Can be run in parallel, but this will require an increase in human resources, which is expensive.Can be performed in parallel on different operating platforms and reduce test execution time.
Build Verification Testing (BVT)Performing BVT is very difficult and time-consuming. Useful for BVT. 
Regularity of launching test cases Test cases are launched several times without multiple repetitions.Test cases are launched regularly over a long period of time.
When to use it? Manual testing is suitable for exploratory, hands-on, and ad hoc testing. Suitable for regression testing, performance testing, load testing, or highly repeatable tests.

From the above, we can make the next conclusions:

  • A QA analyst performs manual testing, while automated testing is performed by a tester using scripts, code, and automation tools.
  • The manual testing process is not accurate because of the potential for human error, whereas the automation process is reliable because it is code and script-based.
  • While automated testing is a very fast process, manual testing is a more lengthy one.
  • Manual testing is more cost-effective for low-volume regression, while automated testing – for high-volume regression.
  • The ROI of automated testing is better in long term than in the manual option. However, that also demands higher initial investments than with manual testing.

Cost Of A Software Bug: Choosing Agile model

The success of a software development project is closely tied to the chosen approach of the work. Agile and Waterfall are two of the most popular methodologies, where the first-mentioned approach proves to be more effective in reducing bugs. Let’s consider the arguments.

The Waterfall methodology relies on linear mechanics, ignores the intuitive approach to development and changes. The final errors and bugs are difficult to fix. One more disadvantage is that the customer doesn’t take part in the project and only gets access to the software in the final. As a result, the deployed product is likely not to be the one to solve the customer’s problem.

On the contrary, an Agile model is an iterative approach to project management and software development. The team produces work in small sprints. This is how the approach helps performers do their work faster and better. Requirements, plans, and results are continually evaluated, so the team responds quickly to changes.

Since the customer involves in the project, the team can quickly respond to edits, changes and, in the final, issue the necessary solution. An Agile project does not rely on documentation and welcomes changes, so the final solution may exceed the original requests and expectations. 

Already, Agile proved to be highly popular and cost-effective for many businesses: 87% of companies taking this approach in 2019. And according to Global Market Insights, the introduction of Agile testing is expected to drive market demand and grow at a CAGR of over 6% from 2020 to 2026. 

Applying Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Testing (CT)

Another effective way of handling bugs is applying DevOps methodology. Due to its concepts of Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Testing (CT), you significantly reduce the number of bugs, speed up the process of identifying them, and improve the quality of the product. 

The essence of CI/CT is to regularly change the program code, it can be several times a day. Further, the program code is entered into the repository, followed by assembly and testing. The DevOps specialist carries out testing after each change in the program code.

That is to say, a CI/CT pipeline ensures that any regressions/injections in the product are detected as soon as they appear. It allows you to detect errors at an earlier stage, which will help save time and cost on fixing them since the later a bug is found, the more difficult it is to fix it. To get more insights about DevOps methodology and its impact on business, read the interview with two FreySoft DevOps experts.

Onboarding software team to reduce bags
Image source: unsplash

Prioritizing security 

The web application and the web server are inextricably linked. Testing one without the other will not provide a complete picture of the security risks. While testing the protection of a web application, we look for vulnerabilities that can cause attacks on the users of your company. While testing the protection of a web server, we look for vulnerabilities that can cause attacks on the server and its infrastructure.

As a rule, small organizations with their own website and a server think that they are too small to become a target for an attack. And this is a mistaken assumption. More statistics and facts on this topic you can find in our previous article about cybercrime

So far, a few companies have come to security testing. The budget of information security departments of companies is only being reduced. Meanwhile, small businesses spend an average of $955,429 to recover from attacks.

In the current time of neural networks and automation, no one will find out whether or not a company has a large cash turnover. The main thing is the number of unique visitors, because in total there may be more profitable for attackers than the company receives in a year.

The cost will be higher if you postpone security testing to the software implementation phase or after deployment. Therefore, you need to incorporate security testing earlier in the SDLC.

To illustrate, take a look at the respective security processes that should be adopted for each phase in the SDLC.

SDLC Phases  Security Processes
RequirementsDefining any security considerations for the functional requirements of the new release and abuse/misuse verification
DesignMoving the requirements into a test plan development; designing how it should look in a real application, including security tests
Coding and Unit Testing Static and dynamic testing; security White Box testing
Integration Testing Black Box testing
System testing Black Box testing and vulnerability scanning
Implementation Penetration testing, vulnerability scanning
SupportPatch impact analysis

Outsourcing reliable QA team

Following the above guidelines, you can help your business significantly reduce software bugs and mitigate the negative impact of defects on your brand. FreySoft is ready to provide a competent approach to your project that will allow you to optimize your budget and get a high-quality product. 

For discussing your issue, meet our dedicated FreySoft QA team with over 11 years of experience in maintaining superior quality, mitigating risks, and reducing operational costs. Get in touch with us via contact@freysoft.com and see how we can help your business.

FAQ: What’s the True Cost of a Software Bug? 

How much does it cost to fix a bug? 

To fix bug on the early stages of software development lifecycle is much cheaper in price than during later phases. To illustrate, the cost of the bug fixing is around $150 at the architecture/ design stage. If the bug is not found till the QA phase, the cost may rise up to $2000. Further, before the deployment of the product, bug fixing cost can be over $10,000. 

How do you deal with software bugs? 

To best handle software bugs, we recommend applying a couple of strategic measures during software development lifecycle. That includes choosing agile methodology, Continuous Integration and Continuous Testing, prioritizing security, adopting trusted code coverage tools. In particular, to ensure these practices well work, you should turn to an experienced vendor with necessary talents and methods of work.      

Where is it cheaper to fix bugs? 

It is cheaper to fix bugs during the requirements gathering phase than before the deployment phase. This price can be estimated six-ten times more. In addition, the most costly parts of software development are the testing and implementation phases, which can take from a few weeks to several months.

What is the cost of defects in software testing? 

The cost and the impact of software bugs directly depend on the stage of SDLC. The general ratio of requirements – testing – deployment phases is  1 : 10 : 100. That is to say, when the software is in the testing phase, it would cost 10 units more than in the first stage of SDLC. Also, while it is very easy to spot something that is clearly broken or out of compliance at the early stages, it is incredibly difficult to spot more fundamental defects later.

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