Top causes why there are Bugs in Software and how to solve them

Top causes why there are Bugs in Software and how to solve them

Software Bug

A software bug is a coding error in a software program that creates an unexpected behavior. To put it another way, if the software doesn’t work as it should, it’s almost certainly due to a bug. Software bugs occur as a result of undefined or continuously changing requirement, as well as software complexity, programming errors, deadlines, poor communication, reporting errors, and deviations.

The lack of software glitches eliminates the need for testing. As a result, every tester wonders, “Why are there bugs in the code?” The increasing complexity of software would inevitably result in software bugs.

The following are some of the causes why software bugs occur:

1. Lack of Communication

This aspect is present at various levels. Lack of organized communication leads to miscommunication. Communication between stakeholders, production, and testing teams is critical to the success of any software application. Software bugs are caused by two major factors: unclear specifications and misinterpretation of requirements.

If the specifications are missing or indistinct, as well as when the code is changed often, there may be a lack of communication or ambiguity. Defects are often introduced during the development stage if exact specifications are not communicated to development teams in a timely manner.

2. Complexity of Software

For those who are unfamiliar with modern software development, the complexity of today’s software applications may be challenging. The exponential increase in software/system complexity has been supported by Windows-type interfaces, Client-Server, and Distributed Systems, Data Communications, massive relational databases, and the sheer magnitude of applications.

If a project is not well-engineered, the use of object-oriented techniques can complicate rather than simplify it.

3. Programming Errors

Programmers, like everyone else, are capable of making programming errors. Developers aren’t just domain experts. Simple coding errors may be introduced by inexperienced developers or programmers who lack domain knowledge. Easy coding practices, unit testing, and debugging are all common reasons why these problems arise during the development stage.

4. Unrealistic Development Timeframe

Software developers are often confronted with insufficient or restricted resources, unrealistic release schedules, and project deadlines. As a result, they would most likely have to make certain sacrifices (such as not devoting enough time to design, not checking their code before handing it over to the testing team, and so on), which would increase the likelihood of bugs and errors. Modifications in design/features at a later stage of the SDLC may also increase the probability of errors.

5. Ineffective Coding Techniques

When an authentication error or a missing error occurs, it can result in code defects. Poor software, defective debuggers, profiles, and other issues render it almost impossible for many programmers to avoid bringing bugs, making debugging more challenging. It’s often just a case of poor coding that allows errors to enter into the code.

6. Erroneous Design Logic

As software applications become more complex, some degree of idea generation and research and development is needed to arrive at a reliable solution. However, a strong desire to finish the job as soon as possible, a lack of flexibility, flawed implementation of technology (products, materials, techniques, etc.), a lack of understanding of the technological feasibility before developing the architecture, the need/temptation to take the quickest and easiest route to incorporate a solution, and so on – all of these factors can lead to errors/bugs.

7. Inadequate Version Control

Parallel versioning mechanisms make it easier to keep track of all changes to a codebase. Bugs could also remain in the code if the author did not ensure that the most current version control system was available. 

8. Third-party tools that have bugs

Third-party tools including debuggers, HTML editors, shared DLLs, and time-saving add-ons/plug-ins (map navigation API, shopping cart plug-in, etc.) are often used during software development, but they can contain bugs that are passed on to the software.

9. Insufficient Testing Skills

Bad testing is the standard in many industries, which may involve a lack of professional testers, flaws in the testing process, testing being taken lightly, and the process is done without much importance, among other things. All of these factors can lead to software bugs and errors.

10. Excessive Reliance on Automated Testing

Being too reliant on automation testing, which lacks human intuition and experience, can cause a manual tester to miss a bug or defect. It’s necessary to keep in mind that efficient automation testing necessitates the use of experienced testers as well as effective management.

11. Changing Requirements

The customer does not understand the consequences of changes, or may recognize them and order them anyway – overhaul, rescheduling of engineers, impact on other projects, work already performed that may need to be redone or discarded, hardware specifications that may be affected, and so on. If there are numerous minor or major changes, visible and invisible dependencies among project components are likely to interfere and cause problems, and the difficulty of keeping track of changes can result in errors. Engineering personnel’s excitement could be harmed.

How to solve a bug?

In order to solve a bug fast and in an efficient manner, 2 main things need to happen:

First, different populations need to work together towards a common goal. Unfortunately what sometimes happens is that we start thinking "me" and not "us" in a movement of panic. For example project management ends up implementing way more processes than needed, scheduling 2 hours meeting every day and pulling multiple resources - killing productivity. Business might end up focusing too much on the problem rather than participating in the solution. And developers might be tempted to lose motivation and take a "do the minimal" approach rather than laser focusing on the issue.

Second, resolving a bug actually needs to follow a highly strict methodology. Think like an engineer and don't get emotional. Follow these steps religiously and you will quickly solve any bug:

  • Step 0: identify what the system is expected to do. If there are existing documentation on the feature or the app, now is the time to consult them. From my experience, a considerable number of bugs are not bugs: they are a misunderstanding, a gap between what was already built and what business really expects. Skipping this step will result in frustration between the populations. If it's not a bug, let's not call it bug but rather an enhancement of what was already built.
  • Step 1: project management assigns the work to a developer or to a team. Pull a resource and give them priority and focus on the task, make sure they are 100% focused on that specific task and not on something else.
  • Step 2: if the malfunction is confirmed, now we need to reproduce the bug. Very important step: if the bug is not reproduced, the bug won't be resolved. We cannot solve problems if we don't identify them clearly in the first place. This is mostly the responsibility of business as they need to provide detailed and clear reproduction steps. Developers on the other hand have to make sure that they have the right environment to replicate and test (a replica of the production environment).
  • Step 3: identify the technical components behind the malfunction. For example if we have a form field not displaying the currency in the right format, first identify the user interface components behind it, check the back-end classes and how that field is fed or processed. Follow the chain and reverse engineer the system. A good understanding of the system is important here. That's why a mid/senior developer would be more suitable for critical bugs.
  • Step 4: identify the impacts of the resolution, sometimes bugs have side effects. Take a step back and see how the change might impact other areas of the system.
  • Step 5: execute

In real life most mistakes happen in step 0, step 1 and step 2, and in that case we have no hope of solving the problem. Make sure these steps are well executed.

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