Defect Tracking ... A Must for All IT Projects

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In this article Mr. Gunn discusses the need for a defect tracking system for your IT projects and the qualities that make a good defect tracking system.

OK, your IT project has a testing group and they have good solid requirements from which to work. That is a great start! When testing begins how are you going to communicate the problems (see also defects) to the system development team? Having a good defect tracking system for your IT projects is a must. Many good defect tracking applications are on the market today and most do the job needed. Ideally, a defect tracking system must have features which allow the ability to enter the following:

  • a description of the defect,
  • the detailed steps by which the defect was created,
  • the application module(s) affected,
  • the build in which it was found,
  • a rating system for the defects and the severity of each defect,
  • a process by which to route the defect and track the defect status,
  • and the ability to attach screen prints of the defect.

Your defect tracking system must have these capabilities and it should also have the capability to produce statistical results as well.

A defect is the vehicle which you are using to communicate found problems. A clear understanding of the defect is important for the developer for resolution and the QA team for retesting a corrected problem. The QA manager should review all defects for repeatability and to avoid duplication before routing them to the Development manager. The Development manager, in turn, should review all defects, have a good understanding of the problem by communicating with the QA manager, and route the defect to the developers for resolution. The defect tracking application is an invaluable project tool, not only for QA and Development, but for the Project manager as well.

Defect tracking is a way to communicate to project management how the project is doing. The Project manager uses the statistical results, with defined measurements, from the defect tracking system to determine the status of the project. From a good defect tracking system, the Project manager can determine if the project is on schedule, if more resources are needed to meet the scheduled deadline, and how well development and QA are doing their jobs. By viewing the defects on a daily/weekly basis, the Project manager can determine where most defects are being found, how many are being entered, and the degree of difficulty or severity for these defects. The Project manager can then manage the project accordingly and the resources associated to the project.

Finally, the results associated with the defects can demonstrate what QA's worth is to the project and to the organization. Many times the value that QA brings to the IT project is overlooked. Having a defect tracking system that has a reporting capability that shows a defined measurement of the testing status demonstrates the value of QA to the project.

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