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Bug Life Cycle in Software Development

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As we know during the development of any software product the development teams follow the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) processes. But the development process is not so easy and always runs smoothly. During the development process when a product is being developed different types of defects or bugs arise with the product. So these defects are identified and resolved throughout the development process just to deliver a good quality software product at last. So in this article, we will discuss these bugs in the software development process and how these are identified during software testing, and how these are resolved.

What is a Bug/Defect?

A defect is an error or bug in an application that is created during the building or designing of software and due to which software starts to show abnormal behaviors during its use. So it is one of the important responsibilities of the tester to find as much as defect possible to ensure the quality of the product is not affected and the end product is fulfilling all requirements perfectly for which it has been designed and provide required services to the end-user. Because as much as defects will be identified and resolved then the software will behave perfectly as per expectation.

What is Defect Life Cycle?

In the Software Development Process, Defect Life Cycle is the life cycle of a defect or bug which it goes through covering a specific set of states in its entire life. Mainly bug life cycle refers to its entire state starting from a new defect detected to the closing off of that defect by the tester. Alternatively, it is also called a Bug Life Cycle.

  • The journey of the Defect Cycle varies from organization to organization and also from project to project because development procedures and platforms as well as testing methods and testing tools differ depending upon organizations and projects. 
  • The number of states that a defect goes through also varies depending upon the different tools used and processes followed during the testing of software.
  • The objective of the defect lifecycle is to easily coordinate and communicate the current status of the defect and thus help to make the defect-fixing process efficient. 

Defect Status

Defect status or Bug status is the current state from which the defect is currently going through. The number of states the defect goes through varies from project to project. The below diagram illustrates all the possible states of the defect:

Bug lifecycle


1. New: When any new defect is identified by the tester, it falls in the ‘New’ state. It is the first state of the Bug Life Cycle. The tester provides a proper Defect document to the Development team so that the development team can refer to Defect Document and can fix the bug accordingly.

2. Assigned: Defects that are in the status of ‘New’ will be approved and that newly identified defect is assigned to the development team for working on the defect and to resolve that. When the defect is assigned to the developer team the status of the bug changes to the ‘Assigned’ state.

3. Open: In this ‘Open’ state the defect is being addressed by the developer team and the developer team works on the defect for fixing the bug. Based on some specific reason if the developer team feels that the defect is not appropriate then it is transferred to either the ‘Rejected’ or ‘Deferred’ state.

4. Fixed: After necessary changes of codes or after fixing identified bug developer team marks the state as ‘Fixed’.

5. Pending Request: During the fixing of the defect is completed, the developer team passes the new code to the testing team for retesting. And the code/application is pending for retesting on the Tester side so the status is assigned as ‘Pending Retest’.

6. Retest: At this stage, the tester starts work of retesting the defect to check whether the defect is fixed by the developer or not, and the status is marked as ‘Retesting’.

7. Reopen: After ‘Retesting’ if the tester team found that the bug continues like previously even after the developer team has fixed the bug, then the status of the bug is again changed to ‘Reopened’. Once again bug goes to the ‘Open’ state and goes through the life cycle again. This means it goes for Re-fixing by the developer team.

8. Verified: The tester re-tests the bug after it got fixed by the developer team and if the tester does not find any kind of defect/bug then the bug is fixed and the status assigned is ‘Verified’.

9. Closed: It is the final state of the Defect Cycle, after fixing the defect by the developer team when testing found that the bug has been resolved and it does not persist then they mark the defect as a ‘Closed’ state.

Few More States that also come under this Defect Life Cycle:

1. Rejected: If the developer team rejects a defect if they feel that defect is not considered a genuine defect, and then they mark the status as ‘Rejected’. The cause of rejection may be any of these three i.e Duplicate Defect, NOT a Defect, Non-Reproducible.

2. Deferred: All defects have a bad impact on developed software and also they have a level based on their impact on software. If the developer team feels that the defect that is identified is not a prime priority and it can get fixed in further updates or releases then the developer team can mark the status as ‘Deferred’. This means from the current defect life cycle it will be terminated.

3. Duplicate: Sometimes it may happen that the defect is repeated twice or the defect is the same as any other defect then it is marked as a ‘Duplicate’ state and then the defect is ‘Rejected’.

4. Not a Defect: If the defect has no impact or effect on other functions of the software then it is marked as ‘NOT A DEFECT’ state and ‘Rejected’.

5. Non-Reproducible: If the defect is not reproduced due to platform mismatch, data mismatch, build mismatch, or any other reason then the developer marks the defect as in a ‘Non-Reproducible’ state.

6. Can’t be Fixed: If the developer team fails to fix the defect due to Technology support, the Cost of fixing a bug is more, lack of required skill, or due to any other reasons then the developer team marks the defect as in ‘Can’t be fixed’ state.

7. Need more information: This state is very close to the ‘Non-reproducible’ state. But it is different from that. When the developer team fails to reproduce the defect due to the steps/document provided by the tester being insufficient or the Defect Document is not so clear to reproduce the defect then the developer team can change the status to “Need more information’. When the Tester team provides a good defect document the developer team proceeds to fix the bug.

Defect Lifecycle

Consider the flow chart below to understand the defect lifecycle.

  1. The tester finds a defect.
  2. The defect status is changed to New.
  3. The development manager will then analyze the defect.
  4. The manager determines if the defect is valid or not.
  5. If the defect is not valid then the development manager assigns the status Rejected to defect.
  6. If the defect is valid then it is checked whether the defect is in scope or not. If no then the defect status is changed to Deferred.
  7. If the defect is in scope then the manager checks whether a similar defect was raised earlier. If yes then the defect is assigned a status duplicate.
  8. If the defect is not already raised then the manager starts fixing the code and the defect is assigned the status In-Progress.
  9. Once the defect is fixed the status is changed to fixed.
  10. The tester retests the code if the test is passed then the defect status is changed to closed.
  11. If the test fails again then the defect is assigned status reopened and assigned to the developer.

Defect lifecycle

Benefits of Defect Lifecycle

  • Deliver High-Quality Product
  • Improve Return on Investment (ROI) by Reducing the Cost of Development
  • Better Communication, Teamwork, and Connectivity
  • Detect Issues Earlier and Understand Defect Trends
  • Better Service and Customer Satisfaction

Limitations in Defect Lifecycle

  • Variations of the Bug Life Cycle
  • No Control on Test Environment

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Last Updated : 18 Aug, 2023
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