What is a Software Bug? How much does fixing them cost?

Software Testing Help

Wednesday February 19, 2020

Software bugs or defects are a common phenomenon. Bug-Free software is indeed like a fairy tale. But through the process called as bug fixing, we can remove the bugs to an extent. However, bugs can be costly for any organization. It’s always better to find them as early as possible and to avoid software bugs, it’s better to have a check on things that can create issues.

What is a software bug?

A software bug can be named as the error or an anomaly in a system that’s causing unusual behavior and invalid output in a system. Errors like these are mostly human-made and can gravely affect the functionality of the software.

What’s bug fixing?

Anomalies that are preventing the software to work as per the SRS document can be fixed through the process called bug fixing.  There will be a software testing team to thoroughly examine the software and report the bugs found to developers so that they can fix it.

What are the most common challenges faced in debugging

  • Debuggers stop working or there is some issue with it and you are not noticing it
  • Logical errors are hard to correct
  • unsorted data
  • deep log creation issues
  • Grammatical errors
  • inability to do debugging in realtime
  • losing progress in between

What are the different types of software bugs?

Functional bugs – Bugs that cause the software to behave improperly

Communication bugs – The software is failing to communicate with the users as it should be

Command bugs – Some of the expected commands are not seen in the system

Syntactic bugs – when there is an error in the content such as grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, etc.

Schroedinbug – unusual usage of software might result in certain issues.

Syntax bugs – if you have used a compiled language for developing your software there can be some obvious issues that you have to face.

Why Does Software Have Bugs?

  1. Coding errors

Programming errors are the most reasonable reason for the bugs in the software. Codes are developed by humans. And as humans, coders are supposed to make mistakes.

There are many bugs that are introduced due to programming errors that might be because of wrong coding of the functionality, syntax errors, etc.

They could even be minor or we can say very clumsy errors that may result in big software flaws. Programming errors can be easily found, but sometimes these tiny errors can be very irritating and time-consuming.

2. Miscommunication 

Miscommunication is indeed the reason behind many flaws and misunderstandings in our day to day lives. They play no fewer roles in software engineering.

Miscommunication is one of the main reasons behind software defects.

Many a time clients themselves are not clear on their ideas and sometimes even if they are clear of their idea, they are not able to deliver it to software development and testing team.

This gap in the understanding between the client and the software team is the reason behind many software defects.

Read also: Major bug tracking tools of 2020

  1. Compex and huge software


Software complexity is another major reason that results in software defects.

It gets even more difficult for developers and testers having less knowledge of modern software development methods.

The latest software methods can reduce these complexities to a great level, but if the developers are not known to these methods, the software complexities may result in errors.

  1. Quick deadlines

Deadlines are one of the major reasons for software bugs. Usually, the deadlines in the software industry are comparatively very short.

In order to meet the deadlines, both developers and testers are in a rush to complete the work.

And in this hurry, developers might introduce many programming bugs in the code and the testers might miss out on testing the code properly.

When both developers and testers are responsible for introducing the errors, the code is expected to have a lot many bugs and there are high chances that a buggy code is released to the market.

Software development is not an easy task and this should be properly understood by the clients so that they can give enough amount of time to both developers and testers so that they can receive a bug-free software hence saving a lot of time for maintaining and rectifying a buggy software at late hours.

  1. Frequent changes in requirement

In this dynamic world, everything keeps changing and so does the software requirements.

The constant change in requirements can add problems for the developers and the testers.

Changing requirements are one of the major reasons for software defects.

The frequent requirement changes may confuse and irritate both the developers and testers, hence increasing the chances of faults.

6. Third-party integration

Often development process requires the integration of third-party modules that have been developed entirely different teams. As a stand-alone software, these modules might work fine. However, after integration, their behavior can change and affect the software it has integrated with.

7. automation scripts that have no use

The software industry is very dynamic and every time there is something new that is coming in the market.

The old strategies, codes, scripts soon become obsolete. There are so many obsolete automation scripts that are replaced by more advanced automation scripts.

These obsolete automation scripts if used in the code can mismatch with the new coding techniques and can result in the bugs.

There are many developers and testers who do not keep themselves update with the recent software market techniques and end up using these old automation scripts leading to the introduction of the bugs.

  1. Poor documentation

Poorly documented code is another reason for software bugs. It is very difficult to maintain and modify such codes. It sometimes leads to losing the flow of the code that results in many errors.

It sometimes even gets harder for the developers to understand their code. In such cases, a requirement change can become even more difficult, leading to more errors.

Such code is given to other coders to rectify or modify, it is very difficult increasing the possibilities of further errors. Though there are no rules for proper documentation of code, it is just considered a good coding practice.

  1. Software development tools

Visual tools, class libraries, compilers, scripting tools, etc. such development tools can introduce bugs in the software.

Also, it is found that these tools are poorly documents which further adds up to the bugs as we have already discussed above.

No doubt software development tools have made coding comparatively very easy.

Coders are not required to code everything from scratch, readymade scripts, libraries, etc can be easily called in the code, refusing your efforts many forth.

But while they add up to the advantages by providing ready to use stuff, they too add up to the bugs and contribute to poorly documented code.


Cost of fixing bugs

“In 2017, software failures cost the economy US$1.7 trillion in financial losses.”

Software bugs can result in heavy losses and hence as they say “Prevention is better than cure”, it is always better to get these bugs fixed at the early stages of software development lifecycles.

The cost of fixing these bugs grows exponentially with each phase of SDLC. The bugs are easy to detect and rectify at unit testing when the code is still with the developer.

The efforts, time and cost of fixing these bugs keep increasing as the software grows in the lifecycle.

At the development level, it is quite easy to detect and rectify the bugs, as the developer has recently developed the code and it is fresh in his mind.

The most trivial defects can be detected and corrected at this phase, leading to the least software bug fixing cost apprehension.

At the testing phase the complexities of detecting the bugs increases.

Though it is easy to detect functional and other major defects it is another time-consuming task to detect the bug and pass it on to the developer’s team to rectify it.

Also, it is difficult to uncover the more fundamental defects like memory leaks at this stage. Hence the cost of bug fixing increases at this level.

After the release, it is not only very costly to fix the bugs, but is also very risky to release buggy software to end customers. Calling back the software from the market, it is not only a hit to finances but can be very damaging to your reputation also.



The software industry is very dynamic, and it every now and then keeps getting upgraded to a better version of itself to make it more efficient and effective, but bugs are one thing that has always been a part of software codes.

These bugs can sometimes be very easy to locate and rectify but sometimes even the silliest bug can irritate a veteran coder.

Read also: Epic software failures of all time

Hence it both developers and testers should follow software development and testing best practices so that these bugs could be minimized, hence reducing late hours’ efforts to the minimal.

If coding and testing are done with maximum care from the very beginning, we can reduce the number of bugs to a great extent.


Frequently Asked Question(s)

pass the entire coding of the software through a debugging system. Trace the error and find out why it's happening. Apart from that use the software and find out what's that anomaly that's preventing the software from fulfilling things mentioned in SRS document

Bugs are errors in an app that are preventing it from performing as it was supposed to be

Even though Edison has coined the name bug in the 1800s. A computer-based bug was first found out by Grace Hopper On September 9, 1947. it was literally a bug that got trapped inside of the hardware of the computer system.



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