Handling Intermittent Bugs in QA Testing

Handling Intermittent Bugs in QA Testing

3 July 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment QA

Encountering intermittent bugs during software testing can be particularly challenging. These bugs do not always reproduce consistently, making it difficult to pinpoint their cause and severity. This article aims to guide you through the best practices for handling such issues effectively.

Understanding the Issue

Imagine you are running a test and notice unexpected behavior. Upon further testing, you find that the issue only occurs sporadically—perhaps around 50% of the time. While some colleagues may dismiss this as a non-issue, it is crucial to understand that an intermittent bug is still a bug and needs to be reported.

Documenting the Bug

The first step in addressing an intermittent bug is thorough documentation. Here are some key points to include:

  • Label the Bug as Intermittent: Clearly state that the bug does not occur every time.
  • Detail Observations: Record as many details as possible, such as logs, stack traces, screenshots, and any theories or ideas you have about the bug.
  • Test Conditions: Note the conditions under which the bug occurs and when it does not. Consider factors like test order, network conditions, and user access controls.

Reporting the Bug

Once documented, the next step is to report the bug. Here’s how to do it effectively:

  • Frequency of Occurrence: Indicate how often the bug occurs, e.g., “9 out of 20 times.”
  • Implications: Explain the potential impact of the bug. Even if it occurs 50% of the time, it can significantly affect user experience and needs to be prioritized accordingly.
  • Management Involvement: Let management decide the priority of the bug. Your role is to provide all the necessary information for them to make an informed decision.

Practical Tips for Dealing with Intermittent Bugs

Here are some practical tips to help you manage intermittent bugs more effectively:

  • Run Multiple Iterations: Try running the test multiple times to gather more data about the bug’s behavior.
  • Use Automated Testing Tools: Automated tests can help you identify patterns and conditions under which the bug occurs. This makes it easier to reproduce and fix.
  • Collaborate with Developers: Share all your findings with the development team. They might have insights that can help identify the root cause.

Case Study: The Therac-25 Incident

One of the most infamous examples of an intermittent bug is the Therac-25 incident, where a radiotherapy machine had a race-condition bug. This bug resulted in accidental radiation overdoses, leading to patient deaths. This highlights the importance of addressing intermittent bugs promptly, especially in high-risk software.

How Repeato Can Help

For those looking to streamline their testing process, Repeato offers a no-code test automation solution for iOS and Android applications. Leveraging computer vision and AI, Repeato allows you to create, run, and maintain automated tests efficiently. This can be particularly useful for identifying and reproducing intermittent bugs, ensuring your applications maintain high quality and reliability.

To learn more about how Repeato can assist in your testing efforts, visit our documentation or check out our blog for the latest updates.

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