How to Manage Defects and Incidents

September 16, 2022

US companies spent $2.08 trillion on software quality in 2020, according to the consortium for information and software quality.

Do you know how much your company spends on incident and defect management?

How much do you think gets wasted?

In most enterprises, defects and incidents are going to happen. They just do. Think about any kind of business-- hotels, airlines, restaurants, retail stores, etc. and you’ll understand what we mean. In any other type of company, the issue of how these incident and defects are managed is usually a low priority. Usually, they are just dealt with as quickly as possible so that everyone can move on with their jobs without being held up by these issues. It may not even occur to anyone that anything else could be done about it besides waiting for it to run its course(which is obviously never going to be fast enough). However, no matter how big or small your company is or where it operates from, you can expect this same level of seriousness about defect and incident management in your organization.Therefore, we’re going to explain exactly what this means and how you can start working on it immediately.


For the sustainability of your business first, you need to understand the basic definition of a defect. It's not just something that breaks or malfunctions; it’s also anything that doesn’t perform as expected. This could be something small like an error while taking an order or something larger like mission critical system failure.


In any organization, it’s never a good idea for them to be so passive about these issues that they only address them after the fact. For example, let’s take an incident management strategy. If this strategy is implemented, your organization will want to use an incident management system that will track every incident in order to ensure compliance and appropriate response. Your company will want this information in a system that can easily be accessed by all personnel across the enterprise in case of an emergency.

What is defect management?

Defect management is the process of identifying, analyzing, classifying, and responding to different types of defects in an organization.

What is incident management?

In general, it refers to the process of handling incidents and problems in an organization. It includes everything from identifying issues to resolving them. They are the top priority for executives with immediate action required without the need for approval. Incidents are typically managed on a crisis response level, which means that they have a high potential impact on the company’s bottom line, reputation or even personal safety (for example autonomous vehicle software) .

The defect management cycle

There are three main stages that a defect goes through. The discovery of the defect, the response to that defect, and finally the final state of the defect after it has been resolved.

A defect lifecycle in software testing is the specific set of states that a defect goes through. The goal of the defect lifecycle management is to make the defect resolution process systematic and efficient by coordinating and communicating the status of defects to various project team members or stakeholders.

1.    Defect is found by test team
2.   New status is assigned to defect
3.   A defect is sent to the BA/QA Lead/QA Manager for analysis. Depending on projectteam structure and RACI.
4.   An evaluation of a defect is done by the assigned person.
5.   If the defect is not valid- a status is changed to “Rejected.” or“As Designed”
6.   If the defect is valid. The next step is to make sure it's in scope. Suppose we have another function- email functionality for the same application, and you find a problem with that. But it is not a part of the current release than such defects are assigned as a "Postponed" or "Deferred" status.
7.   Assigned person also checks if a similar defect was reported before. If yes, the defect is marked as “Duplicate” and linked to the similar defect.
8.   If still valid, the defect is assigned to the developer who starts fixing it. This stage is when the defect gets a status of “In-Progress” or “Working On”
9.   When a defect is fixed by the developer, it's marked as “Fixed” or “Ready forRetest”
10. It's time for the tester to retest the defect. As long as the defect passes, the defect is marked “Closed”or “Retest Passed”.
11. Let's say during flight reservation's first release, a bug was found in online orders, which was fixed and assigned a closed status. This defect popped up again during the second release. When that happens, you'll have to “Reopen” a closed defect.
Note: The terminology for defect states varies from tool to tool depending on how it's configured. These defect life cycle states are based on best practices.


The incident management cycle

There are generally three phases to the incident management cycle:

  1. Identification- When a defect or incident is identified, it is taken into consideration as soon as possible to take appropriate action. This can be done through one person or an entire department, depending on what the nature of the defect/incident is.
  2. Analysis -After identifying the problem, it's time for you to analyze it and figure out what type of problem it is and how to fix it. This can include testing to see if the defect/incident was caused by certain factors or searching/checking for similar issues that have already happened in the past.
  3. Resolution& Follow-up - Once you have analyzed the issue and determined what steps need to be taken, then you should put those steps into motion and keep track of them, so they are consistently followed until they are resolved.

Other considerations for managing defects and incidents

  • Have a dedicated person or team to deal with these issues
  • Keep up on your processes around how these issues are reported and handled
  • Have a set of metrics that will allow you to assess the effectiveness of your systems
  • Create ways for people in your organization to be involved in identifying defects and incidents in the first place


The idea of managing defects and incidents in any organization is something that is becoming more and more necessary. By understanding how to effectively manage these issues can ensure business continuity as well as maintain a high level of quality.

Intudio can help assess your current incident and defect management processes and help reduce these inefficiencies.We'll help you prioritize, improve defect and incident management effectively so you can reduce time to market and increase customer satisfaction/retention.

Contact us today to find out how you can save times and money with a quick, reasonably priced assessment.

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