How much effort do people spend on reporting/fixing a bug in hours/currency?



  • I need some good statistics on how much effort do people spend on an average software bug. We assume that there is some interface between users and developers and wish to calculate just the bug costs, not the followup costs.

    • How long does it take an average user to report an average bug?
    • How long does it take an average developer to fix an average bug?

    I need real numbers, with or without error bars. These may be given in hours or in currency such as USD or EUR, if you feel it more appropriate.

    We wish to count only the time the user/developer actively do something useful, such as asking for more information and supplying it, saying thanks, coding, etc., but not just sit-and-wait times.

    Good literature references and good analyis is welcome. I know that good numbers are difficult to come up with, that error margins can be large, an that the answer is industry-dependent, but please no bullshit. Of course, the terms "user", "developer", "bug", "average", "report", "fix", "industry" ... are imprecise; you may make these terms precise if you wish to.



  • There is no such thing as an average bug. Every bug is - by definition - an exception.

    Furthermore:

    • Each industry segment has different expectations of quality. The expected standard for software powering medical devices is very different than the expected standard for casual game, to give just one example.
    • Within an industry, each organization has different expectations of quality.
    • Within a single piece of software, the prioritization of a bug can differ depending on where it is in the software, how it impacts the user experience and a number of other factors.
    • Even when two bugs are superficially very similar, the effort to fix them can be massively different depending on application architecture and many other factors.

    In short, the only numbers that make any sense are aggregate numbers giving approximate team velocity, and even those only make sense for that team with that product.


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