Software error reduction

Why software development errors matter

Learn why error reduction should be an essential part of any technical or operational team’s software development and management strategy.

Software development errors can wreak havoc on organizations. When software bugs make it into production due to human error, organizations can lose a lot of money. At the same time, software failures can ruin a company’s reputation, creating dissatisfied customers and crushing productivity. Depending on how bad the errors are, software companies can even face legal and compliance penalties.

In this post, we’ll examine some of the more prevalent types of software errors, the impact they have on organizations, and what you can do to avoid common mistakes that result in software bugs and reduce your team’s error rate.

What are the most common types of software errors?

Software errors can emerge for any number of reasons. Maybe the developer doesn’t have enough experience with a certain programming language, maybe they’re under intense pressure to ship a new release, or maybe the team doesn’t have adequate testing practices.

While there’s no shortage of different types of software errors, here are some of the more common ones:

  • Syntax errors, which occur when the code violates the rules of the programming language (e.g., a missing semicolon or an incorrect indentation)
  • Logic errors, which appear when the code doesn’t produce the expected output due to flaws in the program’s source code
  • Runtime errors, which occur during the execution of the program and are caused by issues like dividing by zero or accessing an invalid memory location
  • Memory leaks, which happen when a program doesn’t release memory that is no longer needed, leading to excessive memory usage and performance problems
  • Compatability issues, which occur when a program doesn’t work as designed across different platforms or operating systems

The cost of software development errors

Depending on their severity, software errors can be devastatingly expensive. For starters, software errors can lead to security vulnerabilities, which malicious actors can exploit. In an age where the average data breach costs U.S. companies $9.44 million and companies around the world $4.35 million, software developers need to do everything they can to minimize — or, better yet, eliminate — errors from each release.

When errors reach production, application performance can degrade, frustrating users and hurting productivity. In some cases, errors might cause applications to stop working altogether, resulting in dreaded downtime. By some estimates, the average organization loses $9,000 per minute of downtime, while the average enterprise can lose as much as $300,000 per minute. 

Few organizations have that kind of money to burn — particularly in today’s challenging economic climate.

Despite these shocking costs, poor software quality remains a massive problem. According to the Consortium for Information & Software Quality, poor software quality collectively costs U.S. businesses $2.08 trillion each year — that’s trillion with a t, not a typo.

On top of these concerns, software errors can result in missed timelines and broken features, which could lead to customer churn. Making matters worse, developers themselves become frustrated, too, as they have to spend a significant amount of time fixing mistakes, which hurts team morale and can lead to turnover.

Error reduction: How to improve software quality

We’re all humans, and we all make mistakes. That being the case, errors are part of the software development process just like they’re a part of professional baseball, live music, and playing video games.

While you can’t eliminate software development errors entirely, you can reduce their prevalence by having the right tools and workflows in place. At the same time, you can also resolve errors rapidly when they occur.

As an open source collaboration platform built for technical and operational teams, Mattermost can help developer teams reduce errors and resolve them quickly when they end up making their way into production by providing:

  • Increased workflow transparency, with teams working together openly to give everyone complete visibility into R&D processes
  • Accelerated incident response, with shared checklists and automation to decrease the severity of incidents  
  • The ability to completely customize the platform to optimize workflows based on the way your team works
  • Integration with your entire toolstack to improve observability, streamline collaboration, and surface key data from every tool in your team’s workflow
  • A platform purpose-built for security, privacy, and compliance to keep your most sensitive data and intellectual property safe and secure

Reducing software development errors with Mattermost

What exactly does this look like in the real world?

Using Mattermost:

To learn more about how Mattermost can help you minimize software development errors and remediate them as quickly as possible, check this out.